Food and beverage packaging supplier Crown Holdings Inc. plans to construct a new beverage can plant in Nichols, NY in order to meet increased demand for specialty can sizes—specifically 16-ounce cans currently in short supply given the rise of the craft beer industry.
“We are increasing our capacity for manufacturing specialty cans at our customers’ request to allow them to further differentiate their products and enhance their business,” says Djalma Novaes, president of Crown’s Americas division. “The Nichols plant will give Crown a stronger position in the specialty market and also allow us to rebalance our 12-ounce can portfolio while reducing our overall system costs, including freight.”
The new plant will be able to produce two-piece aluminum cans in a range of sizes. The facility, which is scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2017, is also expected to bring more than 160 new jobs to the region.
“We are seeing real growth in demand for specialty can sizes among brands in the United States,” says Janice Dunphy, vice president sales & marketing, for Crown Beverage Packaging North America. “They are proving to be the ideal format for a broad range of beverage categories, including soft drinks, beer, ready-to-drink tea, coffee, spirits, sparkling water, wine, juice, cider and nutritional beverages.”
The supply of cans for craft breweries has tightened in recent months as aluminum cans become gradually become the preferred method to package beer. Craft brewers took to the 16-ounce cans in particular as a way of differentiating their products from major brewers.
According to a recent article in Fortune, Crown—a popular choice for craft brewers over other major players Ball and Rexam—increased its minimum can order to a full truckload, as many as 200,000 cans, up from a half-truckload. Crown’s Thomas Fischer, vice president of investor relations and corporate affairs, told the publication that the company’s craft beer business in the past few years has tripled.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Crown currently operates fifteen beverage can plants in North America, manufacturing aluminum cans ranging in size from 7.5-ounce to 16-ounce, as well as a variety of beverage can ends. As of December 2014, the company operated 149 plants located in 40 countries, employing 23,024 people.