Brewers Blog: What’s in a Date Code

  • February 7th, 2018
  • By Stephen Rich

A can of beer is so much more than just a can of beer.

At Cowbell Brewing, it’s a representation of who we are, what we believe in, and the type of experience we want to share with our Friends of Cowbell. On the bottom of every can of Cowbell beer, you’ll find an important message from us. It’s there to help us ensure you have the best experience possible, and also to give you some insight into that beer. The bottom of every can is stamped with a date code. Here is an example from a batch of Shindig Huron County Lager.

02 01 18 11 23

The first Line: DO THE RIGHT THING
This is Cowbell. It is our ever-guiding company motto that helps us make decisions everyday and achieve our goals. It is also a reminder that you can help to do the right thing too with every can you buy, as Cowbell donates 5 cents from the sale of every can to our Greener Pastures Community Fund which supports projects at Ontario’s four Children’s Hospitals.

The second line: 02 01 18 11 23
This is the actual date code itself, and is what is most valuable to the beer buying public. It means that that can of Shindig was filled on February 1st, 2018, at 11:23 AM. This is critical for everyone. It allows our Territory Managers to check and ensure only fresh beer is on the shelves at LCBO, The Beer Store, grocery stores, restaurants and pubs. It is also a good indicator to you that a can of beer in your fridge does not last forever – if you are 6 or 7 months past the date code, you’ll know the beer is not as fresh as it should be.

The third line: 17112900029
This is our batch code. It allows us to track everything about that can right back to the raw materials that went in it. Here is what is means. 171129 means we brewed that beer in 2017, 11th month, 29th day. So that batch of Shindig was brewed November 29, 2017. 00029 indicates that it was the 29th batch to be brewed at Cowbell.

So, What’s in a Date Code?
The Batch Code is mostly for the brewers. This allows us to accurately identify the materials, processes, and procedures that went into making that specific batch of beer. If we find something particularly fantastic about that batch then we can try to understand why. Or if we find something “off” about that beer, then we can investigate to see if something changed, or what may have caused an issue. Without the batch code, it would be a guessing game.

The Date Code is your indicator of freshness. Each of our beers has a different shelf life, but the general rule of thumb is drink as fresh as possible to ensure the best beer experience.

So, if you are looking for the freshest beer you can find, or just interested to know when that beer went into the can, take a peek at the bottom of the can. You’ll know that Cowbell is watching diligently.