Get to know Grand Rapids (and the world)

Andrew McLean, Michigan Mobile Canning

Beer has practically taken over the lives of many people in the West Michigan area.

At least some of them are realizing the profits lie elsewhere in the industry, from craft malters such as Erik May to documentary makers like Kevin Romeo to Andrew McLean.

McLean is set to launch Michigan Mobile Canning in June, and it will help give small breweries a chance to distribute when they otherwise might not.

Canning and bottling lines have huge investment costs, and startup and small breweries often can’t afford them. So enter Michigan Mobile Canning, a canning system transportable by box truck.

McLean had never really wanted to start a business, and wanted to be involved with beer. But he didn’t want to be like everyone else and start a brewery.

It took a while, because he didn’t think the idea would work out.

“I tried to talk myself out of it,” he said.

Like many people who chat with brewery industry people regularly, McLean soon realized the secret to the industry: it’s super laid back.

McLean currently works in a deadline driving corporate software company. Now he sits at his desk, wondering where his passion has gone.

“Going back to the day job is hard,” he said. “I need to be out talking to be. Not stuck at a desk, staring at a computer all day.”

The mobile canning system is pretty amazing, and it will put breweries out to the world much quicker than anyone could anticipate.

“If people haven’t been paying attention and don’t know about us, they’ll be in for quite a shock,” McLean said of tiny breweries beginning to can.

He seemed a little surprised that without much work, the canning line has garnered so much attention. There has long been a stigma in craft beer against cans, but that is disappearing quickly.

And for good reason; cans are actually generally better for the beer, environment and travel.

And several Michigan breweries can, from recently announced Founders and Bells, to Arcadia and Atwater.

It’s nice to see the branching out and supporting infrastructure and side businesses popping up off the breweries. It will help make the industry self-sustaining in the state and more of the businesses likely will stay around with the help of one another.

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