Food Engineering

Delaware microbrewery likes aluminum

March 1, 2010



Amber Sun Ale in a 22-oz. aluminum bottle delivers both image and functional advantages to 16
Mile Brewery. Source: Exal Corp.



Chalk up another craft brewery in the aluminum-container column: 16 Mile Brewing Co., a start-up brewery in Georgetown, DE, debuted its Old Court Ale and Amber Sun Ale in 22 oz. aluminum bottles in June. And while the sustainability of the firm’s business model remains to be seen, the beer’s container is garnering attention.

“We’re in our sixth month, and the jury is still out,” says cofounder Chad Campbell, speaking about both market acceptance of the bottle and the firm’s viability. “So far, so good.”

Aesthetics drove the choice of an aluminum bottle over an aluminum can, and the much higher recycled-content rate for aluminum over glass was another factor. But reduced shipping costs, rapid chilling and complete protection against ultraviolet light were practical advantages that appealed to Campbell and his partner, Brett McCrea, a former intelligence analyst in the Department of Defense.

The bottles are supplied by Youngstown, OH-based Exal Corp., a manufacturer of extruded aluminum packaging. Exal has a filling line at one of its plants, according to Ed Martin, business development manager, but 16 Mile does its own bottling. “They essentially have a glass production line,” says Martin. “Glass is excluded from a lot of events, and putting their beer in an aluminum bottle enhances the distribution possibilities.”

The brewery’s beer also is distributed in kegs and growlers. Unlike most microbreweries, no pub for on-premise consumption is available. 


For more information:
Ed Martin, Exal Corp., 203-852-1962, ed.martin@exal.com.