BENNINGTON >> Northshire Brewery is expanding to add cans of beer to its lineup of products.
The Bennington-based company currently has beers on tap at restaurants around the state, offers tasting of their brews at the brewery itself three days a week, and has had a limited bottling operation that provides 22 ounce containers for retail sale.
The cans will begin appearing in retail locations, such as beverage stores and grocery stores, throughout the area as soon as next week, said Christopher Mayne, who co-founded the brewery with his wife Karen and partner Earl McGoff in 2010. The first batch will be about 250 cases of the popular Equinox Pilsner and the Sicilian Pale Ale, a double India Pale Ale, but Mayne hopes to produce 500-1,000 cases a month moving forward, and to expand the selection to other beers, if all goes well. Northshire beers are distributed exclusively within Vermont by Farrell Distributing, but consultant Peter Odierna said that the brewery is currently speaking with three out-of-state distributors, and are hoping to see their beers on shelves in nearby states soon.
The brewery is able to offer cans thanks to a Trumansburg, N.Y. mobile canning business, the Mobile Can Man, which is owned by Tim Dorward. The company brings canning equipment to small breweries, allowing them to produce cans of their product without needing to make a huge investment. "For us, if we were to purchase our own, we're talking $100,000," said Karen Mayne, who added that there wasn't enough space at their County Street location for a full-scale canning operation. "We're really tight where we are right now," she said.
Odierna said that the company is also pursuing an expansion to Manchester, where they are currently looking at purchasing property. The new facility will include a tap room, but the logistics of the move are still being discussed, and there isn't yet a clear timeline on when that move will take place. Between the new taproom and the increased distribution, said Odierna, "the brewery should be on a good path by the end of the year."
The brewery currently produces about six beers year-round, including their traditional English brown ale, called Battenkill Ale, a chocolate stout, and a Hefeweizen, in addition to seasonal offerings.
2016 has been an exciting year for brewing and distilling in Bennington. It saw the opening of Spirits of Old Bennington at the former Vermont Tissue Mill and the Harvest Brewing Co-op on South Street. Madison's Brewing Company, on Main Street, teased earlier this month on its Facebook page that it will begin offering cans of its own beer starting in the coming months.
Northshire Brewery is open Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. for tastings, as well as Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tours are available Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment. To learn more, visit their website at northshirebrewery.com.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.