Pizza Port is already having themselves a heck of a time in 2014. While visitors to their Bressi Ranch location have seen their canning line working from the bar/restaurant area, it wasn’t until the second week of January when the cans made their debut in all five of Pizza Port’s restaurants. If January’s second week was big, the third week was absolutely huge as they kicked off retail sales of their cans with events at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, and Brothers Provisions in Rancho Bernardo.
Pizza Port and Stone have a special relationship. Pizza Port actually purchased the very first keg of Stone Pale Ale in 1996, and they’ve been working together ever since. “Working together with Stone has been awesome, and we’ve enjoyed every minute,” said Gina Marsaglia, who co-founded Pizza Port in 1987 with her brother Vince. “We truly feel a special bond, and have literally grown up together as big kids.”
While there weren’t any cans to be seen at Stone, the launch party featured all three of Pizza Port’s production beers (Swami’s IPA, Ponto Sessionable IPA and Chronic Ale) on tap. As a symbol of the partnership between Stone and Pizza Port, Vince Marsaglia whipped up a batch of his famous Arrogant Bastard Ale onion rings. Some may call the circle of the onion ring representative of the eternal cooperation between the two craft beer mavens. Others might just call them delicious.
If the event at Stone wasn’t enough of a launch party for Pizza Port’s cans, a total tap takeover at Brothers Provisions finished the week off nicely. The Rancho Bernardo market even created a special “Surf & Turf” flatbread with a lobster bisque sauce topped with sausage and shrimp. Unlike the Stone event, there were cans of Pizza Port beer everywhere, and available for purchase.
Speaking of the cans, a visit to Pizza Port in Bressi Ranch allows a glimpse into the belly of the canning beast. The massive canning line by Italy’s CFT is truly a sight to behold. “We met the guys from CFT at the Craft Brewer’s Conference two years ago,” said Gina Marsaglia. “They were great and we valued the opportunity to work with knowledgeable people in addition to the attention to detail the equipment provides. The low oxygen levels were another main interest in going with CFT. It’s practically magic when you see it run!”
While Pizza Port is currently canning three beers, will there be more on the horizon? “ Absolutely,” says Marsaglia. “We are excited to get creative and have fun with the new packaging format. It’s incredible to see firsthand how portable and drinker friendly cans are!”
Also on the horizon are tours of the Bressi Ranch production facility, which should start in February.