The Payette Brewing Co. may have just recently celebrated its first birthday, but it is set to do something that has eluded local producers of craft beer for more than a decade: sell six-packs at the store.
Payette owner Mike Francis brought a mobile canning line into the brewery at 111 W. 33rd St. in mid-July. Francis and his crew canned 700 cases of Payette Pale Ale and Mutton Buster Brown Ale. (Math alert! There are 24 beers in a case, so the number of cans equals 16,800.)
The marathon session lasted 36 hours. Francis says the cans should be in Boises best beer stores any day, and he expects to have the mobile canning line back by the end of the summer for Round 2.
Getting a local sixer on store shelves represents the next step in the exploding Treasure Valley craft beer scene. Two breweries have opened in the past 18 months, and at least three more are poised to open by the end of 2012. In its first year of existence, Payette Brewing expanded its operation three times and can now produce 330 barrels a month (thats 660 kegs).
Across town, the owners of Sockeye Grill & Brewery are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a 20-barrel brewing operation on Fairview Avenue. Sockeye has purchased a canning line and hopes to have its Dagger Falls IPA in a can and on store shelves by the end of the year.
The popularity of craft beers, and the nationwide demand for the ingredients to make them, is part of the reason Payette isn't putting its best-known beer the Outlaw IPA in a can this year. The IPA style requires more hops, and different varieties of them, to create the distinct aroma and bitter flavors the style demands.
Francis, like many brewers, contracts for his hops and doesn't think he will have enough through the end of the year to can the Outlaw and still meet the draft demands of his Boise bar and restaurant customers. But he is confident Boise beer nuts will love getting Payette Pale Ale and Mutton Buster Brown in a can this year. How confident? Payette had to buy more than 200,000 cans to get started.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Orr