Bag-in-box can cure beer keg hangovers

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Brewing

The problems associated with transporting and storing beer may be
solved with the launch of direct replacement to the traditional
stainless steel keg, itsmanufacturers claim.

A partnership of German firms Rapak, Ankerbräu brewery and mechanics specialist SPN developed theBag-in-Box, a product they claim is cheaper, more convenient and helps improve the quality and shelf life of beer.The product uses a polyethylene bag and seal, which are contained within a cardboard box.

Stainless steel kegs have been the preferred choice of the brewing industry because they are sturdy, re-usable and can withstand the high internal pressures. However, with sturdiness come weight.The steel kegs used for transporting beer to and from businesses can be costly to breweries.

The partnership claims the reduced weight of the containers will reduce the environmental burden of transportation. The cardboard is made from a renewable source whereas kegs deplete metal resources and take more energy tomanufacture, they say.

The new product will eliminate the problem of high costs associated with the loss of steel kegs. The partnership estimates up to 30 per cent of barrels never return from exports to Eastern Europe. The high cost creates a barrier to smaller breweries,especially those that exporting to distant markets.

Those using the Bag-in-Box are not required to return the empties, and so can dispense with used containers to suit their business needs.

The partnership also claims all parts of the container are recyclable and the cardboard box, itself, is made from waste paper.

The Bag-in-Box is also a delivery and dispensing system that eliminates the requirement of pressurised CO2 during transport of beer, removingthe need for sturdy kegs. Premises taking possession of beer stored in bag-in-boxes will require a carbonater and a pump, both supplied as part of a complete system.The bag can withstand pressures caused by temperatures up to 80C.

In addition the cubic shape of the Bag-in-Box allows brewers to pack more product on pallets fortransportation compared to circular kegs. Europallets used for transportation have capacity for traditional beer kegs containing 5.4hectoliters. Using Bag-in-Box nine hectoliters can now be transported using the same space, the partnership claims.

The companies cestimate switching to Bag-in-Box from traditional kegs can result in savings of between €15and €20 per hectoliter.

Ankerbräu, who developed the carbonater device for use with theBag-in-Box, claims carbonating on-site enhances the quality, taste and shelf life of the beer.

Unwanted carbonisation in the barrel, which impairs flavour and prematurely spoils beer, is eliminated as the gas is added whiledispensing, the company said.

The Bag-in-Box can be stored in the same manner as other tapped products in a cold cellar or room. A flow jet pump, either pressure or electric, is attached to bag to suck out the beer. The carbonater then uses a proportionality value, manufactured by SPN, to mix the required quantity of CO2 with the beer at high pressure.

The beer then moves through a carbonation zone where the CO2 and beer bond, while a pressure reduction value equalizes the beer to that of normal keg pressure, before it reaches the taps for pouring.

Ankerbräu is the first brewery to use the bag-in-box for its beer exports.

Related topics Beer

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