Great Lakes Brewing Co. is Introducing Canned Beers

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Great Lakes Brewing Co. is Introducing Canned Beers

Midwestern craft beer stalwart Great Lakes Brewing Co. announced a decision this morning that has surely been a long time in coming—the first Great Lakes beers to hit 12 and 16 oz cans. These will be the first beers that GLBC has ever canned in the company’s almost 30-year history as “Ohio’s original craft brewery.”

The beers chosen for the first run of cans include one year-rounder (Turntable Pils) one seasonal release (Lightkeeper Blonde) and a previously pub-exclusive beer familiar to regulars in the Cleveland area, Rally Drum Red Ale. The two former beers will be available in 12 oz. can 12-packs, while Rally Drum will be available in 16 oz. can 12-packs. 16 oz. cans of Turntable will follow in August.

The most unusual aspect of the newly canned beers is where the canning (and brewing) will happen. For the canned releases, GLBC has established an “interim partnership” with Harpoon Brewery in Boston, which will produce and package the three canned brands. GLBC’s press release doesn’t specifically state the reason for what sounds like a temporary partnership, but one would suspect that perhaps the Cleveland brewery didn’t have quite enough space necessary for their own canning plans. Regardless, one would expect they’re likely at work on a more permanent solution that doesn’t involve brewing several of their brands off-site.

Bill Boor, CEO of Great Lakes, provided the following comments:

“Getting Great Lakes’ beer into cans so it can be enjoyed in places and situations where bottles are not viable has been our intention for some time. We have great respect for the Harpoon organization and feel our values, culture, and commitment to great beer fit very well together. So the opportunity to work in partnership with them is the right initial step in our can strategy. We’re very excited about what this means for our products and customers and we’re excited to be working with Harpoon to make this happen.”

Mark Hunger, the brewmaster of Great Lakes, adds the following:

“What’s most important to me is making sure the quality and taste of any beer we put our name on is what our customers expect. We are very confident in Harpoon’s process and quality standards and I’m looking forward to working closely with them, especially with these three excellent beers.”

Personally, we at Paste think the designs of the cans look pretty damn cool, and we must give props to illustrator Darren Booth. However, we don’t know how you put GLBC beer into cans without making their world-class porter, Edmund Fitzgerald, one of the inaugural selections. We can only hope that “Ed Fitz” in cans is soon to follow.

If you’re not familiar with these Great Lakes brands, you can read the brewery’s profiles of each beer below.

Turntable Pils
A classic Czech-style Pilsner named in honor of Ohio’s music legacy, made its seasonal debut in April of 2016. In 2017 Turntable Pils joined favorites like Dortmunder Gold Lager and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter as GLBC’s sixth year-round offering and earned a Silver Medal from the Beverage Testing Institute.
ABV: 5.4%
IBU: 35
RELEASE: May 2017 (12 oz. can 12-Packs), Aug. 2017 (16 oz. can 12-Packs)

Lightkeeper Blonde Ale
Made its debut in GLBC’s Fridge Filler Variety Pack in Mar. 2017. A refreshing Blonde Ale guided by light malt and dry, fruity hop flavors, Lightkeeper Blonde Ale’s label features Lake Erie’s iconic Marblehead Lighthouse.
ABV: 6.6%
IBU: 30 RELEASE: May 2017 (12 oz. can 12-Packs)

Rally Drum Red Ale
A longtime GLBC brewpub favorite inspired by infamous Cleveland baseball fan and bleacher percussionist John J. Adams. The label artwork features a painting of his iconic drum and mallets, and the beer fields a double header of bitter hop and roasted malt flavors.
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 45
RELEASE: May 2017 (16 oz. can 12-Packs)