Sightlines — Boston’s Trillium Brewing Company transitions to cans amid rapid growth

Michael Kiser

THE GIST
As Brewbound first reported, Boston’s Trillium Brewing Company has announced this week that going forward, all of its hop-forward beers will be packaged in 16oz cans. The move comes after high demand from its customers for beers, such as its sought after Congress Street IPA, to be canned. To fulfill demand, mobile canning company Iron Heart Canning Co. will permanently leave one of its canning lines at the brewery.

WHY IT MATTERS
It’s becoming ubiquitous for East Coast breweries to package their hazy, juicy IPAs in 16oz cans, so it might come as a surprise that Trillium have taken this long to move from bottles. 

Demand from consumers notwithstanding, Trillium is running at an expansion rate of 400% since opening in 2013. This news is in stark contrast to this weeks report that growth in the craft beer section is shrinking — which mostly applies to the larger set. Instead. This could simply be evidence that consumers are shifting away from the larger, more obvious craft brands and choosing to buy local, new, and small (no big surprise), as local becomes ever more interesting and associated higher quality (freshness, at least, which is critical to many new wave IPAs).

Another interesting move is that of Iron Heart Canning Co. who has permanently left one if its mobile, Wild Goose canning lines at the Boston based brewery. This is a sign of the emerging sector of the beer industry adapting to the needs of the consumer by adding another link in the supply chain. It’s also a great way for a brewery such as Trillium to subvert the high cost of quality packaging equipment, even as they save a lot of cash by ditching glass. Of course, may others are still using shrink-wrapped cans, which are much more expensive. 

Will more companies like Iron Heart Canning continue to emerge as the industry adapts the demands of a new wave of breweries? Are people hedging their bets on the long-term move to cans as a fad while reaping the clear rewards in the short term?

— Matthew Curtis