Yes, You Can!

Advice in the emerging age of to-go cocktails.

Illustration of three silver aluminum beverage cans increasing in size.
Whether you want to start small or go for broke with your canned cocktail program, check in here. / valeo5 ©

With the new-ish takeout alcohol container regulations, you might consider canning cocktails in house. McLain Hedges, co-owner of Door Prize and an Oktober canner, offers his reasons for going this route.

On sustainability…

Aluminum cans cost less than glass bottles and are easier to recycle.

On branding…

Cans offer the ideal canvas for strong and long-lasting messaging. “If you’re taking it to go, you still have a brand with you,” he says.

On the big picture…

Think about storage and the types of cocktails you’d like to can. Will they be carbonated or still? Citrus-forward or booze-forward? How do you want the customer to drink it—straight from the can, poured, or shaken over ice? Do you want to carbonate it or have guests add ginger beer, soda, or bubbles themselves?

On can size…

With cans ranging from five to 32 ounces, you can opt for multiple servings in a single can or go for a smaller size. Know your customers and make decisions according to their preferences. 

On carbonation…

Over-carbonation can overpower key flavors, and under-carbonation can leave drinks dull. Temperature is extremely important for achieving the correct level. According to Hedges, batching, carbonating, and canning cold is key to a quality canned cocktail.

On citrus…

Citrus needs to be clarified before canning if a cocktail is going to be stored. This can be done in multiple ways, such as using pectins or a centrifuge (which can be an additional investment). Carbonation can also affect how citrus tastes in canned cocktails.

On guidance…

“If someone spent years of their time on this, reach out to them,” he says. If you’re looking to start canning and need guidance, connect with Hedges on Instagram @thebigdoorprize

Don’t forget!

All to-go alcoholic beverages must be affixed with an adhesive sticker that accomplishes two things:

  • identifies the licensee selling the beverage
  • contains a warning statement, in a minimum 14 font size, stating: “WARNING: DO NOT OPEN OR REMOVE SEAL WHILE IN TRANSIT. Purchasers are subject to state and local laws and regulations prohibiting drinking or possessing open containers of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles, including section 42-4-1305, C.R.S.”

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