Canning Icky IPA off to a rough start but promising future
The old Buckbean canning machine whirred to life after years of silence, sputtering Icky beer all over its operators, tossing Icky cans on the floor and filling fresh beer cans with Great Basin Brewing Co.’s Icky IPA. Icky fans gathered around the machine shooting pictures and video with beers in one hand and smart phones in the other. Some folks even asked Great Basin owner to autograph their Icky cans and Icky 12-packs.
Great Basin must make at least 1,000 12-pack cases of canned Icky to serve grocery and liquor store orders throughout Nevada. With 8-hour shifts, they should be able to fulfill that order within a week. Tom Young, owner of Great Basin, doesn’t know what level of demand they will see for canned Icky but with camping, beach trips and BBQs on most people’s minds, he’s pretty sure people want cans to make their summer relaxation more relaxing.
“I was the pushing force behind this,” said Jazz Aldrich, manager of brewery development. “I think this is going to be great for us. I love being able to go out in the middle of nowhere and drink canned beer.”
The ability to take cans anywhere far outweigh any concerns Jazz and Tom have about the cans vs. bottles argument. All cans are lined with plastic so beer never touches aluminum and most people keep their bottles and cans in a dark refrigerator so light damage poses little threat to both. Leaving a beer out in the light will ruin both cans and bottles with heat although cans hold a slight advantage in this scenario.
“The beer is not slighted at all either, this is the same Icky you’re getting in a bottle,” Tom said.
In fact, it’s the same Icky on tap outside the two brewpubs.
The only problem Tom foresees is producing enough beer for thirsty Nevadans. With Great Basin pushing south to Las Vegas and west into California, the brewery must continue expanding to feed thirsty craft beer lovers.
For now, Great Basin’s cans of Icky are the only canned beer in Nevada. This makes them the only local brewery eligible for CANFEST, the country’s largest canned beer festival held at the Peppermill.
- A 12-pack of cans costs less than a 6-pack of bottles due to the less expensive materials and equipment.
- Icky cans will be available at
- Trader Joes
- Whole Foods
- Total Wine
- Ben’s Liquor
- The first can production day
- 146 cases
- 1,752 cans
- 9 low-fill cases (these cannot be sold)
- Approx. 20% wasted beer caused by overflow and damaged cans
- Future production expectations
- 60 cases an hour
- 480 cases a day
- 2,400 cases a week
- 28,800 cans a week (the warehouse currently holds 200,000 cans ready to go)
- Less than 10% waste (compared to 1-2% on the bottling line)
- Icky puns are better than dam puns
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