New eco-friendly petainerKeg Hybrid to be launched for growing China craft beer market

By Lester Wan

- Last updated on GMT

The petainerKeg Hybrid was designed to be versatile and compatible with existing systems, which lowers the entry barrier for draught products.
The petainerKeg Hybrid was designed to be versatile and compatible with existing systems, which lowers the entry barrier for draught products.
Plastic container firm Petainer is looking to tap into growing demand for craft beer in China with the launch of a new PET keg hybrid, which it claims will lower barriers to market entry.

A recent Drinks Sector report said that China is not only the biggest consumer of alcoholic drinks in the world, but has also surpassed that of the US by becoming the world’s largest in value in 2017.

On top of that, the demand for craft beer in China is growing with both the rise of local breweries as well as the introduction of foreign craft beer brands.

This rise is a reflection of the ever-growing segment of affluent and middle-class consumers in the country.

Clare Anderson, communications consultant for Petainer, agreed that craft beer and the beer market in general has been growing “across the region”​.

“We have seen significant demand for PET kegs in China,” ​said Anderson.

According to Petainer, the new petainerKeg Hybrid offers universal filling, excellent handling, safety and sustainability benefits.

“This is a new addition to our keg portfolio and offers a premium solution in terms of handling and filling — it complements the rest of the petainerKeg portfolio,” ​said Anderson.

The company said its team of scientists and technical experts worked closely with customers to ensure the keg design met the needs across the drinks industry, from beer, wine and cider to cold brew coffee and kombucha — essentially any beverage which uses a draught system.

Cost-effective and eco-friendly

According to the firm, one of the advantages of the keg over other packaging formats such as steel and glass, is that it can be recycled when it is empty, cutting out costly return logistics and washing processes.

Furthermore, only minimal investment or adjustments to filling lines are required because the petainerKeg Hybrid has been designed to be filled using existing equipment, whether it is manually or on semi- and fully-automatic lines.

The keg can also be sold as a kit and then blown to form the keg and assembled at the filling plant in the local market, providing further cost-efficiencies and helping to improve profits for larger breweries producing high volumes of draught beer as well.

“We set out to design and develop a versatile PET keg which provides the best user-experience and compatibility with existing systems which lowers the barrier to entry for draught products,”​ said Chris McEwan, group business development director of Petainer.

“Many Chinese craft breweries are turning to one-way PET kegs because of their logistical performance and cost benefits.”

Additionally, according to the company, the new keg provides superior handling and stacking compared to competitor products, thanks to its ergonomically designed top and bottom chimes. It is also only 10% of the weight of a traditional steel keg, making handling at the filling plant and on-trade much easier.

The company added that independent tests have shown that the keg keeps the beer “as fresh as other containers in the packaging mix”​. It said taste tests by Versuchsund Lehranstalt für Brauerei (VLB) in Berlin show that the taste of the beer hasn’t changed after nine months, and it is on par with that of steel kegs.

The new petainerKeg Hybrid, available in 20 litres and soon 30 litres as well, will be launched at CBCE in Shanghai over May 16 to 18.

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