How Selling Beer in Cans Helped Small Colorado Brewery Survive 2020

by Madison Miller

There’s no doubt that 2020 was a hard year. That goes from individuals to families to essential workers to small business owners.

For the bar and alcohol scene, there were a lot of adaptations that had to be made. People could no longer get out and visit their favorite bar or brewery. At the same time, however, people still had that same desire for some good alcohol.

So, the demand didn’t really go down, it just changed.

As a result, bars would sell to-go alcohol or try to get products on the shelves instead of in their business. This is similar to what a very small Colorado brewery decided to do in order to stay afloat.

Colorado Brewery Switches to Canned Beer

Keeping the doors open has been particularly hard for some of those smaller breweries, which are plentiful in Colorado. These types of breweries exclusively rely on people coming into the taproom to try beers on draft.

Coda Brewing, located in Golden, used to sell only in-person beers. Now, a year and a half later, Coda Brewing survived by deciding to sell its beers in cans too. According to 9 News, the brewery is tiny, tiny. It only has four employees and the thought of making cans seemed daunting.

“It was a really long road to get to this point. There was dust collecting in this taproom for three months. That was a really scary sight at one point. There was not a soul in here,” the owner Luke Smith said to the news outlet.

Despite dust starting to settle, Smith and the rest of the workers were quick to think of a solution. Coda Brewing starting canning beers the day the state shut down in 2020. In only two days, the brewery had gone from draft beer only to canned beer only.

Luckily, there were resources available to get Coda Brewing started. They used CARES Act funding and a small business grant to buy a canning machine. The business has since overcome any additional struggles that come along — from supply chain issues to other mandates.

In fact, the entire business model for Coda Brewing has changed. For a brewery that only wanted to provide draft beers, now canned items make up over a quarter in profit.

During COVID-19, it was a matter of making changes or closing down for good.

Breweries Make Rock On Lager

Despite the pandemic, beer is still in hot demand. Hence, the creation of the Rock On lager.

This is what led over two dozen breweries all across the country to create a beer that would benefit a specific group of people in need. The beer would help musicians and others in the music industry that were long out of work due to COVID-19.

According to USA Today, the hops to make the lager are coming from Crosby Hops in Oregon. The proceeds from this endeavor are all going to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.

Breweries are mostly deciding to brew a lager with about 5% ABV. It was Silver City Brewery in Washington that made the first Rock On lager.