Local brewery moves to cans

Wolf Hills expansion

ABINGDON, Va. - Small micro-breweries making a local brand of beer are popping up all over the region as part of the 'make-locally, buy-locally' movement sweeping the country.

One of our local brewers will soon take that next step from making and selling just kegs of their product to putting it into cans for even wider distribution.

Brewer Drake Scott constantly checks Wolf Hills Brewing Company's huge vats. There are too many variables in making a good local beer to list.

The brewery has been making and selling their brand out of an old ice house for about four years now. "We have the tasting room, where about 50 percent of our sales are through. That does well, and other than that we've been sending out kegs between Knoxville and Richmond," Scott says.

They're brewing anywhere between 25 to 40 different beers, making it truly a craft brewer that can satisfy any beer lover's taste.

Now, the company has decided to make a bold move  -- they're going to can one of their products for distribution. "We're getting into cans basically to expand our market capability. Eventually [we want to go] outside of the restaurants and into grocery stores, and more specialty beer stores," Scott said.

Another small business is making all of this possible is Old Dominion, a mobile canning operation. "There's definitely a growing demand for smaller brewers that can't put down the capital investment right away to get the beers in cans," Scott says.

By the end of the week, a one-thousand gallon vat of Troopers Alley American Style Indian Pale Ale will be available at the brewery in cans. 10,000 cans will be on the first run. "We're pretty much full steam ahead on this. We're going to sell the cans here at the brewery at first, then see how it goes. Then [we'll] start working into distribution lines between Knoxville and Richmond," Scott said.

It's a bold move that will keep the craft beer local flavor that makes it popular.

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