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You see it at just about every Colorado liquor store and market these days: a selection of high-quality, craft beers and wines packaged in cans. And recent stories from CNBC, Forbes, the Telegraph, and countless other outlets simply underscore the trend. Canned booze is no longer a trendy fad—it’s here to stay.
There’s good reason for the can’s popularity. Aluminum is more environmentally friendly than glass, has a smaller carbon footprint, and is infinitely recyclable. “In terms of environmental stewardship, aluminum is the most recyclable packaging material in the world,” says Ben Parsons of the Infinite Monkey Theorem, a Denver-based urban winery that was an early adopter of the can trend. “In 60 days, it can be another can on the shelf.”
Cans also help businesses in other ways: “Cans are not as heavy as glass, so we have that simplicity of stacking…they’re not as demanding as kegs or glass bottles, which can break and be a safety issue,” says Ken Macias, general manager of Improper City, a bar/multi-use space in RiNo. Add in the fact that cans are easier to transport to outdoor activities, and it’s easy to see why they’ve won Coloradans over en masse.
Whatever your reason for being a can fan, here are four places where you embrace the craze.
This six-month-old, 20,000-square-foot space features an indoor coffee and cocktail bar, a lounge area, outdoor picnic tables, a lineup of weekly rotating food trucks, and its own Mobile Can Bar. “We want people to be outside, and the Mobile Can Bar was a solution. It serves our full can[ned beer] list on the patio,” Macias says. This year, Macias and his team are working on making the 12,000-square-foot patio zero-waste by composting and eliminating noise pollution.
Go For: Improper City’s Can Fest on April 13
More than 20 local breweries will enter two of their beers to compete for the “Best Tasting” and “Best Can Art” awards, which are based on guests’ votes. In between sampling brews, watch ten local artists compete in a live can art competition. Tickets are $25-$50, 1-5 p.m., 3201 Walnut St.
This year-old seasonal beer garden on the ground floor of the Moxy Hotel has a low-key vibe that will make you feel as though you were relaxing at home in your own backyard. Enjoy selections from the 14-can list, which features options from the likes of Telluride Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Company, and Stem Ciders. “We know that not everyone drinks canned beer,” says manager John Jeffries, “so we have drinks that come in can-themed glasses.” When the munchies set in, you can indulge in fried pickle spears or seasonal grilled sausages.
Go For: Cherry Creek Beer Garden Launch Party on April 12
Join in celebrating the beer garden’s grand re-opening. This year, the outdoor space is full service, so you can order canned wine or cocktails from the patio. The event promises live music by DJ 2AR, free food samples, and $5 cans from a featured list. Free, 4-7 p.m., 240 Josephine St.
The Infinite Monkey Theorem has been a name in Denver since 2008, and now it has three Colorado tap rooms—one in RiNo, one in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, and one in Fort Collins. All locations serve the winery’s signature canned white, red, and rosé wines, as well as dry-hopped Sauvignon Blanc and a pear cider, many of the grapes for which are grown in Colorado. Founder Ben Parson’s thinks that cans are central to IMT’s branding: “Cans fit our whole memorandum of who we are. The fact that Colorado is an outdoorsy state plays a factor—we wanted a product that was single-serve and on-the-go.”
Go For: Infinite Monkey Theorem’s Can Release Party on April 5
Enjoy three of IMT’s shiny new canned wines (including a bellini!) and snack on food from Farmer in the Hive food truck while you sip your single-serving vino. The RiNo location will also feature a silent disco. Free, 4-10 p.m., all Infinite Monkey Theorem tasting rooms
Molly’s Spirits (a liquor store in Lakeside with more 12,000 boozy offerings) and Bigsby’s Folly (a two-year-old urban winery in RiNo) are collaborating to take the canning fad to the next level. The two paired up to release 500 ml aluminum bottles of wine—a first in Colorado—this summer, which have the aesthetic of a wine bottle but the portable and shareable advantages of a can.