Welcome back to part two of our mobile canning line interview. Here Jamie Kenyon from ThemThatCan tells us about his perceived market trends and explains why mobile canning is a great option for independent brewers…
You’re the second mobile canning operation to open in the UK Jamie, has starting the operation been a long process?
We’ve taken a long time to work with the right company to get the right machine for the UK market and we considered that worth waiting for, although it did feel like it was taking forever at certain points!
What made you decide to get into canning? What planted the seed?
I was living in Mallorca when I was in my former job as an industrial climber on oil rigs. After 15 years of globetrotting with my job I needed a change and the idea; owning a brewery initially sprang to mind as it seemed a more appealing than working offshore for the rest of my life!
So I started researching equipment, beer styles and packaging options, that’s when I came across small scale canning lines including mobile lines. The import costs on equipment to the Balearics was exorbitant at the time and with the rise of local family owned breweries on the island I decided to put the idea on the back burner and look towards canning. Mobile canning seemed like a no brainer in the UK. Low minimum orders, plenty of beverage producers and nobody else doing it at the time I was researching. So I moved back to the UK and here I am now.
What markets will you focus on – beer only?
We’ve been contacted by breweries, cider and lots of other beverage producers as well as some chefs with some great ideas. Really, the only limit to this business’s potential is the imagination of producers and the laws of physics!
How did you go about finding out more information?
I did a lot of research; I spoke to brewers, I spent hours on the internet, blogs, reading trade press and got a lot of information from people in the industry.
Are there any areas you think it is very important to consider before you make your first step into canning?
Do your research; equipment, producers, suppliers etc. It’s good to have an engineering background too, working on a mobile canning machine things can go wrong when least expected, so you need to be able to fix them on the spot without being intimidated; understanding fluid dynamics is a must!
We notice you’ve got partners, did you know them before or were you introduced?
I have three business partners: I met Mike Hill from Utobeer whilst researching canning equipment at the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver a few years ago. Through him I met Peter Haydon who has an excellent brewery in the Florence in Herne Hill and Mark Banks from the Lost Group of bars. With their extensive knowledge and contacts in the drinks industry and my own contacts we have a very strong team.
What’s the most ridiculous canned beer myth you’ve heard?
That the contents have to be pasteurised, they don’t.
Do you see opportunities in CSD market and, if so, where?
Absolutely, why stop at canning beer?
Are you noticing any other trends in the market?
In regards to cans, yes! People are far more aware of cans now, especially in the 20 – 30+ demographic. More people are asking for cans compared to a few years ago when it was wrongly deemed an inferior packaging solution.
There are others entering the market, what will make your business stand out?
We are using a Wild Goose machine, a brand many other mobile canning companies are using in the US. It’s a proven piece of kit, but we’ve gone a few steps further. Working closely with Wild Goose we have adapted the machine to meet our specifications and have developed the first fully CE-certified mobile machine on the market. It’s about a ensuring a customer’s product is looked after when using our machine and is packaged in the most efficient and stable way possible.
If you could offer yourself from one year ago some advice, what would it be?
Have patience, you’re going to need it!
How can brewers keep up to date with your activity?
Our website is www.themthatcan.com . We will be launching a blog soon where people can keep up with where we’re canning, we also using social media @themthatcan and word of mouth and, of course, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org