MISSOULA — Imagine months of planning, preparation, hard work -- and the excitement of starting a business -- and then a pandemic hits right when you’re about to open.
That's what Cranky Sam Brewing faced in the spring of 2020. Yet, they opened their downtown Missoula business anyway but Head Brewer Timmy Evon says it was a difficult time.
“I want things to turn over, and continue tasting nice, and continue playing with little nuances of flavor, and getting things to their perfect point, so that was very frustrating," Evon told MTN News.
Eleven months later -- for this very small brewery -- it’s finally canning time.
“It’s a very manual process for us, I mean as you can see, we’re a tiny brewery so not tons of room, just cranking it. It’s totally a labor of love," Evon explained.
From beginning to end, it truly is a hands-on process, and Evon says that because it’s hand-canned, they have to pay attention to every detail.
“It’s paramount for us to be paying attention to our oxygen pickup, capping on foam, the weights of the cans, the cleanliness of the cans, and all of that falls on us versus a production line," he said.
So, for the third time since they opened -- all within the last three weeks -- Cranky Sam is canning beer and sending it out to local distributors.
Evon says the long wait to get to this point makes reaching it even sweeter.
“Personally, I’m psyched about how everything turned out," he explained. "I love the can design and the color scheme, you know for me as the brewer, I’m most concerned about the quality of the beer going into these cans and I feel pretty great about it.”
For Evon and his team, things have gone from very slow to very busy almost overnight -- and while he says they’ve got their hands full at the moment -- they are looking forward to watching their production grow.
He says the buzz around town has been good so far, “Yeah, people are really excited about it. I’ve gotten a few texts from friends that didn’t know it was happening and we're very excited to see the cans on display.”
Evon says they’ve canned and distributed about 200 cases since early April, and they’ll continue full steam ahead in the weeks and months to come.