Beer history was made last Tuesday when Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus became the first microbrewery in Missouri to can beer on site.
McKinney Eddy Amber Ale was the first Piney River brew to be canned by the brewery, which is owned and operated by Brian and Joleen Durham.
Using a two-head automatic micro can canning machine from Wild Goose Engineering in Boulder, Colo., 75 cases of beer came off the canning line in its first run. At its peak, the machine was filling 23-pint cans per minute.
“When we decided to package our beer, we knew that we wanted to package our beer so that it could be enjoyed on the rivers and in other natural areas in the Ozarks,” Brian Durham said.
Durham explained that many microbreweries across the nation are offering canned craft beer because cans provide the best way to preserve the flavor of the beer in addition to being recyclable and lighter to ship.
“The modern aluminum can has a protective coating inside the can that does not allow the beer to touch the aluminum,” Durham explained.
Piney River Brewing is using 16-ounce pint cans for its canned beer.
“We thought it was only appropriate to have ‘Piney pints’ in the Ozarks,” Durham said.
McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and Missouri Mule India Pale Ale are the first two beers the Texas County brewery is canning. Their cans will be distributed throughout the Ozarks by Grellner Sales and Service in Rolla and Heart of America in Springfield and Joplin.
Durham noted that retail stores in Texas County will be the first stores to offer the latest craft beer offering available in Missouri, and cases of beer will be distributed to other retail locations within the next few weeks.
“As our brewery grows, we hope to offer some of our other beers in can form, too,” Durham explained.
Piney River Brewing Company operates a tap room at their brewery location on Saturdays. Several varieties of beer are available for customers at the tap room for sale by the pint glass or in half-gallon growlers “to go.”
The doors at Piney River Brewing opened in March as a “nanobrewery,” a microbrewery operating on a three-barrel system or less. In October, Piney River Brewing installed a seven-barrel brew house in order to begin packaging beer in cans and in kegs.