Revolver Brewing's move to cans expected to boost summer sales

Revolver Brewing expects its move into cans will help carry the summer.

Fourteen weeks after launching its revamped core lineup in cans, the Granbury, Texas-based brewery continues to build momentum, up more than 20 percent year-to-date through May 27.

And while the early returns have co-founder Rhett Keisler and his team “optimistic and pretty excited,” the real test started last weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

“Historically, our volume suffered in the summer when people were at the beach, the golf course and the pool,” Keisler says. “Our glass bottles just didn’t play there. Cans really give us a package that people can turn to for those types of activities during the summer.”

Since debuting in late February, cans have grown to represent nearly a fifth of Revolver’s total volume, led by its flagship American ale Blood & Honey. That beer, by far the brewery’s largest, also is sold in six-packs and in 12-packs of 12-ounce bottles. Coming in second and third are two additions to the brewery’s year-round portfolio: its top-selling seasonal, Full-Tang IPA, and the newly released Long-Range Pils. Its pale ale, Sidewinder, also moved into cans.

Full-Tang IPA, a 7.2-percent alcohol-by-volume IPA brewed with tangerine peel, and Long-Range Pils, a 4.8-percent ABV German-style Pilsner, replaced three long-standing core beers and have outperformed them since they launched, up more than 44 percent, per MillerCoors data.

Even better: Revolver had expected the release of Blood & Honey in cans to cannibalize some of its bottle business, but that hasn’t happened, Keisler says. Volume of packaged Blood & Honey is up more than 40 percent year-to-date.

“We’re just starting to see what Full-Tang IPA and Long-Range Pils can be,” says Kristin Khail, a strategy analyst with MillerCoors craft and import division Tenth and Blake, which owns a majority stake of Revolver. The introduction of the sessionable Long-Range Pils, the robust early velocity of Full-Tang IPA and the move to cans “is driving volume and excitement around the brand.”

Revolver also moved into New Mexico earlier this year and has continued to expand distribution across its home state of Texas.

Keisler expects sales to pick up even more as summer weather arrives. “You’re supposed to make hay when the sun shines, and the sun is shining right now,” he says. “The next few months will be really telling for us."