Canning days can be long days, but they are exceptionally rewarding. There’s nothing quite like seeing your days’ work get piled up and stocked as you go!
So, what all occurs on a canning day? Well, Tony and I usually get in around 9-9:30AM to finish setting up the canning line. We plug everything in: electrical, printers, air, and water. Make sure everything’s working properly, and then we can start sanitizing the actual canning line.
Hoses, lines, and surfaces that beer will touch all get sanitized after a quick rinse and prior to beer ever seeing the equipment.
After that’s done, it’s time to let the beer flow! As soon as we start, we usually fill two kegs before closing the valve to the keg filler and letting the beer go into the fill heads on the canning line. Then it’s a matter of dialing in the fill heads, getting the perfect flow of beer into those cans, and off we go!
The filled cans then get lidded, seamed, rinsed, and blasted with air to dry them before I grab them off the conveyor to weigh them. Cans that make weight get sent down to be date-coded (check out the bottom of your Wildwood Haze or 1883 IPA cans for an example), and labeled.
After we’ve got a good steady run of cans coming down the conveyor, I hop over to the labeler to ensure nothing gets snagged or jammed.
Naturally, Tony and I need a couple extra hands on these days, so we usually have a couple people come in to help out on the depalletizer and with packing out. The four of us make a terrific team! Everyone knows their jobs and we work with one another to make the day go as smoothly as possible (our lovely social media extraordinaire also pops in to film and grab lunch orders, which is a lifesaver).
When a pallet is stacked to fulfill a distribution order, Tony and I peel away from the entire line for a moment to wrap and strap. Once the order is snugly strapped to the pallet, I use our amazing little forklift to get that pallet into the cold box as soon as possible (especially in this heat). Rinse and repeat for any and all distribution orders. The last thing we put on a pallet is beer for in-house sales, and that gets stored in our cold box, too, until we can stock our To Go fridge up front by the main bar.
Once our day is done, we clean up and start putting unused consumables away. The whole line gets a top-down rinse to get beer out of any nooks and crannies it might be hiding in before we mix up detergent to thoroughly wash everything that beer went through. The canning line then gets dried off and put away for next time!
And that’s a canning day in a nutshell.
Enjoy your freshly canned 1883 IPAs this weekend, or grab some Wildwood Haze before we run out!