Big deal for Colonial Small Ale

Ross Lewis

The everyday little things have forced WA’s Colonial Brewing Company to think big.

Firstly they wanted to turn their Small Ale into something great. It had to be packaged so it could reach more. A suitable label had to be devised. And it had to come in a can.

Then a picture on the internet increased the significance of the exercise – and the size of a key component of the can.

Colonial’s Small Ale will come in a vessel with a 360-degree removable lid. That is big news for the Australian beer market.

The top operates similar to a tuna tin in that the ring pull just doesn’t open a small hole but helps lift the entire roof off the brew.

Colonial brewing manager Richard Moroney said that while packaging their first can release, the delighful Kolsch Draught, they became aware of a web picture displaying the 360-degree lid, first released in the US by Sly Fox.

“We saw the lid and said we’ve got to be in that idea,” Moroney said. “We thought it was a game changer.

“They key to drinking a good beer is the smell and taste and the bigger hole allows that to happen. No need to pour into a glass. So that helps the beer’s utility.

“This is the best decision for this beer. This is not a gimmick. This probably won’t suit some beers. But when we saw it we knew it was right for this beer.”

“Cans are a much better container for beer. All those hop aromas are better preserved in a can. So when you crack it you will get the 360 experience and enjoy it as close as you can to drinking it out of our 4000-litre tanks.”

The cans had to be brought in from the US but they also had to be adorned before arrival.

The larger graphics on cans as opposed to bottles is a great benefit in terms of promotion but they can't be added to the aluminium after filling.

Colonial’s philosophy about Small Ale is that at 3.5 per cent alcohol it is a brew that can be savoured at any time.

"We’re not going to make you better looking at the bar or attract beautiful people around a sunset setting," Moroney said.

“Small Ale is about a whole bunch of small moments that make up your life. It is that collection of stories that make us. And we like to think Small Ale fits in with your lifestyle."

And that is reflected on the cover. It is almost your life flashing before your eyes.

“You can take it with you. You can take this places where you can enjoy more of those times,” added Moroney

Some associated with Colonial have even tried to enjoy it in space.

A special booty, including a can of Small Ale, was sent towards the heavens earlier this week in an exercise that didn’t have the outcome the team had hoped.

“We got about to about 35km up and we lost contact with the payload. The GPS trackers bleated out a point near Margaret River but it has gone now," Moroney said.

“We had a couple of days to feel sad but we’re now going to do what we do best and offer anyone 10 cartons of beer if they can find it. It has got some yeast in there as well as someone’s GoPro.”

That’s a small step for Ale but a big step for one man.