Enjoying canned beer once meant purchasing a 12-pack of mass-brewed lager from one of the nation’s largest producers.
Moustache Brewing Co. canned 130 cases of its Proton IPA on Thursday, the first beer offered by the Riverhead craft brewery in can form.
The 16-ounce cans will be sold in four packs in the Hallett Avenue tasting room following a kickoff party Saturday.
“This is huge in increasing our distribution,” said Lauri Spitz, who owns the brewery along with her husband Matt. “This will allow us to distribute in places that don’t have taps. This will allow us to sell in grocery stores.”
Sales for the young company have exploded since it opened more than two years ago. Moustache has increased its fermentation space from five barrels to 30 in that time and as of last week, the beers can now be found on tap in New York City restaurants like The Jeffrey on the Upper East Side, Mugs Ale House in Williamsburg and Alewife in Long Island City. You will also soon be able to purchase it at Whole Foods stores.
“Two and a half years ago we opened this tiny little thing and now we’re bursting at the seams,” Ms. Spitz said.
Moustache is the second Riverhead brewery to offer canned beer after Long Ireland Beer Co. started selling its Celtic Ale, Summer Ale and IPA in cans earlier this year.
To can the beers, the Spitzs enlisted the help of Anvil Craft Services, a mobile canning service based in Long Island City. Anvil owner Pete Mastrella and his partner Todd Lunderborg took note of the need for northeastern microbreweries to can their own brews and launched the business, one of the few to offer the service in the region.
“More and more breweries were getting into cans and it was way too cost prohibitive to buy the equipment themselves,” Mastrella said, adding that his operation has only gotten off the ground in the past month. “It’s really taken off.”
Cans are considered superior packaging to bottles, Mastrella noted, as they don’t let any light in and are stackable. Anvil currently has about 10 clients and he said they would be willing to work with wineries as well.
The manual canning system, manufactured by Cask, was manned by a half-dozen Moustache and Anvil staffers Thursday afternoon. The small canning line fills the cans with precisely 16 ounces of beer before it applies the lid and adheres the label, which was designed by Ms. Spitz. She weighs each can before it loading it into a case.
“It’s a quality control thing,” she explained.
At 8.5 percent ABV, Proton is part of Moustache’s atomic series, which incorporates and celebrates new and unusual hop varieties — in this case azacca, simcoe and lemon drop.
“It’s basically like a tropical mango bomb,” said Moustache brewer Rob Raffa. “We made it a couple of months back and it was a huge hit. It’s very drinkable.”
Moustache Brewing Co. will host a Proton Can Release party on Saturday, Sept. 17 at noon. There will be a limit of one case (24 cans) per person. Beer is first come first served.