MUSKEGON, MICH. - Two Michigan Tech graduates have developed a new way for breweries to get their beer out the door in cans.
Dennis Grumm and Joshua VanDenHeuvel quit their jobs as mechanical engineers to launch their own company, Oktober LLC. The company's first product is the MK16 can seamer.
"Built the first prototype last December, " Grumm said.
The product followed an unsuccessful extensive search to find a table top can seamer for sale online.
The MK16 can seamer is primarily for small microbreweries. It offers a to-go option that's smaller and lighter than the glass growlers many microbreweries currently offer customers.
"What you get out of the machine is a can just like any other can you would buy at the store," Grumm said.
This unit sells on the company's website for $1,500.
"Otherwise canning lines are $100,000," Grumm said.
A prototype of the MK16 was tested in a Grand Haven brewery for a year. Production models started shipping to customers in September
"We are getting a lot of interest from the UK and from Norway actually," said VanDenHeuvel.
And it's made from numerous parts other manufactures in Holland and Jenison make.
Oktober LLC sells on average one MK16 per week, and the owners only recently started promoting the unit.
"All organic growth on line," VanDenHeuvel said.
The inventors are tapping into the exploding craft beverage market in the U.S.
"5,000 breweries and growing and 1.2 million homebrewers," VanDenHeuvel said.
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