Beverage distributor to offer digital can printing

Craft Beverage Warehouse, a Milwaukee-based distributor of beverage packaging materials to the craft market, is making additional investments in digital can printing.

The multimillion-dollar project will bring digital print-to-aluminum can technology to the region’s craft beverage packaging marketplace.

Kyle Stephens, Co-founder of CBW, describes the investment as: “The next step to driving sustainability in the beverage packaging space.

“As more retailers mandate sustainably superior aluminium cans for beverage products and aluminium can manufacturers raise minimum order quantities to maintain economies of scale, new beverage companies and existing small to mid-sized craft producers need creative, endlessly-recyclable packaging options.”

Currently, beverage can manufacturers require a minimum order quantity (MOQ) of 250,000 cans, with some recently announcing increased MOQs of up to 1,000,000 cans.

Stephens says” “There are many reasons craft producers are unable to reach manufacturers’ required MOQs, ranging from total dollar amount of the investment to a simple lack of storage space. Our goal is to aggressively decrease MOQs and make relatively on-demand printed cans more accessible for the small producers that have taken this industry by storm the last 15-20 years.

“The vast majority of new beverage launches today utilise the superior performance and increased sustainability of aluminum cans over plastic and glass bottles. By replacing pressure-sensitive labels and plastic shrink sleeved cans, which reduce the recyclability and value of the aluminum, our ability to print-to-aluminum cans will help preserve the full recyclability of the cans.”

The investment has been funded by an equity round and debt financing. The equity round, led by digital and screen-printing leader Redwall, LLC’s (Oak Creek, WI) owner Jeff Meilander, puts CBW in a position to not only make this investment, but also allows for future growth.

“Throughout the 20-plus years that I have been in the printing industry, many new technologies have developed and thrived, perhaps the most influential being that of digital printing. Recent digital printing capabilities have made impressive advancements, allowing for decoration on a variety of items, including aluminum cans.

“This new opportunity unlocks a multitude of possibilities, from custom runs to quick turnaround times and previously impossible to achieve detail, digital offers a new option to the craft beverage industry that just makes sense. I’m thrilled that I was asked to be involved with CBW and am looking forward to making a serious impression on the industry. Also, I can safely say that the equipment we are installing is bad ass! Neil Staeck at Educators Credit Union is supporting CBW on the banking side.

“To accommodate this project, CBW has doubled its footprint at the Century City 1 building from 9,000 to 18,000 square feet. We plan to engage existing and potential customers near the end of Q1 2022 to build our sales pipeline and begin manufacturing in Q2. Our management team and investors are excited to bring additional investment and jobs to the Century City Business Park. The company expects to hire 5-10 employees in a variety of positions over the next 12 months.”

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