Bang Brewing has big plans for their little 1,300-square-foot St. Paul brewery in 2016. Namely, bottling and selling beer at retail locations.
The decision to package for retail sales came after a successful test run of Bang’s fresh hop beer in 750 mL bottles last year. With production steadily increasing the past two years, Jay and Sandy Boss Febbo determined they were ready to release each of Bang’s regular beers in 750 mL bottles starting in the first quarter of 2016. Their goal is to set up at least one retail sale location in each of St. Paul’s wards.
The company made its first hire to help manage the new packaging line, and plan to add more taproom staff when they open a third evening of operations during the week later this year.
Co-founder Sandy Boss Febbo confirmed in an e-mail that after doing research on fillers that would work in their limited space, the brewery recently purchased a new 750 mL bottle filler efficient enough to make packaging for retail feasible.
Our Bin New Year gift arrived early! Bottles heading to retail as soon as we read the manual and figure this out… pic.twitter.com/Jg1UfjThPd
— Bang Brewing (@bangbrewing) December 16, 2015
“We also did a ton of research on packaging (materials, environmental impact),” wrote Boss Febbo. The brewery, constructed from a prefabricated grain bin and reclaimed wood, holds a minimalist philosophy that extends from its design to the beer they make and how they make them. “Ultimately, we determined that reusable bottles would be our best shot at minimizing material use.”
Admittedly, the decision to go with a universal bottle design presents a two-fold challenge for Bang Brewing’s owners: 1) Building brand recognition for the universal bottles on the retail shelf; and 2) Getting people in the habit of returning empty bottles to drop-off locations.
Bang’s custom labels designed by Studio On Fire, a letterpress and printing company in Minneapolis, that denote the style of beer in the bottle will help build brand recognition. As for the second challenge, it’s unclear if people will latch onto the recycling concept. But not to be deterred by uncertainty, Bang is working with their first retailer, Thomas Liquors, to set up the return system.
“As awesome as people are with growler deposits and returns, we’re hoping we can bring that back to bottles,” said Boss Febbo. “We’re game to try!”
Bang Brewing is located at 2320 Capp Road, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and is open Fridays from 4–10pm, and Saturdays from 2–8pm. Follow Bang Brewing on twitter @bangbrewing.