Bevcraft invests in direct-to-can printing

The Bevcraft Group, which provides packaging solutions for the craft beverage industry, is to install a Tonejet Cyclone C4 direct-to-can digital printer – the first in the UK outside of Tonejet’s own facility.

From left, Darren Fenton, COO, and Ciarán Gorman, CFO, who both co-founded the Bevcraft Group.

The Cyclone will allow Bevcraft to offer a new and environmentally sustainable way to decorate cans for volumes of between 1 to 50,000 units rather than using labels or shrink sleeves, which can be difficult to recycle. 

Bevcraft was set up in 2016 in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath in Ireland, initially to provide an on-demand mobile contract canning service to the rapidly growing Irish craft beer sector. This service was one of the first of its kind in Europe and has helped many craft brewers switch to using cans without having to worry about capital, equipment, stocking and staffing factors. The advantage is that cans are both infinitely recyclable and easily transported, which has helped create new export opportunities for local craft beverage producers. The company handles over 50m cans annually and provides a range of services including mobile contract canning, can distribution, can decoration, testing, servicing, and training.

In 2019 Bevcraft opened a new warehouse and office facility in Merseyside in the UK. The company has also expanded into the European mainland with a distribution hub in Breda in the Netherlands. Bevcraft is now planning to invest over €5m into the UK over the next three years with a new facility in Peterborough, close to Tonejet’s base in Cambridgeshire, and which will house the new digital can printing service as well as a mobile canning fleet, distribution hub and service & maintenance depot. 

Ciarán Gorman, CFO of the Bevcraft Group, said: “This is the single most important investment to date for the Bevcraft Group and represents a major step for the business as we increasingly grow the business internationally. In Q1 2021, for the first time, the majority of group revenues have come from international markets. Although Brexit has been a challenge; ultimately the UK are our closest neighbour and a strategically important market.”

Darren Fenton, COO at Bevcraft comments, “Given the current climate, it might be considered a brave time to invest in new technology, but our objective is to support our partners as they work to return to normal trading conditions during the pandemic. In achieving that, the Cyclone will provide them with the flexibility of production to cost effectively get back-up and running, with smaller batches.”

The Cyclone uses an electrostatic drop on demand system with concentrated pigmented inks in an oil carrier liquid that can produce a very thin ink film with no raised edges that Tonejet says uses a tenth of the ink volume of UV inkjet printers. It prints CMYK at 600dpi greyscale and can handle text down to 3 point. 

Henry Reilly, Bevcraft’s commercial director, commented: “Our roots are in the craft beer sector where creativity, variety and sustainability have been so important to the growth story. This is a sector that is full of energy and passion and we really look forward to seeing our customers push the boundaries of what digital can printing can deliver. Over the years our mobile crews have completed thousands of canning runs and the one absolute constant is that there are quite literally no two craft producers the same – everyone has a story to tell and a different approach to doing so.”

The Tonejet Cyclone can printing system comprises all the equipment required to decorate necked beverage cans, including a depalletizer, a can inspection system, can cleaning and printing units, an over-varnish bake oven, a repalletizer and all associated can transports and conveyers. Blank cans can be decorated in any combination before they are palletized for filling or shipping.

Fenton concludes: “The Cyclone end-to-end system is a total game changer in terms of can decoration for the craft market. It will provide us with a cost effective, environmentally sustainable alternative for decorating small can batches from 1 to 50,000 units – still small quantities for the can industry.”

You can find more information on the craft canning business from bevcraft.ie and on the Cyclone digital can printer from tonejet.com.


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