Case Study Overview
Irish Craft Canning was founded by Ciarán Gorman and Darren Fenton to provide mobile contract canning services for craft drink producers in Ireland. The production aims were ...
- Compact & mobile canning lines
- Solid & reliable equipment
- Technical support/backup within the British Isles
Since 2016 Vigo have supplied Irish Craft Canning with a total of 12 canning lines to meet the demand for their services. They now operate in 5 European countries.
Irish Craft Canning was set up in 2016 by Ciarán Gorman and Darren Fenton to provide mobile contract canning services for craft drink producers in Ireland who did not have the resources to can in-house.
Darren's interest in canning was sparked in Japan, where he lived at the time. He was curious about how canned beer imports from multiple small producers in the US could be so readily available in Japan. Through further research, Darren and Ciarán discovered a network of mobile canning operators and branding companies in the US and believed that the same model could work in Europe. They particularly wanted to do something for their hometown of Mullingar which, being close to Dublin, struggled to compete for investment opportunities from overseas and so they set about adapting a contract canning model in Mullingar to suit their local market.
We supplied Darren and Ciarán with their first American Beer Equipment canning line in 2016 - the Craft Can 15. To date, we have supplied Irish Craft Canning with a total of 12 canning lines to enable them to expand their service offering as contract canners.
Watch Irish Craft Can's video here from 2018, where they explain why they chose the American Beer Equipment and Vigo collaboration for their canning lines.
Demand for mobile canning grew alongside their reputation. In the last 5 years the full time specialist canning crew at Irish Craft Canning have filled over 10 million cans and carried out over 2,000 mobile canning runs. They provide cans with the client's choice of branding and their service is backed up by rigorous internal audit and testing regimes. Irish Craft Can's business model also includes minimal wastage, low DO counts, short lead times, flexible volumes, and they now provide services for other beverages including mixed spirits, coffees, seltzers and teas.
Irish Craft Canning is now part of the Bevcraft Goup and operates in 5 European countries, including the UK and Netherlands. In 2021 Bevcraft Group became overall winners of the National Enterprise Awards and they are marking this achievement by investing in the first Cylone digital can printing system to be supplied within Europe. The system will be sited at their Peterborough site and will enable them to operate can printing without the minimum order constraints that apply to traditionally printed cans, while minimising environmental impact when compared to plastic can sleeves - cans printed using the Cyclone system remain 100% recyclable.
We asked Ciarán the following questions ...
On a business and personal level, what impressed you most when you visited ABE's factory in Nebraska?
'We were struck by the genuine enthusiasm for what they do that existed across the entire ABE team. Whether it was the technicians assembling machines in the factory or the technical sales team explaining future product developments; the entire team believe in producing solid, reliable equipment that meets the needs of the craft beer market.'
Why was it important to you to have supplier based in the UK and why was Vigo a good fit for you?
'Our mobile crews will often have our lines operating from dawn to dusk to ‘get the job done’ as efficiently as possible for our customers; so the availability of technical support from two time zones is hugely helpful. This is further aided by having quick access to parts in the UK.'
What do you think of the service we have given to date?
'Vigo have been a pleasure to work with over the years and are very professional.'
What does it mean to you to be overall winner of the National Enterprise Awards?
'It was great – for us it really was a validation of what everyone in the craft beverage sector represents – there has been a huge effort over the last decade to make the world a more interesting place by providing much greater consumer choice, very high quality standards and production rooted in local communities doing things in a sustainable and interesting way.'
How has your business fared throughout the pandemic?
'Like all businesses, the pandemic has created new working procedures and complicated the planning cycle; however thankfully things have held up well and generally the industry has worked very hard to continue to produce new products, formats and routes to market to offset the impact of hospitality / on-trade sales weakening.'
What are your business aspirations for the next 2 years?
'We want to continue to expand our service offering and geographical coverage so that we offer an even more comprehensive, sustainable and competitive set of solutions for beverage producers across both the UK & EU. From direct to can digital print / decoration, through to mobile filling on our ABE/Vigo lines; our job is to give breweries and beverage producers the choice and flexibility to pick whatever they want from our offerings – from all-inclusive service through to just the can and end.'