Yes, We CAN!

Canned craft beer festival is 100 percent recyclable fun

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This Fourth of July, the Yes We, CAN! Canned Craft Beer Festival returns, and it’s expected to be much bigger and even better than last year.

This celebration of community, country and delicious craft beer—all for a great cause—will feature beer from 50 craft breweries, music from bluegrass/Americana-stomp bands Polecat and Wild Rabbit, live performances from the Bellingham Circus Guild, games for the kids, local food trucks, and one of the best views in town of the fireworks show.

“Yes, We CAN! Canned Craft Beer Festival is a family-friendly event focused on changing consumer perception of canned beer,” says Hannah Coughlin, Manager of Communications and Development for RE Sources and organizer of Yes, We CAN! “Aluminum cans contain a higher percentage of recycled materials, require less energy to recycle and less fuel to transport, and they are  infinitely  recyclable.  We want shoppers to think more carefully about the source and destination of the packaging their goods come in. And we want to have fun while doing it!” 

In 2002, Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colo., canned Dale’s Pale Ale, and ever since then, canned craft beer has surged across the country.

According to, which provides the web’s only database of all craft beers currently in cans, there are now more than 500 breweries packaging nearly 2,000 different beers in cans.

As canned craft beer has become more widely adopted throughout the nation, the Pacific Northwest has been a bit behind the curve, but it’s making up for lost time. In just a few years, the number of breweries in Washington that package in cans has grown from just a handful to now more than 20. And that growth shows no signs of slowing.

Three breweries in Bellingham package some of their beer in cans. Boundary Bay Brewery has canned some of its specialty beers, including Ski to Sea ESB and Traverse Red IPA. Aslan Brewing began canning its Batch 15 IPA last month, with more beers to come. And Kulshan Brewing, which just opened a second brewery in Bellingham with its own canning line, has been canning Bastard Kat IPA for some time now. Recently, it released Full 90 Session Ale in cans, and it plans to can more of its beers in the future.

“When it comes to packaging, we see canning as the superior, more sustainable option,” says Jack Lamb, CEO/Owner of Aslan Brewing Co. “Cans keep beer fresher, they don’t break, they chill faster, they’re easier to pack in and out of the outdoors, and they’re friendlier for the environment.”

David Vitt, owner/founder of Kulshan Brewing Co. in Bellingham, agrees. “The benefits of cans far outweigh those of glass bottles,” he says. “In addition to preventing light penetration, which can degrade the quality of the product, canning is a more sustainable and environmentally friendly practice. The lighter weight reduces fuel in freight transit, and aluminum cans require significantly less energy to recycle.”

Since 1972, aluminum cans have gotten 38 percent lighter. Today, an empty 12-ounce bottle weighs about 7 ounces, whereas an empty 12-ounce aluminum can only weighs about a half ounce.

According to a recent study released by the Aluminum Association titled, “The Aluminum Can Advantage: Key Sustainability Indicators 2015,” making cans from recycled aluminum uses 92 percent less energy than making cans from new aluminum.

“Environmentally, canned beer is the best option—from beginning to end,”  Coughlin says. “This festival is about crushing the can stigma in this region and raising funds for RE Sources’ conservation efforts.” 

RE Sources helped to start curbside recycling in Whatcom County decades ago, and it’s constantly working on new ways to conserve more, reuse more and recycle more. This event will feature some of the RE Store’s innovative solutions to the problem of excessive waste. 

“As breweries continue to discover the economic benefits and product integrity that aluminum cans offer, we want to see this smart packaging choice rewarded by consumers,” Coughlin says. “And we want to see breweries standing tall and proudly announcing, ‘Yes, We CAN!’”

Yes, We CAN! tickets are only $20 in advance ($25 at the door), and admission includes 3 drink tickets. Kids 14 and under get in free. Buy tickets online at or in person at Community Food Co-ops, Kulshan Brewery, Elizabeth Station, Aslan Brewery or The RE Store. For more information, visit All proceeds benefit RE Sources for Sustainable Communities. Yes, We CAN! is sponsored by Alcoa, RDS, 92.9 KISM Classic Rock, Puget Sound Benefits, The Adam Vwich Agency, Ball Corp, Community Food Co-op, Nuu-muu, Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham Tap Trail, Aslan Brewing, Kulshan Brewing, Backcountry Essentials, Johnson Team Real Estate, Rice Insurance, NW Recycling, Muds to Suds, and Elizabeth Station.

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