Mobile Canning was founded in 2011 by two friends in Colorado, both long-time home brewers, who had a common interest in becoming commercially involved in the craft beer industry. Pat Hartman and Ron Popma, both natives of West Chester, Pennsylvania, had met as neighbors in Colorado where they had each been pursuing careers in the technology industry. Pat had a dream of opening his own brewery and was finishing up an Intensive Brewing Science course at the University of California at Davis when his dream took a different direction. The class discussed the concept of mobile bottling, and Pat asked himself, “Why not Mobile Canning?” Back in Colorado he discussed it with Ron, and Mobile Canning, LLC was born and ultimately Mobile Canning Systems, LLC evolved from there.
While craft beer in a can was becoming a popular trend, Pat and Ron found that many microbreweries were unable to get into cans as they either couldn’t afford the equipment, spare the space, or meet the printed can minimums. They also found many operations had latent brewing capacity because they just didn’t have a way to get more beer out their door if they produced it.
So Pat and Ron started researching the idea of mobile canning, figuring out how they might bring their idea to fruition. After gaining some valuable insights into the canning process and equipment considerations from local breweries, they soon became convinced that the idea was a good one and the time was right. Learning, testing, and refining the system was not without its share of blood, sweat, and tears, but it was a labor of love and they maintained a focus on creating a unique and flexible service that would allow craft brewers to extend their product reach in an effective, efficient, and economical manner. Mobile Canning secured its first customer, Crabtree Brewing Company in Greeley, Colorado, and canned its first production run in November 2011. By the summer of 2012, the company had nine regular customers, was canning as many as 2000 cases per week, and was seeing significant growth in demand from the ever-growing craft brewery market in Colorado.
Through a few local articles in print and social media, the word of the launch of Mobile Canning first reached the craft brewing industry and beyond. The guys began receiving inquiries on the possibility of their providing support for similar operations in other regions. With the Colorado operation thriving and additional staff brought on board, Pat and Ron turned their attention to the idea of sharing the opportunity and the benefit of their experience with others and Mobile Canning Systems was started. In October 2012 the Mobile Canning Systems Affiliate Program was offered in its first iteration to a small number of early adopters as a way to test and refine the offering and ensure that it would deliver high value to both affiliates and the craft producers it served. By the end of 2012, the first three affiliates had joined the Mobile Canning Systems program, providing great feedback and ideas on the structure and content of the program. Based upon this learning, the full program was launched in January 2013. As of July 2015, there are 17 MCS affiliates, utilizing 25 canning lines, each independently owned working together to further the Mobile Canning Industry.
The strength and success of Mobile Canning Systems is directly attributed to the Affiliates of Mobile Canning Systems. Each affiliate has brought their own unique skills and experiences back into the group and we have seen the quality and buying power of Mobile Canning Systems affiliates grow, enabling all of us to provide a better, more efficient, cost effective service.