In 2012, start looking for Bell's beer in cans! So that means all you sports fans, beach goers and boaters can now bring your favorite Michigan beer to the party.
KALAMAZOO — Bell's Brewery Inc. is planning to install a 500-cans-per-minute canning line at its Comstock Township facility by spring of 2012 as part of an on-going expansion project, president Larry Bell said Wednesday.
By comparison, the main bottling line at Bell's, Michigan's largest brewery, runs about 260 bottles a minute.
Bell said bottles will continue be the container of choice for most bars and restaurants, but putting beer in cans opens opportunities in the boating, golf and sports venue business that aren't currently available.
"Right now cans are doing about 3 percent of the craft beer market," Larry Bell said. "They probably will skew a little bit higher in Michigan, we think, because the nature of drinking opportunities for cans in this state is greater than other states."
Bell said the final decision hasn't been made on which of his beer brands would end up in cans, nor has Bell's decided what size cans it would use.
Houghton's Keweenaw Brewing Co., which opened in 2004, was the first microbrewery in the state to can craft beer.
Rochester Mills Beer Co., of Rochester, and MillKing It Productions, of Royal Oak, are the only other breweries in the state to can.
Arcadia Brewing Co., of Battle Creek, and Brewery Vivant, of Grand Rapids, have purchased canning lines and plan to begin canning in April.