Two Beers' smallest serving size is shrinking, but its square footage is growing.
The SoDo microbrewery this week became the first Washington craft brewery to issue its ales in 12-ounce cans (Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing beat Two Beers to the aluminum punch with its 16-ounce tall boys.) Founder and head brewer Joel VandenBrink says the release is one of "kind of a lot of projects concurrently launching or launching soon."
Two Beers last week began the process of doubling its annual production from 1000 gallons to 2000 gallons, and plans to expand its brewhouse and warehouse later this summer. The brewery is also adding a permanent tasting room to showcase its expanded roster of beer styles in 22-ounce bottles and new 12-ounce cans.
In August, the brewery will take over an adjoining venue now occupied by a linen store, putting Two Beers alongside a wine shop. "It'll be sweet," VandenBrink promises. Until then, he says, "we're busting at the seams."
Most of Two Beers' regular onsite drinkers are workers from nearby businesses, but VandenBrink anticipates his customer base will grow with the building. "Now that we have the space, we can make it more invitational," he says.
Cans of Two Beers' flagship IPA and a pair of summer seasonals will be sold in the tasting room, with a six-pack priced at $9.99. Local retailers, including Whole Foods, will also stock the canned beers. "It made sense to do cans because we believe the market is going to shift and we wanted to go there first," VandenBrink says.
VandenBrink cites studies showing cans are easier to recycle than bottles, and says their lighter weight means less fuel is required for transport. Cans are also more appropriate for carrying into--and out of--the back country.
A Two Beers release quotes a Whole Foods beer specialist as saying, "By providing their artisan beers in a portable, durable can, Two Beers has made it so all of Washington is our beer garden."
VandenBrink is confident canned beer will soon lose its lowbrow connotations. "We've all grown up with PBR and Bud Light, but this is the new way to put craft beer in packaging," he says.