Why did you decide to start canning now?
We've always been a little bit different, so we figured why change anything when it came to packaging? Moreover, Roger [Davis, Red Hare co-founder/managing partner] and I love to play golf and go to the lake with our families, so a can is a perfect fit. We believe the can fits better to the Georgia market, especially in the summer. We really wanted people to be able to take our beer to the lake, the pool, parks, and golf courses. On top of that, we saw an article that was showing the recycle rates of cans versus bottles and it was dramatically in the cans' favor. Oh, and of course, a can is better for beer quality.
Beer aficionados actually love to debate whether beer tastes better on draft, in bottles, or in cans. Given the many opinions, and the fact that most consumers still don't realize great beer is available in cans, how are you ensuring these will taste great?
You're starting with Long Day Lager, I assume because it's a style that lends to warm-weather drinking outside. What's next?
Exactly. Long Day Lager is our best seller so far, and we are launching the cans in the summer, so that's why. We would have loved to come to market with the Gangway IPA as well, but the minimum order for cans kinda put a limit on how many brands we could initially bring to market. We hope to have Gangway in cans by the end of this year, and follow that with the Watership Brown soon after.
Why do you think no other Georgia brewer has started canning yet?
I'm pretty sure because it's kind of a pain from a few different aspects. It's actually more expensive to get into the canning business due to the cost of the canning line compared to a simple bottling line. On top of that, you can bring in a pallet of bottles and labels with a good bit less cost than the minimum order of cans from Ball, which is 92,000 of the same label. All that being said, I'm sure we'll see other Georgia breweries in cans at some point. Cans seem to be taking over the craft-beer market, and when I spoke to another larger Georgia brewery, they said cans were inevitable.
When can we expect Red Hare cans on shelves?
That's been the big question for a few months now. As of [July 11], we're actually doing some test runs on cans and hoping to have beer to market within a few more weeks. So we're hoping to have them out by the end of July.
Once the cans are out, what's next for Red Hare?
This business moves so fast, once we get the cans out I'll probably take one big sigh of relief and immediately begin our next project. We're looking at starting a seasonal lineup to overlap our ongoing Rabbit's Reserve Series. I'm constantly trying to develop new recipes and decide what beers we want to bring to market. Coinciding with new market beers, I'm also trying to come up with some exciting one-offs for our tap room. When we've been out west, it seemed like everyone had at least 20 beers on tap at their breweries. Things out here are set up a bit differently, of course, with our wonderful three-tier system, but I'd like to be able to constantly have some different things for people to try when they come out to our place.
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