By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
DANVILLE — A mobile beer canning business has made a huge splash at breweries across the state.
“It’s a real inexpensive way for a brewery to can their beer and have it available at a beer distributor,” said Pete Rickert, Jr., the “Head Six Packer” for Danville-based We Can Mobile Canning. “It really lets the smaller breweries gains some traction, gain some customers, through offering canned beer.”
The staff is currently Rickert, Jr., his father, Pete Rickert, Sr., two other full-time employees and a few part-timers on an as needed basis.
Since starting in December of 2012, We Can has traveled to breweries include Philadelphia’s Manayunk Brewery, Landsdale’s Round Guys Brewing, Erie’s Lavery Brewing Company and Elmyra, New York’s, Upstate Brewing Company.
Once at a brewery, the canners make use of a Cask-brand filler and seamer, which pours the beer into an empty can along with carbon dioxide, which removes oxygen that would normally cause beer to spoil faster. “There’s virtually no air whatsoever in that can,” said Rickert, Jr. “It’s the same technology Budweiser uses, only it’s on a smaller scale.”
By hand, the team is able to fill about 12 cans a minute.
We Can makes use of aluminum cans, which they can attach and shrink labels over to display the beer’s brand and logo. “It looks like a printed can, but at a fraction of the cost,” said Rickert, Jr.
“It looks like a printed can, but at a fraction of the cost,” said Rickert, Jr.
What originally started as just an activity for father and son to do together has now turned into a big success for Rickert, Jr. and his father.
“(We) found it was not only a great idea but its something breweries wanted,” he said.
There are only about 10 to 12 mobile canning operations in the whole country, said Rickert, Jr. He got the idea originally from an article on a group of woman in San Francisco who run their own mobile cannery. After some research, Rickert, Jr. found that its something a lot of breweries in the Pennsylvania area would make use of.
Due to the success of its operation, We Can plans to start another team of canners to cover the New England area.
Every one of their clients has done repeat business with We Can, said Ricker, Jr. “Sales take off for them,” he said.
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