Carlsberg AV, home to Tuborg, Kronenbourg, Russia’s best-selling beer Baltika and more than 500 local beers, is upping its considerable inovation game with a new plastic beer keg that according to the global brewer keeps beer fresher for weeks longer than the traditional steel keg.
And while that might be bad news for steelmakers, it’s incredibly good news for a beer industry getting squeezed by declines and consumers moving away from beer toward wine and mixed drinks.
Carlsberg’s DraughtMaster is a plastic keg system that uses compression rather than CO2 to keep beer fresh longer and reduce waste. Where traditional steel beer kegs can lead to stale beer in just under a week, this new innovation will keep beer fresh for over a month.
You see, metal kegs expose the contents to external gases almost immediately once they’re tapped, while the DraughtMaster system seals the brew inside a separate internal container that’s compressed to release beer to the tap.
According to Carlsberg, another benefit of the longevity afforded by DraughtMaster is that smaller bars will be able offer a greater variety to their customers, “without fear that the extra product won’t get sold.
With greater choice being one of the key things that customers are looking for today, the ability to offer a greater range of options for a longer period has become increasingly vital.
Carlsberg’s DraughtMaster will allow bars to pour a perfect beer every time, and afford them “plenty of time to sell the entirety of the keg, resulting in less waste and potential profit being poured down the drain.
Carlsberg produces its DraughtMaster kegs in-house according to Bloomberg “while the majority of Europe’s brewers rely on third-party manufacturers such as Schaefer Container Systems and NDL Keg for their steel casks.”
And the fact that the brewery’s keg innovation serves Carlsberg’s brands exclusively means that the bars that buy into the system, are in doing so, largely locking themselves into the brewery’s portfolio at the same time.
It’s hard to argue with Carlsberg’s positioning… Particularly in light of recent research in Denmark which shows that customers who have converted to DraughtMaster have seen an 8% increase in their sales.
This is an even more impressive number when you consider that the overall beer market using traditional metal kegs is currently decreasing at a rate of 4%.
But Carlsberg isn’t the only major brewer exploring alternative keg options …
Budweiser producer AB InBev is currently suing its Dutch competitor over Heineken’s Brewlock tap system, “claiming it infringes on a patented design that only Anheuser-Busch InBev was able to innovate” according to the New York Post.
And in August Heineken countered that action claiming that AB InBev’s Nova countertop cooler infringed on a patent of its own.