I wanted to learn more about my new friends who are developing the Can Van in San Francisco, and they agreed to answer a few of my questions. Here is the first of two parts:
Please tell me about how The Can Van began. Where did the idea come from?
The idea originated when Jenn Coyle learned from her father about the drawbacks of bottled beer in Alaska: bottles are too heavy to carry on small planes, and glass isn’t recycled in most of the state. Cross that with the mobile wine bottling services that serve small wineries in Northern California and the idea for a mobile canning service that helps small breweries was born. Jenn got together a team of friends, Lindsey Herrema, Kate Drane, Jake Blackshear, and Heath Cox, in the Presidio Graduate School to develop the business plan for this idea as the final project in their sustainable management MBA program.
What have been your biggest challenges for you so far?
Finding an elegant solution to labeling small batches of cans, locating affordable space in the Bay Area, and answering your sixth question!
What can you tell me about each of the five of you? What do you share in common, and what makes each of you unique?
We all love beer, ride bicycles, support local businesses, and promote sustainability. Jenn, Lindsey, and Heath make their own beer as homebrewers. Jenn and Lindsey both previously worked in Cleantech and are bringing their experience with startup technology companies to running The Can Van. Lindsey is the caretaker of Barley, AKA “CanDog”, our puppy mascot and the newest addition to The Can Van team. Jake is also an accomplished jazz musician, and Kate has successfully launched multiple businesses, making her an aspiring serial social entrepreneur.
What are the benefits of canning for craft breweries and for craft brew drinkers?
Breweries benefit because they get an easy path to market for putting their product in cans, with low risk and much lower upfront cost than other canning options. Craft beer drinkers benefit from being able to take their favorite craft beers more places in a convenient package. Both will benefit because with more outlets for their product, brewers can grow their business and produce more great beers for everyone to enjoy!