It has been a busy day over at Red Collar as the local brewery begins its first run of canning, introducing four packs of tall boy cans that hit liquor stores today.
Red Collar has been working for the past three months to shake things up with their foray into cans, introducing two new summer brews designed with the canning process in mind: Impeachment and Alternative Facts.
Inspired by the American election — a political circus that was hard to ignore — the local craft brewery got to work planning its next big move, having a little fun at the expense of our neighbours to the south.
“To have something new and fresh, I think we try and shake things up as much as we can here,” said sales and marketing manager JP Lancaster.
“For us to come up with two brand new beers, that was exciting for the brewing team. To come up with a new image, that’s fun for the design team. It’s just adding a whole other experience to our beer. That’s all really exciting.”
When Red Collar opened three years ago, it chose to bottle its brews in 650-milliliter bombers, something Lancaster said made sense at the time.
“When you’re starting out a brewery, there’s a lot of expenses up front and you kind of have to make the call to go either cans or bombers,” he said.
As a new brand emerging in the craft beer scene, they figured it was more likely people would buy a single bottle than a whole case of cans. The market trend at the time was to have lots of variety in single bombers, but that could be changing.
Now, with a loyal local following, reach into all parts of the province and tentacles into Alberta, Red Collar is looking to stretch into a new market.
“The trend has kind of shifted toward people wanting cans,” Lancaster said.
“You look at Kamloops, especially now, what are people doing? They’re out playing softball, they’re going for a hike or going fishing. Bottles aren’t that convenient, whereas you can put a four pack of cans in your backpack.”
Lancaster said Red Collar wanted to brew light, summery beers for its first run of cans.
Alternative Facts is a hazy IPA with low bitterness and big fruity, citrus aromas. Since being introduced, it has been Red Collar’s post popular beer in the tasting room.
Beer nerds might be interested to know the name is a bit of a play on the brewing process as well. Despite being an IPA, Alternative Facts is not a very hoppy beer. Lancaster said the hops are added after the boil process not during.
“Brewers of 100 years ago are rolling in their graves at that thought,” he said. “It’s a very new approach to making beer.”
Impeachment is a peach Witbier. Lancaster said Wit is a traditionally Belgian style beer that usually has a citrus fruit and some kind of spice. Impeachment has a bit of tartness and a bit of sweetness, he said.
For the branding, Luca was able to break the mould a bit. The bomber labels aesthetic is traditionally European, but the cans are a bit more colourful and cartoonish. For Alternative Facts in particular, Red Collar wanted to have some subtle George Orwell 1984 themes.
“There's definitely a lot of breweries that are playing off of the American president but, in the same breath, it's fun, it expresses our political beliefs and it's good tasty beer at the end of the day,” Lancaster said.
Red Collar is using a mobile canning company and canning with them every three weeks. The first run of cans will be retailed in Kamloops and surrounding areas. Impeachment is available in cans today and Alternative Facts will be hitting shelves in the next couple weeks.
“I think the beauty of beer is that there’s so many possible flavour combinations and colours, there’s a beer out there for every palate,” Lancaster said.
“That’s the fun part about what we do, keeping the invention wheel turning.”