Business

Day Labor Is Keeping A Hipster Staple Afloat

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

A former hedge fund employee has come up with a way for brewers to skirt costs and connect with consumers using only day labor and their love for beer.

Tyler Wille is the founder of Connecticut-based Iron Heart Canning Co., a company that offers breweries on-site canning and quality control services, Bloomberg reports.  The canning process is one of the more costly aspects of running a brewery, and Iron Heart is one of few mobile operations around the U.S. offering craft breweries a cost-efficient option for packaging beer

The cost of purchasing bottling/canning equipment, various inputs like cans and bottles, and building a production line can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Breweries also have to consider the cost of physical space with a bottling line — space that could be used for other productive ends.

Wille, an amateur brewer, spent his days dreaming about opening a brewery while working at a hedge fund in New York City. His dreams shifted after understanding the heavy market competition and the risk of taking on debt after the market crisis of 2007. Taking a slightly different path, Wille decided to shift focus to providing the niche service of canning for breweries that don’t have the money or space for equipment.

Wille bought a truck in 2013 and remodeled it into a mobile-canning machine. He started working immediately for 10 breweries and business picked up so fast that he had to purchase two additional trucks. Wille eventually sold the company to private investors but remains CEO.

Today, Iron Heart consists of 22 trucks which provide over 250 breweries from New York to Virginia with canning services.

Breweries around the nation have shifted from bottling to canning a majority of their beers. Not only is outsourcing more cost-effective, but it also provides more quality control, keeping the beer fresher for a longer period of time.

Up-and-coming breweries like Wiseacre in Memphis, Tenn., helped to kick off this trend.

“Recent breakthroughs in canning liners have eliminated the oxidation of aluminum into beer. Cans also protect completely from light and oxygen, making them basically miniature kegs,” according to Wiseacre’s website.

There are over two-dozen mobile canning companies and in excess of 3,000 microbreweries operating around the U.S. in 2017. More than 12 percent of all beer consumed in the U.S. was craft beer and craft breweries snagged 22 percent of beer revenue in 2016, The Brewers Association reports.

These operations allow consumers to get their hands on beers otherwise available only at a brewery or on local taps. They also provide small craft breweries the opportunity to advertise their beers to a wider audience.

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