For its first five years, Ratio Beerworks sold their beer draft only. Having grown to 4,000 barrels by 2019, they had intended to start canning eventually with a future facility expansion, but the coronavirus pandemic accelerated their packaging plans. With liquor retailers and grocery stores open but all usual draft outlets – including Ratio’s taproom – shut down, it made sense to start canning to-go ASAP.
Making Small-Space Canning Work with the Gosling Canning System
When Ratio’s lead brewer Alex Rabe first heard about Wild Goose’s compact Gosling canning system, he knew it would be the right fit for the brewery’s small space. “We had a whole lineup of beer we were getting ready to brew and had already purchased a vast amount of raw materials,” said Rabe. “I knew canning was what we needed to do to survive, so I reached out to Wild Goose and purchased Gosling serial number 2.”
They had managed to squeeze in an extra fermenter a year earlier, but without any more room to expand, a traditional packaging layout was not feasible. Ratio needed onsite canning ability urgently, without a square footage commitment.
Said Rabe, “I’ve worked on a number of canning lines in my career, and Wild Goose is way more reliable and has much lower dissolved oxygen pickup. Goose machines have a far lower failure rate for parts. I also see Goose coming out with new developments and updates regularly, and the customer service is really good.”
Within five months, Ratio filled 100,000 cans on their Gosling system. They currently can up to 400 cases per week, primarily specialty releases, rolling the Gosling and tabletop labeler where
needed on their mobile cart setup.
“The best thing we could offer our customers during the shutdown was stuff they don’t normally get,” Rabe explained. “While we could still offer crowlers, having the Gosling means we can offer a much higher quality package.”
Added Rabe, “Having cans to sell has helped us bring back a lot of our employees during the pandemic and even hire new staff. I’m super proud we can reinvest in our people, which is a very big part of the ethos of Ratio.”
Canning for the Future
For Rabe, the Gosling’s flexibility to support future packaged sales represents a key long-term benefit. “The Gosling is future-proofing for us. Even after we build our new 40-barrel facility and have to expand our canning operation over there, we’ll still be able to brew and package one-off and seasonal batches entirely onsite at this original brewhouse taproom.”