by Andrew Crisp
Idaho hasn't had a home-state brewery filling aluminum cans for distribution in 67 years, according to the folks at Payette Brewing Co. The brewery began filling cans with craft beer July 23.
"It's almost 205,000 cans total," said Payette's Jacob Black, gesturing to a massive storage area filled with pallets, each stacked with rows of white cans. "That's a semi truck full. There's 25 pallets, so each pallet has 8,169 [cans]."
Those cans were shipped to Payette HQ this week, along with two employees from Portland, Ore., mobile canning unit Northwest Canning. Canners Justin Brandt and Tom Ries plunged silvery tops onto foaming cans before plunking them into plastic six-pack rings.
The brewery plans to inject its beer into a portion of those nearly 205,000 cans, finishing thousands by Wednesday, July 25.
In total, 13 pallets of Mutton Buster brown ale and 12 pallets of the Payette pale ale will eventually funnel through the brewery and into some Treasure Valley stores. Local bars and restaurants have been interested, too, said owner Mike Francis, but limited numbers mean fulfilling their requests will have to wait.
Instead, the cans will be sold at Payette's headquarters at 111 W. 33rd St. in Garden City, at specialty beer shops, at five local Albertsons stores, at the Boise Co-op and at the M&W Market on Warm Springs Avenue.
The mobile canning operation could be back soon to attack more of the can stockpile, depending on the operation's success.
"They can be back out here in four weeks," said Francis. "We hope this will last that long."