26 Jul 2013

On cans and boxes


Yesterday, while I was on the bus to Prague, I suddenly started thinking about cans. I don't know why, I hardly ever drink canned beer here (though I did while I was in Spain) mainly because none of my favourite beers come in that format (some don't even come in glass bottle!), but thought about can I did, and then I started thinking about another sort of container.

It's funny how things change with time. When I started to get interested in this beer thing there weren't many voices that spoke well of cans; to most beer people they were seen as an unworthy container for good beer, or at least that's the impression I had at the time.

But one day, some American craft breweries started to sell some of their beers in cans and our view on them changed because, well, it turned out it was wrong all along. Whatever the disadvantages of the container are, they are outweighed by the advantages, at least with some beers (though, considering this experience in Colombia with a 13 year old beer, cans might be also good for aging).

I realised then that the problem was never so much the container, but the beers we mostly associated with it, which got me thinking about tetra pack.

A few months ago I shared with you a video where a Czech wine expert blind tasted several bottom of the range wines. At one point he picks a box of wine and comments that, his opinion, tetra pack is the ideal container for wine and laments the bad reputation it's got because of the sort of wines it is associated with.

And he's right, if you think about it for a second, like cans, tetra pack doesn't let any air or light in, it's lighter and not as fragile as glass, and on top of it, it's even more stackable than cans! It'd be great for exports, for example.

I might be wrong, I believe I've heard about small British brewers using bag-in-box* for some beers, but I've never head about beer in tetra-pack. Would you buy beer in tetra-pack? If not, why? Do you know of any brewer that sells beer in this kind of container? If you are a brewer reading this, would you consider doing so? (Always assuming that there's nothing that technically prevents the use of the material).

Na Zdraví!


*tanková, by the way, follows essentially the same principle as bag in box, only that the outer shell is a stainless steel tank.

6 comments:

  1. During the late 90’s, Carlsberg Denmark experimented with beer in tetra pack. One year, they sold the Christmas beer Tuborg Julebryg (THE Christmas beer for many Danes) in a tall paper pack:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gXoOhvGSILM/TXJeg5m0mgI/AAAAAAAAD7k/JQwRetuWLxo/s400/IMG_1805.jpg

    The result? Well, they had some issues with leakage as the packaging process wasn’t optimized for carbonated liquids. But the major drawback was the consumer experience as the box was quite tricky to open without spillage. And, more importantly, the consumers didn’t like the idea.

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    1. Thanks for that!

      I think tetra pack has evolved since then, but I didn't take into account the carbonation, which may very well still be an issue.

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  2. Have you Seen the Beer Vending Machine. Devised by a Ostrava School. Entered in to the Young Enterprise Competition in London. When they are finished at School. Thinking. Of Carrying on. To use at Pop Festivals, etc.

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    1. i've heard about it. Haven't seen it yet. I wonder how practical it can be for larger volumes.

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  3. By All Accounts. Been Well Researched.

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  4. As per Bark's comment, I think carbonation is the biggest issue. I'm not aware of any carbonated liquid available in the UK that is supplied in Tetra Pak. Having said that, just thought I'd look on Tetra Pak's UK site although it doesn't make things any clearer

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