Can + Growler = Cool local beer innovation

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Can + Growler = Cool local beer innovation

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Thomas Gnau/Staff
An assortment of “crowlers” — “cans” plus “growlers” — ready for someone’s favorite lager. Dayton Systems Group in Miami Twp. developed the resealable tops to the cans. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Growlers are growing up — and a local company is playing a key role in that evolution.

Dayton Systems Group is working with one of the nation’s largest craft brewers to give growlers new lightweight portability and staying power. Dubbed “crowlers” — from the blending of “cans” and “growlers” — the containers take a single-use growler in a can form, and add a mechanically seamed seal that keeps the draft or craft brew fresh.

The beer is then ready to go — and ready to drink later. The container can also be purchased already seamed, ready to be filled and capped at the pub.

For years growlers have been a key part of craft beer culture. But they’re often made of glass, pewter or some other material. Crowlers — available in 32- and 25-ounce containers — offer the portability and convenience of cans, said Vicki Bachmann, marketing manager and half of the husband-and-wife duo who help lead Miami Twp.-based Dayton Systems Group.

Advocates like Bachmann say aluminum cans get cold faster, stay cold longer, block light penetration and are lighter in weight. And they’re recyclable.

And recloseable cans just happen to be a DSG specialty.

The company’s recloseable, resealable metal can technology — called “cap can” — has won popularity with such brands as Monster and Rockstar energy drinks and Jumex juices. As recently as 2015, Noah’s Spring Water, Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer and Sixpoint Brewery also added the DSG closure technology to their packaging mix.

DSG was started in 1992 by Henry “Hank” Bachmann, former president of Dayton Reliable Tool and Manufacturing Co. The latter firm was founded by the late Ermal “Ernie” Fraze, who gave the world the pop-top beverage can. Hank’s son Brad Bachmann, Vicki’s husband, is now DSG’s president and chief executive.

Vicki Bachmann stressed that the crowler’s crucial seal keeps the brew fresh, calling the technology “a valuable way for us to become part of the exciting craft beer arena.”

A key part of the crowler’s resealable technology is lining material from a German manufacturer, Actega DS.

“The seal lining profile contains a crucial element that’s important to all craft brewers — an oxygen scavenger barrier to help maintain the beer’s freshness,” said Charles Weyhausen, U.S. sales manager for Actega DS.

DSG says the seal keeps the beer “draft fresh” for up to a month.

Dayton Systems Group worked with Longmont, Colo.-based Oskar Blues, which prides itself on offering what it calls “the original craft brew in a can.”

The reusable can is “another step of innovation to take advantage of what the can package has to offer from behind the bar,” said Jeremy Rudolf of Oskar Blues, who identifies as the brewery’s “beer traffic controller.”

Founded two decades ago, Oskar Blues says it was the first American craft brewery to can its own beer.

Cap cans have been on the market since 2006, and they can be found on shelves in North America, Latin America, New Zealand, Australia and China.

The world in general seems to be growing in appreciation of cans.

“In that sense, we’re very proud to be moving it to the next level,” Bachmann said.

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