- Associated Press - Sunday, May 28, 2017

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota brewing company has started canning at its new facility as part of its efforts to expand its customer base.

Beaver Island Brewing Co. began using the new facility last week, the St. Cloud Times reported. (https://on.sctimes.com/2rBpv0o).

Co-founder Nick Barth said the facility can produce about 6,500 barrels per year and has quadrupled the company’s production capacity.

“This is the single biggest step that we will take probably in the next five years,” Barth said.

The canning line was made by Wild Goose Canning in Boulder, Colorado. It can produce about 40 cans per minute, Barth said. Beaver Island had previously been producing only draft beer, which goes to bars and restaurants.

“We can make significantly more beer here than we can downtown,” he said of the facility. “For the next six to 12 months, the downtown location will produce all the draft beer, all the small batches, one-offs and limited releases. This facility will focus primarily on canning.”

The new canning facility will allow the company to put cans of their products into liquor stores, Barth said. He hopes this increased exposure will attract more customers.

“For two and a half years, if we wanted to bring a beer home or sample out to a customer, we had to do it in a growler. Now, to be able to bring them a six pack, set it down and say, ‘Here, this is what we have to offer,’ … that’s been really surreal,” Barth said.

Beaver Island’s main brands - which include Ripple, ‘39 Red IPA and Sweet Mississippi - will be in stores in July.

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Information from: St. Cloud Times, https://www.sctimes.com

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