The ameriCAN Canned Craft Beer Fest is a unique gathering of craft brew aficionados who celebrate the beverage’s aluminum cans as much as the beer itself.
The event – which takes place at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix on April 28 – will bring together a diverse lineup of over 100 local and national craft brewers who all have one thing in common — they serve their beer in aluminum. While the 2018 lineup was not finalized as of press time, it will feature local breweries Borderlands, Dragoon, Huss, Lumberyard, Mother Road, Mudshark, Sun Up and SanTan Brewing Company.
The point of the festival is “to showcase that there is amazing craft beer coming from a can,” SanTan sales and marketing representative Alejandro Fontes says. SanTan founded the festival, which is going on its eighth year.
In addition to the beer, the festival will feature a beer science garden and canning seminars to teach attendees the ins and outs of craft brewing. There will also be a “beer Olympic games” with events like giant beer pong.
In previous years, the festival took place in May to coincide with American Craft Beer Week. However, the organizers decided to move it up to April this year to beat the heat.
SanTan Founder and Brewmaster Anthony Canecchia created the festival as an ode to Colorado craft brewing staple Oskar Blues Brewery’s long-running Burning Can Festival, which has developed into a massive multi-day event that takes place in Lyons, Colorado, and Hendersonville, North Carolina.
When craft beer first began catching on in the U.S., cans were seen as a cheaper, low-quality alternative to bottles or draft beer by many consumers. However, the quality of cans has improved in the past decade, and Oskar Blues was one of the first craft breweries to take a “leap of faith” and put their beer in aluminum, Fontes says.
“When SanTan went into production, in terms of packaging, we immediately went to cans,” Fontes says.
Cans are no longer the red-headed stepchild of the craft brewing world, and aluminum’s popularity is growing in the industry for a multitude of reasons.
The first, and arguably the most important, reason is the balance between cost and quality. Canned beer is 30 percent cheaper to produce per liter, according to a study published in the journal Beverages.
“Cans keep beer fresher longer and keep the sun away from affecting quality and flavor,” says Jen Pruett, public relations and marketing director at HDE Agency. HDE partners with SanTan to put the festival on every year.
Guests will have the chance to view the best art that the craft brewers in attendance have to offer, and they will actually get to taste the beer, too.
“This is a chance to experience a lot of breweries that you normally wouldn’t have a chance to,” Fontes says. “Of all these breweries that come out, there is always a sprinkle of beers you can’t find in Arizona and also what is available on grocery store shelves.”
ameriCAN Canned Craft Beer Fest, Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 W. Culver Street, Phoenix, 602.276.2499, cannedcraftbeerfest.com, 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 28, $35 in advance, $45 at the door, 21 and over.
For more in-depth event information around the Valley, visit our attractions page.