How To Choose A Beer Canning Line And Bottling Line For Your Microbrewery?

June 20, 2024

The importance of beer quality can not be underestimated. Running a successful brewery means finding ways to improve the production and packaging process while creating products that consumers love. One of the most important decisions to make in the brewery process is whether to can or bottle your beer and there are many factors that affect directly or indirectly any of the processes. In this article, we will discuss the factors and costs of beer canning line or beer bottling line your beer to ascertain the right one to choose.

Canning Vs. Bottling

Whichever packaging method you choose between the canning and the bottling method will determine the cost effect of your brewery. Aluminium cans and bottles are competitive, but each of them has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the size of your brewery.

Initial Cost of Materials

Over the past decades, the cost of cans and bottles has fluctuated greatly. Bottles have been the traditional packaging method for beer. Aluminium however is a more recent development and therefore costs more on average. Cans were made from steel or tin in 1935, but in 1959, Coors started rolling out all aluminum cans in a 7-oz. Size. This development marks the beginning of cans as a popular vessel for beer. Today, an aluminum can has an average all-thickness of 0.096mm, making it almost the size of human hair.


The disadvantage with cans is that minimum orders are higher than many small breweries can afford when starting because most manufacturers require breweries to order at least one trailer load of cans which contains 26 pallets. This can work for a two-brewery system but is almost impossible for multiple lines of beer.

Equipment Cost

The cost of bottling or canning equipment are big consideration for breweries because the technology of bottling has been refined over time. With bottles having dominated the market for so long, manufacturers suffer competition and breweries have benefited from lower prices.


While Can has been a while for some time now. The influx of cans in the brewery market was enough to spike prices. A canning line costs more than a bottling line but requires less human input. On the other hand, bottling takes a lot of time but the equipment is much lower than that of can. For microbreweries that need to start operations with limited funds, a bottling line is the most recommended.

 NFE Machinery Beer Canning Line And Bottling Line

National Shifts In Price

The 10% tariff on aluminum imports in 2018 has spiked a major influx in the price of aluminum that it has experienced in the last. Because Cans account for about 62% of beers sold in the United States annually. The 10% tariff introduction led to an increase in costs even before it was enacted.


The full impact of the tariff hike won't be known for the next couple of years, but Large brewers are already feeling the impact. For Microbrewers, the increase in the aluminum cost means their edge over bottling is slightly diminished although cans are slightly still less expensive to get than bottles.


Cost of Filling

It's important to know that it's much faster to fill a van than it is to fill a bottle due to its shape. Filling for a bottle must be more precise because of its long neck and small openings and must be done slower to avoid carbonation and overflow. On the other hand, Can can take a much larger flow of liquid in a shorter period due to their wider opening. The faster filling speed always saves time.

Cost of Maintenance

Maintenance costs are lower in the long run for beer bottling lines than the cans because they are simpler than the cans and rely majorly on human input. The beer canning line has more automation and more parts and systems than the average bottling line. Bottling lines have few moving parts which means there is a small opportunity for something to go wrong, but as the lines move up the ladder, more proactive maintenance is required.


Quality of Can and Bear

Although brewers are looking for the less cost-effective packaging method, the ultimate goal remains the Quality of any of the methods, can method was a sure sign of low quality and was seen in the early days in the industry as the shortcut taken by cheapskates, the fast spreading of the method makes way for a different opinion. Let's examine two considerations


1. Differences in flavour


A report published in the journal Beverages shows that bottled beer tastes better than Can, however, there is no quality flavor difference between canned and bottled beer. Flavor is not a Quality factor that diggers better the two packaging methods.


2. Quality of preservation


Cans have a slight advantage when it comes to keeping beer fresh because the most damaging elements to beer are light and oxygen and this is where cans, sealed with a a little landscape, take the lead.


3. Market Trends

Cans are constantly becoming more popular as more brewers are becoming confident that the canning method is the best packaging method.


Benefits of Using the Canning Method

With the canning method growing fast in the beer market, it's clear that breweries are finding more advantages in using this packaging method, the following may be the benefits of  using this method;


● It reduces transportation costs due to lighter weight product

● It reduces the risk of maximum loss due to breakage

● Minimal risk of oxygen and light contamination

● It's fast to fill and has greater long-term efficiency

● It improved the storage capacity because of its smaller form factor

● Minimal environmental impact.


Benefits of Using Bottling Methods

Looking at the benefits of the canning method, one can say they are the obvious choice. But for many breweries, bottling still makes the most sense. Glass bottles still comprise about a third of beer sold in the U.S. and two-thirds of premium beer comes in bottles. The following are the benefits of using the bottling method


● It has custom bottle shapes

● You can track the consumers of high-end beer

● Lower cost of bottling equipment and maintenance costs

● It has lower order minimums for bottles.


With its upfront cost, bottling is a smart choice for small brewers working to break into the beer industry.


Choosing between beer canning line and beer bottling line in a microbrewery is a personal choice. However, from our analysis and comparison, it will be safer to choose the bottling method as a microbrewery. More advances to the canning method can be made when the brewery grows and can handle the cost effect of canning beer.


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