In a move long expected by fans of Cincinnati’s local craft beer scene, Rhinegeist has announced that it will begin canning in early January.
Co-founder Bryant Goulding said that with the addition of two new 80bbl fermenters, the brewery will have the production capability to launch their canning line.
With those new fermenters, it also pushes Rhinegeist’s brewing capacity up to 8,000 barrels per year.
The first two beers to be canned will be Rhinegeist’s popular Truth IPA and Cougar golden ale. The beers will come in 12-ounce six-packs.
Goulding said they hope to have the cans out before the Super Bowl.
The new cans will be available at Remke, Jungle Jim’s, Whole Foods and other specialty shops to start.
Rhinegeist joins two other local breweries that are canning.
MadTree is an all-can production facility and Rivertown Brewing recently started selling its popular Hop Bomber pale ale in 16-ounce cans. Cellar Dweller brewery in Morrow is also planning on adding cans to its lineup.
Goulding said adding cans to their lineup requires a significant investment not just of tank space, but also capital. He said they have to submit orders of 150,000 cans at a time. That means their first beers to market will have to be beers they know will sell.
Goulding said the team just sent the packaging proofs out to Crown and the TTB for approval.
A third beer will also be offered after the initial run, but the brewers have yet to determine which it will be. However, Goulding hinted it would likely be a seasonal brew.
Rhinegeist has actually had its five-head canning line in the brewery almost since its inception. At full production speed, the line will be able to produce 75 cases per hour.
The brewers said they were surprised at the explosiveness of their growth and had to focus on draft sales for the first six months of their operation.
All that growth comes with an explosion in staff, as well. The Rhinegeist team started with just the three founders but has since grown to 10 staffers by year’s end.
Goulding said two more employees will join the team starting the first week of January. The brewery is also looking for a canning line manager.
The brewery is also expanding its physical plant. Rhinegeist just installed a new cold box on the lower floor of the brewery’s building and Goulding said they just ordered two new 120bbl fermenters. Those fermenters should be delivered in April.
The expanded production capability means that Rhinegeist will be able to bring back some fan favorites.
Starting in early January, Uncle (a British Mild,) and Panther Porter will be back on the taps on Jan. 3.
Fans will also get to try a new American Pale Ale called “Pure Fury” and an Imperial Stout called "Ink" by mid-to-late January. The stout will come in at 10% ABV and be their "biggest beer yet."
Goulding said Pure Fury is the first beer created entirely by brewer Luke Cole. It will be made with Amarillo and Mosiac hops.