Thursday, 27 September 2012

Move Over Keykeg?


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.

13 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Do we know how pressure is maintained in this, as my understanding is that in a keykeg the CO2 outside the bag does not come into contact with the beer and therefore doesn't increase its gassiness?

Tandleman said...

Same as in a normal keg. It's just a normal keg made out of extremely light weight material.

StringersBeer said...

Is right, misuse of gas could overfizz the beer. Not suitable for "cask" - unlike the KK :-)

Gazza Prescott said...

Already in use in catalonia....

Cooking Lager said...

Looks like a scaled up version of the Carling homekeg system. That had a small gas canister in the tap fitting.

Phil said...

If the propellant's in contact with the liquid it's a step backward from keykeg/Ecofass, surely?

Stuart Ross said...

We tried a Petainer, filling was a similar process to Key-Keg. They are about £6 each plus shipping cost and you have to buy some sort of outer packaging for them, when we looked at them the outer package was a really terrible four sided box, with no protection against moisture.
At the moment key-kegs are costing about £11 to £12 total to use.

PivnĂ­ Filosof said...

Quite popular already here in CZ. They fit perfectly in already intalled lines, the price of the petainer is about 4EU, if I remember correctly. Distribution oriented micros are stocking them because they are a lot less hassle and cost a lot less than kegs.

Stuart Ross said...

i would guess they are cheaper in CZ because they are made locally?

Leigh said...

interesting, interesting, interesting.....

Des de Moor said...

The Australian-made ecokeg is another non-returnable and fully recyclable alternative to a conventional keg which some UK brewers are already using. As with the petainer, though, it requires directly pressurising the beer with CO2 as in a conventional keg.

I was dead excited about the keykeg (and the ecofass which is similar but reusable with a replaceable inner bag) for the reason Mudgie hints at, that CO2, or air for that matter, doesn't come into contact with the beer. But then I had a conversation with Justin of Moor brewery, who told me he prefers ecokegs for precisely the opposite reason. A keykeg depends on the beer's condition being absolutely optimum when it is served, but a conventional keg allows the condition to be adjusted in the cellar so long as the staff have adeqaute skills. Anathema to the real ale purists who believes there is bad CO2 and good CO2, but there you go. There are more things in heaven and earth than were previously dreamed of in our philosophy...

Morepour said...

I have been using them on sparkling wine installations. They seem to work quite well with that.

Morepour said...

I take back my comment above, been having issues with over cabonation on the petainers since.