As many of state laws surrounding to-go alcohol currently require containers to be sealed, crowlers have become hugely important for many small, taproom-focused operations.
“When we closed Outer Planet’s taproom due to COVID-19 back in March, we weren’t really sure what we were going to do,” said Jeff Linse, Owner of Outer Planet Brewing in Seattle. “The vast majority of our revenue traditionally comes from on-site consumption.”
Given Outer Planet’s small size, a full bottling or canning line was out of the question due to space and budget constraints, and it was apparent that filling and selling growlers wasn’t going to sufficiently make up for lost taproom sales.
“It’s certainly no exaggeration to say that our quick pivot to canning was one of the single most important things that kept us afloat in 2020,” Linse said. Outer Planet turned to Oktober Can Seamers for a simple, small-scale solution. Designed by former aerospace engineers and lauded by breweries and mixologists across the country, Oktober provides durable can seaming machines with a conveniently sized footprint (ideal for behind the counter operations) and customizable (brand labels) cans (as simple as submitting an artwork file via email to their talented in-house design team) allowing restaurants, bars and similar business owners to expand their to-go beverage options and keep their brand name at the forefront of customers’ minds.
“Oktober’s Can Seamer is compact enough to comfortably reside in our already cramped bar space, and it’s simple for our bar staff to use,” Linse said. “We were able to pivot our entire sales model from mostly on-site pours to only selling cans to-go, and we did it in a matter of days… I’m honestly not sure Outer Planet would’ve survived the year without it.”
This extends to cocktail business too, says Mike Treffehn, Bar Manager at Larry’s Chicago, who used the seamer to sustain their identity / utility as a bar into a to-go world. For roughly 3 months, the seamer was 100 percent of their business, with no indoor dining at all. With limited indoor seating now available, they assume to-go sales will make up at least 40% of their revenue.
“The ease and speed with which we can seal cocktails with fresh/perishable ingredients, and flexibility with fill levels, means that we can do all of the things we most loved to be able to provide to people in the Before Times—dealer’s choice/custom cocktails, off-menu classics, and even by-the-ounce pours of our deep backbar. In some ways, having the seamer has allowed us to pivot less, by virtue of giving us more flexibility with what we’re able to offer our guests.”
For further canning / canner buying advice, be sure to check out our Canning Line Buyer’s Guide.