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Kegless beer-in-a-bag keeps its bubbles

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February 17, 2010

Kegless - almost a dozen single-serve bottles in an easy-to-dispense box

Kegless - almost a dozen single-serve bottles in an easy-to-dispense box

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The upside of a party at your place is that you don’t have to worry about getting a ride home after a few beers. The downside is having to clean up the next morning and finding a way to dispose of all those empty beer bottles. But had you supplied the party with (or encouraged others to bring) a Kegless, this wouldn’t be a problem. Kegless is a 4L (roughly 8.5 pints) bag-in-a-box packaging concept that provides a more sustainable alternative to conventional single-serve bottle or can. It allows beer (and other carbonated beverages) to be stored and dispensed from a single container while maintaining the carbonation and freshness of the product.

Created by University of Technology Sydney, NSW, Australia, student Thomas Hussey, the collapsible design, which eliminates the need for the complex pressurized CO2 systems, has been shortlisted in the Australian Design Awards - James Dyson Awards 2010.

While we've seen the idea applied to single-serve packages, Hussey's design addresses large volume packages - it's simpler than existing solutions, reduces cost dramatically and has a less environmental impact throughout its life cycle.

He adds that individual containers (especially glass bottles) adds to the cost of package beer – around 50 percent - because of the large quantities of energy and raw materials consumed in their manufacture and distribution.

But beer is a carbonated beverage and hence must be stored in a pressurized container with no oxygen or UV light. In order to maintain the quality of their contents, current bulk containers use pressurized carbon dioxide systems which add complexity and cost.

Kegless uses a new way to store and dispense beer. The collapsible nature of the container allows the volume of the package to be reduced in size as the product is dispensed, maintaining the CO2 pressure while also preventing the ingress of oxygen.

Hussey says his simple design and minimal use of materials allow the package to be manufactured at up to 40 percent lower cost than conventional single serve beer packages with dramatically reduced environmental impacts. In addition, the reduced weight and size (per volume) of the package allows up to 70 percent more beer to be transported per pallet, significantly improving transport efficiencies. The package is also designed to be easily disassembled for disposal and recycling.

A large molded handle in the top of the package make it easy to handle and store. The collapsible nature of the design also uses less storage space as the product is dispensed and provides consumers with a new and more enjoyable experience.

There is potential for the package to be implemented in a range of production scales. For small production numbers the package could be filled using existing keg-filling equipment (fitted with an adapter), this would allow a low cost packaging solution for small breweries who are currently unable to sell packaged beer (due to the high costs of bottling equipment). This method could also be used for market testing and validation before significant investment is made in the automation of large scale production by larger brewers.

We think airlines, in their constant search to reduce on-board weight, might also think the Kegless is a good way to serve beer and other carbonated beverages.

PS: Did someone mention cheaper beer?

Kegless is one of the stand-out entries in more than 300 designs entered in the Australian Design Awards - James Dyson Awards.

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