North Coast Brewing Co. is starting to can its Scrimshaw Pilsner beer

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North Coast Brewing Co. on Thursday announced it will release its Scrimshaw Pilsner beer in a can — making the Fort Bragg company the last of the major craft brewers in the region to move into aluminum cans.

The 12-ounce cans of European-style Pilsner beer will be available in recyclable 12-pack boxes throughout the state.

Although North Coast sells its beers in bottles or on tap in 48 states with an annual production of around 65,000 barrels, the cans initially only will be available for purchase in California.

“As an independent brewery, we’re looking toward the future of our industry and meeting the changing needs of craft beer fans, while always holding true to our longtime brewing traditions,” said Jeffrey Ottoboni, who took over last month as CEO of North Coast.

Ottoboni came from the wine industry and said he’s heard from many fans inquiring when North Coast — which was founded in 1988 and became a pioneer of the U.S. craft beer sector by offering a wide range of award-winning beers — would add cans.

Most local craft breweries have made the move to distributing their beers in aluminum cans, become they have become more popular with millennial drinkers and other consumers who value the portability of cans to take on hikes, to the beach or to myriad events.

Bart Watson, the chief economist for the Brewers Association, the trade group that represents independent breweries, predicted last month cans will outsell bottles nationwide in 2020 in the craft beer sector.

Among the region’s major craft brewers, Russian River Brewing Co. of Windsor introduced its first cans in November with its Mind Circus hazy India pale ale. And last week it began canning Row 2 Hill 56 pale ale. Russian River used a mobile canning line to package those beers.

North Coast Brewing’s production plant off Highway 1 in Mendocino County has little space to add a canning line, Ottoboni said. Therefore, Scrimshaw beer is being canned and packaged at Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. in San Jose.

As a Type B corporation, certified as meeting high standards for its environmental commitment, treatment of workers, business governance and relationship with the local community, North Coast is avoiding using any plastic in the packaging of its Scrimshaw cans.

Ottoboni on Thursday wouldn’t rule out canning some of North Coast’s other popular beers, but wanted to first focus on ramping up Scrimshaw can distribution.

“We’re looking at a number of things,” said the leader of the brewing company ranked as the 46th-largest craft brewery in the country in 2018, according to the Brewers Association.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or On Twitter @BillSwindell.

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