For New Frontiers In Brewing, Along Comes a New Keg
At the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville last week, an old company showed off a very modern keg. As was to be expected, most of the talk in the booths scattered across the vast trade show floor was about beer. Hops, malts, spices, flavor notes, optimal temperature for serving and all of the craft that goes into craft beer. Plenty of pints were hoisted too. So what made Rehrig Pacific Company break into the conversation?
Well, they built a keg that’s much more than a container. The PUBKEG is loaded with features, yet dramatically lighter than a traditional steel keg. It’s easy to hoist around, and the empties are stackable. The inner bottle—the part that actually contains the beer—keeps oxygen (which can alter flavor) out. And it’s 100% recyclable, which is a big hit with sustainability-minded brewers. It’s no surprise Rehrig Pacific is banking on brewers taking notice of a keg with the potential to make their businesses easier, safer and more eco-friendly. It doesn’t hurt that Rehrig Pacific had a pub on-site too.
So more about the PUBKEG. There are two features Rehrig Pacific is particularly proud of—the Pressure Release Valve (PRV) and a one-way plastic corrugate shell option. As it turns out, there is no legal requirement for kegs to have a pressure release valve. That’s bad news for brewers. Heat, improper handling, continued fermentation and a dozen other factors can cause pressures in a keg to reach unsafe levels. The PUBKEG’s Pressure Release Valve automatically vents in the event of unsafe pressure, a safety feature we imagine anyone handling the kegs will be happy about.
Rehrig Pacific has also cracked the problem of balancing the need to be eco-friendly against the reality of one-way shipping. Getting kegs back can be arduous, and in the case of shipping overseas, not really worth pursuing. Thankfully, there’s a version of the PUBKEG that has a plastic corrugate shell, with internal components identical to the standard version. Unlike cardboard and other types of corrugate, the plastic is waterproof. This means even though it is well-suited to one-way shipping, it can still be used multiple times.
Okay, but what about the beer? Well, that’s up to the brewers. But with containers made with the needs of brewers in mind, Rehrig Pacific is poised to be an important part of the craft brewing world from here on out.