Brewers spy cartons and taps behind convenience push

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Carbon dioxide Brewing Beer

While beer makers’ use of box and draught tap packaging are hardly new innovations, some manufacturers hope new developments in these technologies may help capture consumer interest in the sector.

Both Netherlands-based brewer Grolsch and German manufacturer Ankerbräu say they that recent modifications in the carbonation and storage of their respective​Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottled and boxed beer are aimed at meeting convenience and quality needs.

Bottle tap

In an attempt to meet these demands, Grolsch, in cooperation with processing group Sidel, has moved to launch a specially designed two litre​PET bottle, which it says can be attached to a tap to dispense draught quality​beer.

According to the pack’s developers, the Cheersch system, as the product is known, has been launched onto the Dutch market earlier this year, with potential further launches in new markets to follow.

The system is sold as a specially modified bottle with an additional re-usable tap also required to be purchased once by a consumer.

Using carbon dioxide (CO2) cartridges that come with the bottle, the developers claims that the tap can then decant beer through the same amounts of pressure to pumps in a pub or bar.

While similar systems are already used in take-home products like kegs, developers of the bottle, which is designed by Grolsch and manufactured by Sidel, claim that the use of a PET ensures more practical convenience for manufacturers.

As well as ensuring flexibility in terms of lightweight convenience, the developers claims that connecting the valve and tap unit will be much more difficult with a glass bottle due to the design of the bottle mouth and its finish.

Beer-in-box

While Ankerbräu has been selling its beer-in-box and technological know how to consumers and manufacturers for 18 months, the brewer says that ongoing developments in the packaging are helping to drive its product sales.

Sebastian Haag, told BeverageDaily.com, that the group’s latest innovation is a special bag within its boxes that create an oxygen barrier able to store a product for up to eight months without opening.

The package works by adding CO2 back into beer for carbonation through use of a device called an Anker-Carbonator. Ankerbräu claims the device can ensure the box not only is more easily transportable and recyclable, but can also prevent over carbonation, while retaining appearance and taste of keg beer. Upon gassing, the group says the product can then be kept for up to three weeks, albeit in a cooled environment.

Convenience drives

However, Haag says that the company has not stopped yet in its developments, with further possible modifications of the packaging towards convenience expected.

"Right now we offer the carbonator separately to the beer,”​ he stated. “But the next step will be an all-in-one solution.”

To produce the package, the brewer says it already works with a specific partner who provides the barrier bags and filling machines for the technology and continues to trial the best available solutions in terms of its cartons.

While Ankerbräu itself currently looks to export its own beers in the packages to export markets, the company added that it did work with other brewers and dealers to adopt its technical knowledge to their own operations.

Consumer attitudes

While aiming to provide improved convenience for beer drinkers, Haag suggests that not all consumers may easily adopt new means of enjoying a drink, particularly in Ankerbräu’s domestic markets.

“We think the quality, the taste and the advantages of beer-In-box will satisfy the consumer,” ​he stated. “But I also think German and Bavarian beer drinkers are very conservative and sceptical about this innovation.”

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