PORTAGE — Scott Freitas has a whole catalog of names for what it is: A mini-keg, an earth saver, a billboard, a handful of high tech, the “ultimate package for beer.” He can also tell you what it isn’t: “It is not your grandpa’s Budweiser.”

“It” is a can. It’s the only packaging Freitas uses for his craft brews from Latitude 42 in Portage, and it’s a growing trend in the rest of the craft beer world as well — Founders and Bell’s have both introduced canned lines in the last year.

For Freitas, however, canning is an old habit, not a new trend. He has sold his beer in cans since his days as head brewer at Maui Brewing Co., and when he helped found Latitude 42, it was the only option he discussed. “That’s all I was willing to do,” he says.

You can tell he’s a veteran of canning — and an enthusiastic one — because he fires off its facts and benefits faster, almost, than you can listen to them.

It’s cheap — simpler to make, lighter to ship and easier to store than bottles.

It’s safer, and thus more portable, than bottles — you can take it tons of places where glass is forbidden, which is especially handy in an outdoors-friendly state like Michigan.

It’s eco-friendly – easy to recycle and reuse. (If we recycled all the cans we’ve already got, says Freitas, we wouldn’t have to make another for 20 years.)

It’s a better billboard for brand and product than a narrow bottle label.

And most of all, it’s better for your beer. “Bottles bleed sunlight and leak oxygen,” says Freitas. A can doesn’t; it keeps beer fresher longer. And with advances in can tech – things like BPA-free liners – you no longer have to fear the tinny taste your grandfather’s Bud had. There’s no contact between liquid and metal at all.

But a lot of people don’t know that, especially the last part. Most craft beer, of course, is still sold in bottles, and many people assume better beer automatically comes in a better container. Cans are for macro, bottles for craft, they think.

That turns canners like Freitas into de-facto evangelists for cans, and that seems to be why all this information is on the tip of his tongue. He’s “always” educating customers, he says. “Step outside the box a little bit,” he tells them. “Things are changing these days.”

Give it a shot. You can try three different Latitude 42 brews (Lil’ Sunshine Golden Ale, Red Beard’s India Red Ale and Powerline Porter) in cans off your local store’s shelves, and the brewery will be adding new varieties soon.

Scott Freitas says it’s hard for an outsider to get started in Michigan’s craft beer industry. He would know. He came from about as far outside of Michigan as possible to help launch Latitude 42 Brewing Company in Portage. Freitas was the head brewer at Maui Brewing Co. — as in Maui, Hawaii — before he became co-founder and head brewer of Latitude 42.

Even as an outsider, Freitas was confident of his success in Michigan, and for good reason. He earned his job at Maui by doubling their production in a one-month stint as stand-in brewer. And he kept going: in five years, Maui jumped from 1,200 barrels per year to 20,000. They also earned 150 medals nationally and internationally, excelling in quality no less than quantity.

So Freitas didn’t want to start small at Latitude 42. His partners’ initial plans envisioned a seven-barrel nanobrewery. When Freitas was brought on, and was given a lot of, well, latitude to shape the business, he pushed for a 15-barrel, full-production brewery, plus a restaurant. He got his way.

Ten months in, business is booming. Freitas and the team is already adding tanks, and they’re preparing to export their beer to Germany. A German delegation met Freitas through an export development program. “They drove all the way here from Denver,” he says, “and they put in an order the next day.”

If the brewery’s success can be measured in what Freitas exports, the source of its success can be traced to what he imports.

“There was no aloha here,” says Freitas. That sense of laid-back happiness and tranquility was somewhat lacking in Michigan. “We pride ourselves in brewing aloha here,” he says. “We feel we make happy beer, not angry beer.”

For Freitas, happy beer often means hoppy beer. He loves concocting hoppy IPAs of course, but he also experiments with hoppy lagers and even stouts. You can also catch a taste of island life in his coconut stout and his Beach Cruiser hefeweizen.

But if none of those are your style, no worries. The tap list at Latitude 42 is surprisingly large and diverse (again, Freitas likes to brew a lot of beer); just about every style of beer is represented, sometimes with a couple of variations.

The menu is equally extensive and diverse, with everything from steak and seafood entrees to the house specialties: double decker tacos (with beer cheese gluing soft shell and hard shell together) and brick fired pizza. It’s a big, open, casual venue, so bring some friends and plan for a relaxing session with a pizza and a few beers.