WATERLOO — It just got a lot easier for SingleSpeed Brewing Co. fans to enjoy their favorite beers.
The craft brewery installed a canning line at its downtown Waterloo location last month and began rolling out 12-ounce containers of its popular Tricyle, Victory Dance and Tip the Cow offerings across the state.
It’s a huge step for SingleSpeed to boost its distribution ability beyond the walls of its Waterloo and Cedar Falls taprooms or bars and restaurants where the beer was available only on draft.
Those wanting to take SingleSpeed beer home to their refrigerators or camping previously had to rely on growlers, which are 64-ounce glass jugs filled at the taprooms.
“Which is great locally, but think about it as if you are from Des Moines and are craving a Tip the Cow,” said SingleSpeed founder Dave Morgan. “The liquid is good, but a two-hour drive for it seems excessive, even to us.
“Now you can just bike down to your nearest Hy-Vee or other preferred place of purchase and grab a six-pack,” he added.
The move is another leap forward for SingleSpeed, which continues to grow in what has become an increasingly crowded craft beer industry.
National Brewers Association figures indicate there were 27 craft breweries in Iowa in 2011, the year before SingleSpeed launched its three-barrel nano-brewery on Main Street in Cedar Falls. There are an estimated 80-plus breweries in the state today.
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SingleSpeed opened a new 20-barrel brewhouse, taproom and restaurant following a $6 million historic renovation of the downtown Waterloo Wonder Bread building. The project, completed in April 2017, allowed the business to begin distributing kegs.
“The space was built out with the intention of adding a canning line someday, so a good portion of the work was already out of the way when we started moving forward with the plan this February,” Morgan said.
SingleSpeed purchased a Cask Brewing Systems canning line from Canada then had Ball Corp. print the cans after getting design approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
During the week of June 15, SingleSpeed scattered approximately 2,700 cases of beer throughout its Iowa distribution channels.
Craft breweries have increasingly been embracing cans, containers once considered uncool due to their association with the major corporate breweries. Oskar Blues bucked the craft bottle trend when it began canning Dale’s Pale Ale in 2002, and others soon followed.
Morgan said he picked SingleSpeed’s top-selling draft beers — Tricycle, Victory Dance and Tip the Cow — for the initial can runs. But SingleSpeed also plans to have limited release cans from its “Shift Into Sour” series.
That included an output of Ring Around the Gose, after the sour beer medaled at the World Beer Cup in Nashville earlier this year.
“We are awfully excited to be able to share that beer in an additional package format … even if it is for just a week or two,” Morgan said.
In other SingleSpeed news, the brewery and Iowa Brewers Guild will be holding its first annual “Feelin’ Sour?: A Sour Beer & Cider Festival” on July 14 at the RiverLoop Expo Plaza in downtown Waterloo.
More than 30 brewers are expected to be on hand with selections of sour ales and other fermented beverages. Information and tickets are available through SingleSpeed’s website.