In April, Wild Goose Mexico brought together 35 Mexican craft breweries for Kegs to Cans: Mexico Sessions, a free two-day, hands-on canning experience in Mexico City. Hosted at Casa Cervecera Cru Cru using a Wild Goose Gosling™ canning system, visiting brewers had the opportunity to get up close to the canning process with packaging education and guidance from Wild Goose pros.
Kegs to Cans MX expanded on the original Kegs to Cans sessions Wild Goose held during the early days of COVID-19 shutdowns. At that time, breweries with product sitting in tanks and kegs when onsite taprooms closed scrambled to shift draft beer into to-go packaging. Wild Goose set up a Gosling canning system at nearby Odd13 Brewing in Colorado, with an invitation out to area craft brewers for free canning and supplies. Kegs to Cans allowed local breweries to package dozens of cases of sellable canned beer that otherwise would have gone to waste.
Mexico Canning Demand Driven by Craft Brewers
With Mexican craft brewers increasingly seeking to add cans to their post-pandemic business model, Kegs to Cans MX offered brewers a firsthand look at the packaging possibilities for their small-to-midsize production scales. Led by Wild Goose reps Pedro Majlat and Gabriel Sanchez from MSM Packaging Solutions, the event melded packaging education plus practical canning experience.
Said Majlat, “A few years ago, not many craft brewers in Mexico were canning. When the pandemic hit, they started doing everything they could to get product out the door, including canning by hand.” Craft breweries began distributing and selling cans online, and found consumers jumping on board. “Their customers were saying, ‘Hey, I’m over in Mexico City but now for the first time I have easy access to beer from your brewery in Tijuana.’ Canning gives Mexican craft brewers a new presence in the market, and they want to put out high-quality product on a growing scale.”
Canning Beer (and More) during Kegs to Cans MX
The canning run during Kegs to Cans MX served not just as a hands-on canning exploration for growing brewers, but also provided an extra perk for Tiny Bastards, a small craft brewery located in Guadalajara. The cans of Tiny Bastards beer packaged onsite added a new revenue stream for the brewery, which had previously sold draft or bottled product from its taproom only.
Said Juan Francisco from Tiny Bastards, “The Gosling ran perfectly. We did some setup adjustments with waste of only 2 cans, and almost no spilled beer while running. We ran about seven 16-oz cans per minute and finished our kegs very quickly. The machine’s versatility and how easy and quick it is to clean and calibrate makes it an ideal piece of technology for small and medium breweries. It’s a plug and play canning system with great performance.”
The canning run on Day 1 ran faster than expected, and by the second day the team had canned all of Tiny Bastards’ beer. For Day 2’s training session, the group got creative with product.
One brewer retrieved a sixtel keg of Chardonnay wine. Unlike carbonated beer, still wine would typically be canned using doses of liquid nitrogen to maintain shelf life without CO2. For beverage producers canning both sparkling and still products like wine, Wild Goose offers a Gosling Nitro™ configuration with integrated liquid nitrogen dosing. Despite having no liquid nitrogen onsite, the brewer wanted to get some experience canning wine from a keg anyway. Said Majlat, “Beer, wine… Everyone got to enjoy a little variety!”
Sanchez noted many craft brewers have considered putting a hard seltzer or other beverages into the market. He said, “With the pandemic shift, beverage producers in Mexico are interested in canning everything. Kegs to Cans MX gave everyone a chance to explore canning and how it fits into their growth plans.”
Hands-On Canning Equipment
Luis Enrique, head brewer and owner of host brewery Casa Cervecera Cru Cru, deemed the event a success. “We love hosting Wild Goose Mexico events in our brewery,” he said. “They are always educational and a great opportunity for networking with colleagues in our local industry.”
Added Majlat, “The response to Kegs to Cans MX was amazing. Brewers were able to get their hands on canning equipment and experience good quality packaging on a simple-to-use machine.”
Wild Goose currently has more than 40 installed canning and bottling customers in Mexico. With on-the-ground Wild Goose sales, service, training and support in Mexico, Mexico’s craft breweries can expect a reliable long-term partner as they expand into cans for the first time and plan their future growth. Wild Goose offers a broad range of filling systems suited to any expanding production scale, from Meheen™ bottling systems to entry-level Goslings, workhorse 1-10 head Evolution Series™ canning systems, and the new Wild Goose Fusion™ Counter Pressure Canning System.
Stay tuned for information on future Kegs to Cans sessions.
Read the coverage of Kegs to Cans: Mexico Sessions from Periodismo Desde la Barra.