Heineken says the BLADE system – which has the footprint of an A4 piece of paper (around 8x12 inches) and can be set up on a counter top with a power source and fitted with a pre-chilled keg - can help offer consumers a premium experience in almost any setting.
The system is aimed at the casual dining industry, with Heineken forecasting it can add up to £123m ($164m) to the sector.
UK sales on draught
The draught beer sector only has 56% penetration in the UK casual dining sector. This is because many outlets are currently unable to install a draught system due to lack of space or resource, said said Heineken Commercial Director, BLADE UK, Ross Mair.
“BLADE is set to change all that and enable a whole range of businesses that weren’t previously able to offer draught beer to sell it to customers.”
“Currently, there are 20,000 licensed food outlets in the UK which can only offer bottled beer and cider. With a higher rate of sale, and with consumers willing to pay more for draught beer, Heineken predicts a huge boost to the sector.”
Other potential locations for BLADE include boutique hotels, high street restaurants, theatre bars, cafés, coffee shops, cinemas, barber’s shops, hairdressers, street food traders, event caterers, corporate hospitality providers and staff canteens for after-work drinks, added Mair.
“This is really premium,” continued Mair. “Think about what baristas do for coffee, or what mixologists to for cocktails. BLADE means that the ritual of pouring and presenting a consumer with a great tasting, freshly poured draught beer, is now possible everywhere.
“From street food vendors at a busy food festival adding value to their food proposition, to cosy, stylish cafes which are limited on space, BLADE will add value to their business by delivering a brand new and exciting premium experience.”
The compact and lightweight machines can be set up on a counter top near a power source, fitted with a pre-chilled keg, and pressurised before pouring ‘the perfect pint’ served at 2°C (36°F). There are no maintenance or installation costs, and the system can retailers streamline and simplify operations, says Heineken.
Heineken and Birra Moretti are currently available in 8L kegs for BLADE, with Heineken planning to extend the portfolio in 2018. The machines retail at £499 ($664) + VAT; and kegs start at £23.33 ($31) ex VAT.