Yes we CAN

East End Brewing Co. sure does have a can-do attitude. On June 3rd, East End contracted We Can Mobile Canning of Danville, Pa to facilitate the canning of 20 barrels of Big Hop, East End’s flagship IPA.

can1 Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

This is a giant step for East End, who predominantly relies on growlers to transport their beer. Environmentally conscious brewery owner, Scott Smith, still prefers growlers because the beer is freshly poured into a completely reusable container. But he realizes that individually packaged beer allows greater access to those who can’t make it out to the brewery for a quick growler fill. So packaged beer it is! Now the pressing question was, cans or bottles?

After careful consideration, canning was their best option and here’s why…

caulincan  Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

As far as packaged beers, the canned ones are better for the environment. Canned beer weighs less; therefore, more beer can be transported in fewer trips, which greatly reduces the brewery’s carbon footprint. Also, aluminum cans are fully recyclable. These were significant factors for the East End team, who’s committed to running an environmentally conscious brewery and a responsible Pittsburgh business.


Equally important, cans protect the beer from damaging elements like light and oxygen. Light is so extremely destructive to the delicate properties in beer, it can skunk a perfectly delicious brew in less than five minutes. Also, cans with their “double-crimped” seal are better than bottles at preventing oxygen from getting in — oxygen being the ultimate nemesis of a well-crafted brew.

Cans are the way to go if you like to get outdoorsy with your beer. Cans are much smaller and lighter. Plus, cans are far more durable than bottles. Tossing a can of beer to a buddy is far safer than throwing a glass bottle, which has the potential to turn into beer bomb complete with flying shrapnel. And once you’re done indulging, cans are super easy to crush into small, compact recyclables.

hold crush

tiny crush

Or you can get creative and break out your BB gun and use them for target practice. Or stack them into a pyramid. Better yet, recreate one of Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers. Now we’re talking some serious party time entertainment!

Oh, and did you know that beer in cans cools faster than bottles? That’s a deal sealer for us, who often have impromptu beer tastings with family and friends. But there are some skeptics out there who say that the beer takes on a metal taste from the can. In actuality, the cans are lined with the same coating as kegs, which prohibits the beer from directly coming in contact with the metal. But if the whole metal touching your lips still throws off your taste buds, just use a beer glass for cryin’ aht lahd! It’s the proper way to enjoy a brew anyway, bottled or canned.

Now that you understand all the benefits that canning CAN provide, let’s move on to the fun part- the canning process! Our good buddy, Caulin, a wildly talented Pittsburgh-based photographer, and I were unbelievably fortunate to witness this incredible event first hand. And Caulin graciously shared some his stunning photos with us for this post.

drip Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

In preparation for canning day, Scott ordered 94,000 topless cans, brilliantly designed by the artists at Commonwealth Press. The topless cans are first sanitized in a stainless steel bin with peracetic acid solution. Then three cans at a time travel along the conveyer belt.

millioncansPicture Credit Caulin Grant©

The first three smaller wands blast CO2 into the cans, forcing the oxygen out of the can. Then the cans travel to the next set of wands, which quickly fill the cans with the Big Hop. They are topped with a frothy foam head for an added layer of protection against oxygen.

canpour Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

Then, one last CO2 blast seals the deal as the lid is applied. The foamy top is forced out, leaving no room for oxygen to wreck havoc. Then the lid is expertly sealed, using a two step process- the machine bends the lid down, then polishes the sides using a quick, spinning motion, which makes it lay flesh with the can. Oxygen never stands a chance…Finally, the cans are washed and then adorned with 6-pack toppers.

fullon Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

The entire process took a mere eight and a half hours, quite an impressive run to say the least, considering they cranked out over 6,500 cans. East End’s current plan is to can once a month. But with Pittsburgh’s insatiable thirst for Big Hop, they may have to can more often than that. You can find the cans at East End’s two locations, by the six pack and by the case. Once East End is confident that the quality, consistency, and shelf life are all where they need to be, they will start distribution around tahn.

canhand Picture Credit Caulin Grant©

Nothing sounds more like summer fun than popping a beer tab and hearing that glorious crisp, cracking sound. So grab some fresh cans of Big Hop and let the good times roll.

Cheers N’at– Devon and Tim

A big thank you to Scott for letting us participate in this historic event. Another huge thank you to Caulin. Your pictures are absolutely stunning- thank you for sharing them with us. I ‘m looking forward to my next beer adventure with the both of you! Cheers


%d bloggers like this: