Canned beer has been making a comeback, and the latest part of that trend is mobile canning, which is coming to Chattanooga soon.
Toucan Mobile Canning, which will be based in Chattanooga, has joined Mobile Canning Systems' affiliate program, and leaders will launch operations in early September to serve breweries in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.
"Basically, we roll into a brewery with a micro canning line and tap into the brewer's bright tank—the last tank where they put finished beer that's ready to package—and we can their beer for a day," Mo Oelker, Toucan Mobile Canning owner and founder, said. "We leave them with filled cans. They have no capital investment."
Oelker's son, Carl, and another investor, Cole Lanham, are moving to Chattanooga to serve a 150-mile radius, which has more than 100 breweries, Oelker said.
Last summer, Clay Gentry, head brewer with Big River Brewing Company, told Nooga.com that canned beer started making a comeback about eight years ago in Colorado, but the Southeast is about seven years behind the rest of the country in the craft brew-canning movement.
Dale’s Pale Ale, made in Lyons, Colo., became the first hand-canned craft beer in 2002, and seven years later, the number expanded to 52 craft brewers, according to the Brewers Association.
Although some people have avoided cans, Gentry said that cans keep beer better than bottles.
“Because of the bottleneck, it makes it really difficult to evacuate all the air before you put the beer in, so bottles are notoriously difficult to keep air in,” he said last summer, according to Nooga.com archives.
According to Mobile Canning Systems, craft beer canning has become an increasingly popular trend, but many small or midsize microbreweries can't afford the equipment or don't have the space in their facility to package beer for consumption, other than in a tap room or through keg and growler fills.
The mobile canning option offers a solution for that problem, Oelker said.
“The concept is simple yet powerful,” he said in a prepared statement. “We bring the canning line and the production supplies to the brewery when their beer is ready, eliminating the need for brewers to outlay precious capital to purchase their own canning line, dedicate facility space for the machine and all the necessary supplies, or train and pay for additional labor to run and maintain an additional piece of equipment and manage supplies inventory."