Tin Roof now canning its beer

Maybe it’s only natural that a brewery called Tin Roof would gravitate toward canning its beer.

The Tin Roof Brewing Co. — Baton Rouge’s only micro-brewer — is canning its Perfect Tin Amber Ale for distribution in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and North Shore markets, the company announced.

Baton Rouge shoppers can expect to see Tin Roof beer on grocery shelves this week, said Charles Caldwell, one of Tin Roof’s founders and head brew master.

“For us, this just reaches a whole other level of customers,” Caldwell said Tuesday. “You go anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of your business is your retail package, which would be your cans. For us, you reach so many more people.”

Also, cans have the added benefit of being welcome at parades, the beach and tailgate parties — settings where bottled beer is strictly prohibited because of obvious problems regarding broken glass. The aluminum cans are lighter in weight, reducing transportation costs, and more easily recycled than glass.

Tin Roof hopes to triple its brewing capacity by the end of the year to meet supply needs, Caldwell noted. The company was founded in November and began supplying draft beer to some two-dozen Baton Rouge bars and restaurants. Its taps can be found in about 40 local establishments.

“For the most part, the draft markets are a really tough market,” Caldwell said. “There’s limited tap handles.”

For years, canning beer was the domain of mass-market breweries like Budweiser.

However, in the past 10 years, smaller-scale and cheaper canning systems have become available, making canning a viable option for small breweries, say those in the business.

“It used to be canning was kind of reserved for the big boys,” Caldwell said.

Tin Roof’s operation is capable of processing about 35 cans a minute, Caldwell noted, which comes to about 70 to 80 cases an hour.

The Abita Brewing Co. on the Northshore has also announced plans to begin canning its beer, with cans on store shelves in early 2012, according to a July news release by the company.

Tin Roof Brewing is still in negotiations with LSU to produce an LSU-themed beer.

“We’re waiting to hear back on the licensing,” Caldwell said.