4. Fresh interest from other companies: Nitro Can tech isn’t just for beer
What kind of interest do you see from other brewers in the Nitro Can technology?
“We get calls all the time from other breweries and interested parties about widget-less nitro canning, it’s certainly a new technology application and there’s little experimentation and research done on it,” responds Cain. “The benefit of us as a small-scale brewer is the flexibility of practicing with it and understanding the nuances of the technology where larger breweries may not have that freedom. They ask us how do you do this, what kind of advice can you give us, if we’re looking to get into it what results can we expect, etc. It’s been great to work with other breweries in that capacity and share some of our experiences and knowledge with this invention.
“We’ve been contacted by a lot of companies and not just breweries; we’ve been working with some coffee companies and had interest from other non-alcohol canned beverages that want to have this nitrogenated effect. Our canning partner River City also deals with iced tea and coffee roasteries and coffee companies that are canning nitrogen-infused coffees and other non-alcohol products (for an example of the latter, see Custom can pours foamy draft latte).
“There seem to be a number of alternative Nitro Can products and nitrogenated bottled products that are going to be on the market.
“There are nitrogen-dosed canned wines like Underwood from Union Wine Co., but the N2 is used to pressurize the can wall. Wine is a still beverage, obviously, so when canned the packaging feels flimsy; you need to find a way to add some sort of stability to the can wall. Nitrogen is a great option for that because it requires only a small amount to give the can walls some rigidity. You’ll also find it used with canned teas.
“Still beverage versions of the technology are interesting because they’re a lot different from carbonated and therefore other process modifications are needed.”
5. Patent-pending plans change—and an open invitation
In our original story last July, Vault had originally considered filing a patent on the Nitro Can technology because it wanted to control how the technology was spread. It has backed off that approach.
“We originally sought a patent not to hold it for Vault, but because we wanted the technology to be appropriately and accurately leveraged and used by other companies,” explains Cain. “If a customer buys a Nitro Can beer and has a poor experience, it devalues our selling proposition because now people might have a negative perception of a Nitro Can.
“After conversations with partners, other breweries and beverage companies, we decided a patent was not going to be the most effective way to further the industry or improve the technology. The time and money spent enforcing the patent would be counterproductive to our goals and could hurt the industry more than help it.
“We’re opening it up and welcome other breweries to contact us to partner, collaborate, or work with us to continuously improve the process for everyone. We want to make sure the technology is spread properly so that the industry as a whole can benefit. We want customers everywhere to enjoy this technology as we intended it.”
Would you consider contract packaging Nitro Cans for other brewers?
“Maybe in the future, but we’re not really in the business of contract canning,” responds Cain. “I like our Nitro Can because it’s fun. At the end of the day, the Nitro Can wasn’t something that was an impossible problem to solve, Vault was just the first to tackle it. We had the flexibility as a small brewery to come to a solution faster than large brewers.”
You can contact James Cain at [email protected] for further information about Nitro Can technology.
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