Business

Lion Bridge begins canning

Four beers soon will be on grocery store shelves

Quinton McClain, brewmaster and co-founder of Lion Bridge Brewing Company, shovels out barley that was used in the brewing process for a Belgian golden ale in the brewery in January 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Quinton McClain, brewmaster and co-founder of Lion Bridge Brewing Company, shovels out barley that was used in the brewing process for a Belgian golden ale in the brewery in January 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Fans of Lion Bridge Brewing Company will be able to find the Cedar Rapids brewery’s beers on grocery store shelves beginning next week.

The Czech Village brewery, founded in 2014 at 59 16th Ave. SW, has started canning its beers for the first time.

It is working with distributor Fleck Sales to get the cans on shelves of grocery and liquor stores around southeast Iowa.

“We felt we could take the next step and do it in a way where we can stay true to the quality expectations for our beer,” brewery co-owner Quinton McClain said. “If you do it poorly or you’re not ready to do it, you’re putting out inferior beers, and that’s not what we wanted to do.”

To prepare, the company purchased canning equipment and added two new brewery employees earlier this year, allowing it to double its beer production. It also brought on a new account manager to focus on retail stores.

“It was a big investment in personnel and equipment,” McClain said. “We’re brewing and canning our beer on site.

“They say from grain to glass — now it’s more like from grain to can.”

He said fall is a particularly busy time for breweries, with things like football season and Oktoberfest driving sales.

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“It’s a good time to launch our cans and get them in more people’s hands,” he said.

Lion Bridge plans to can four beers — three year-round, plus one rotating beer. It is launching with English mild beer Compensation, India pale ale Yard Sale, golden ale Bridge Beer and a limited release India pale ale, Centaurus.

Iowa City-based Big Grove began putting its canned beer on store shelves in May.

l Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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