One of the things about keykegs, you know these bag in a box, one way delivery systems beloved of certain brewers that like to get their beer into craft beers bars, is that they add considerable expense to the end product, as they cost quite a lot to buy in the first place. I don't know how much exactly, but somewhere around £12 seems to ring a bell. (Somebody may care to put a more exact figure on it I dare say.) The positive side of course is they are "fire and forget" weapons. No need to worry about when you'll get the empties back, or to concern yourself with tracking containers, cleaning the empties and other such overheads, so there is a plus side. They seem to have a bright future. Or do they?
I received a press release today that got me thinking. Usually press releases fail to capture my imagination, but this one did, because it comes up with something which even if not new, would seem to have a very positive future. The product isn't a new beer, but a new container. It is called the Petainer Keg, from and is essentially a large PET bottle with a keg fitting. Holding 20 litres it is a relatively cheap, 100% recyclable, one way container and will be used by Frederic Robinson of Stockport for export of their own beers and those of their contract customers. Presumably, and the press release gives a passing mention to this, they could be used for the domestic market too. Robinsons is stated to have "one of the finest bottling and contract packaging plants in the beer industry with over 40 family-owned and SIBA customers."
“The next logical step was to look at draught exports” explains Managing Director, Oliver Robinson. “Regular kegs cost a lot, especially when it takes 6 months for them to be returned, so we were delighted when our export partner, Sovereign approached us about a one way keg solution. Petainers are effectively a PET box which fits neatly inside a rigid cardboard outer which can be fully branded. So we can use these for our own beers and those of our contract customers and the initial feedback has been fantastic, we already have 6 customers keen to start exporting. They are recyclable, improve cash flow, require lower set up costs,carry no risk of keg theft and are more efficient in freight containers and to top it all, deliver a great quality product 6 months after filling. In fact they can be very useful for certain domestic customers too such as hotels and sports clubs.We have the capacity to fill at least 20,000 in year 1 with a maximum of around 40,000- all in 20 litre kegs which attach to a coupler like any other keg beer.
Sounds like an interesting development, which could have implications way beyond Frederic Robinson and Co if the price is right.
I assume the beer could be pasteurised or not according to the customer's wishes. I don't know who owns the idea either. The press release doen't say.