Food & Drink 1st canned beers roll off the line at Goat Island Brewing | CullmanSense

Food & Drink

1st canned beers roll off the line at Goat Island Brewing

“Yes, we can!” is the marketing slogan for the new canned Goat Island beer

John Richter and daughter Lisa Richter Mullaney celebrate a new era for their family’s beer recipe. / W.C. Mann

CULLMAN - When William Frederick Richter’s original late 1800’s Richter’s Saloon beer recipe was discovered in a downtown Cullman attic and turned over to the crew at Goat Island Brewing, a true Cullman classic was given new life.  By 2016, Richter’s Pilsner had become Goat Island’s flagship flavor when it won a bronze medal in the Alabama Craft Beer Championship.  On Thursday morning, the brew passed another milestone as it became Goat Island’s first beer to be canned.

Iron Heart Mobile Canning brought its equipment and personnel to the Cullman brewery, and set up shop right on the brew floor to fill cans with fresh Richter’s Pilsner straight from the vat.  

Goat Island President/CEO Mike Mullaney explained, “This is the first time we’ve ever canned beer, and we’re canning the Richter’s Pilsner.  Iron Heart Mobile Canning have come in with their mobile canning unit.  We’ve got an assembly operation going; a lot of our friends of the brewery are donating their time today, just coming in and having fun helping us.”

The portable canning line unloaded empty and topless cans from pallets, lined them up and gave them a last-minute cleaning inside before they were filled.  The apparatus then attached and sealed the lids as the cans made their way down to the packaging table.  There, Goat Island staff and volunteers loaded them in cardboard cases, attached six-pack connectors and stacked the trays on pallets.

Each case held 24 cans, and each pallet held 100 cases.  Pallets well taller than anyone in the building were lined up one behind the other, as the operation produced more than 19,000 cans.

“We have distributors coming today,” said Mullaney, “to pretty much buy at least 70 percent of these and take them off our hands.  They’re not going to stick around too long; they’re going to be distributed throughout the whole state of Alabama.”

Taking it all in

Mullaney doesn’t just have a professional interest in the commercial success of the cans leaving his brewery.  For him, it’s also a family affair; his wife is a direct descendant of William Frederick Richter.  Lisa Richter Mullaney was present for the canning with her father John Richter.

“It’s exciting,” she said later.  “I don’t know how to describe it; it’s just exciting!”

“This is a milestone for us,” said Mike Mullaney.  “I think this may bring us to the next level.  People in the business tell us it’s a big thing to start canning.  We’re going to be in places where we haven’t been before, like grocery stores and places that don’t serve draft beer.  This is something we’ve been looking (at) for a long time.”

Goat Island Brewing hopes to hold another canning day in about two months, then featuring its Sipsey River Red brew.  And as it extends its reach further into the wholesale market, the company holds fast to its hometown operation, with expanded hours at its Tap Room located at 1646-A John H. Cooper Dr. SE in Cullman.  It is now open 2-10 p.m. every day except Sunday, when the business is closed.

Mike Mullaney is one of the four owners of Goat Island.  Mullaney and partners Brad Glenn (Tap Room manager), John Dean (marketing) and Gery Teichmiller (brewmaster) created the company after success with a one-barrel home brewery as the Blue Moose Brew Crew at the former Blue Moose Cafe and Brew Pub in 2013.

Copyright 2017 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

  • W.C. Mann
  • W.C. Mann
    Mike Mullaney watches as another pallet is prepared for shipment
  • W.C. Mann