Beer straight from the keg is the ultimate treat for all beer fans and it is now available to the home consumer thanks to the 5 litre party keg. Whether at home or outdoors, draught beer is always a big hit for any occasion.
Huber Packaging developed the world’s first party keg in 1972. The kegs have come a long way since that basic 5L ‘can’ which had to be opened with a can opener. In 1998 a tap was added and in 2008 a CO2 cartridge was integrated, allowing the beer to stay fresh for 30 days after opening, and providing the perfect pouring pressure right down to the last glass. In 2010, the latest version was released, called the DraftKing, where the tap has been redesigned to go on top of the keg. The kegs are single-use and fully recyclable
There are three types of 5L party kegs available: easyKEG IT (Integrated Tap) – a gravity feed keg easyKEG IPS (Integrated Pressure System) – includes the in-built CO2 cartridge DraftKing – tap located at the top of the keg (available late 2012)
Over 500 beer brands throughout the world are successfully marketed in party kegs. They can be delivered with individual designed branding or available as un-branded ‘silver’ kegs from our local stock, together with accessories like carry handles and insulated boxes to keep the party kegs cool.
Microbrewers find that party kegs are cheaper than bottles, crown seals, labels and cartons and the equipment required for filling them is a fraction the cost of a bottling line, so they are a cost effective way for breweries to enter the take-home market. Party kegs provide a significant point-of difference to the standard 330mL bottles that are the choice for just about all brewers in this region. They are an easy way to transport 5L of beer in a compact, attractive and unbreakable container that can be recycled an infinite number of times. The kegs offer the brewer 1500 cm2 for high quality branding. A number of filling options are available including a simple hand filler, semi-automatic filling machines and fully automated filling lines.
There is no minimum order quantity unless you require individually decorated kegs. In this case, an order of 3,360 units (i.e. a 20ft container) is required. Standard branding includes the application of a white basecoat (lacquer) to the keg body, four-colour printing (cyan-yellow-magenta-black), followed by the application of a colourless protective coat. Other colours are available although this may involve an increase to the unit price. Smaller customers tend to order lower quantities than this, and so order the plain or undecorated (‘silver’) kegs. They then apply their own label or branding separately.
Decorated IPS easyKEGs are 4.30 EUR each (minimum order quantity is 3,360 units)
Undecorated IPS easyKEGs are 4.30 EUR each (no minimum order quantity) and stock usually available ex Sydney
FILLING AND CLOSING THE easyKEGs
The filling equipment is manufactured by Esau & Hueber. There are a number of options available from the most basic manual filling device through to a fully automated filler and associated packaging line.
The ‘Flexi-Fill’ machine is a good option for microbreweries. It is available with one or two filling heads. It is designed to fill the 5L party kegs and any bottle size up to 3L, so it is ideal for 'growlers' or magnum bottles too. For each container type, a specially designed set of filling tubes and support plates is required.
The ‘Flexi-Fill’ machine is constructed with fixed piping for beer, CO2 and service-air. The air supply required is 6 bar to operate the lifting cylinder to bring the kegs onto the filling head. It is possible to operate the lifting cylinder with CO2, and so the whole machine can be operated on a cylinder of CO2 gas.
Each filling head fills approximately 50 easyKEGs per hour. The keg is placed manually onto the filler; a sensor detects the keg and automatically fills it.
After filling, the bung has to be inserted into the top of the keg. This can be achieved with a rubber mallet or with a pneumatic closer. The rubber mallet method is operator-dependent whereas the pneumatic closer applies a consistent sealing pressure. Many small customers start with the rubber mallet method with a view to upgrading to the pneumatic closer later.