Last year, Budweiser Budvar, N.C. significantly increased the export of Budweiser Budvar Premium Lager in non-returnable kegs of the KeyKeg system. Customers from 14 countries ordered the pale and dark lager of the Budweiser Budvar brand in KeyKeg kegs in 2012. The export of this product achieved a year-on-year increase of 127 %, having reached a total volume of 4,700 hectolitres. Budweiser Budvar’s racking room for the KeyKeg barrels was put into operation in March 2011. The non-returnable kegs are intended exclusively for export; they are not supplied to the local market.
“When launching the non-returnable kegs, our primary objective was to introduce the sale of keg beer in far away destinations, or to increase it. We had wanted to eliminate administrative and logistics barriers that had been preventing or for different reasons much complicating beer supplies in the usual returnable kegs to certain destinations. The results surpassed our every expectation. The KeyKeg thus became one of the factors helping to succeed in our 2012 export,“ says Budweiser Budvar’s export sales department manager Renata Pánková. As far as the export is concerned, last year was the most successful one in the history of the brewery, as a total of 657,000 hectolitres of beer was exported, which is a 1 % year-on-year rise. “The most beer in non-returnable kegs was exported to Russia, Ukraine and Australia,” adds Ms Pánková. Among other important customers also are Vietnam, Japan, New Zealand, China or Hong Kong. In November 2012, a first consignment of KeyKeg kegs was sent to Brazil. “We expect the demand for beer in this type of packaging to further grow. We consider e.g. South and Central America, particularly Mexico having an interesting trading potential,” concludes Ms Pánková.
The barrels with the KeyKeg system represent a radical technological innovation in the field of packaging and distribution of drawn beer. When using them, the financially, administratively and time-wise demanding return transport of the empty barrels from the tap place back to the brewery need not take place in the logistics chain. The non-returnable kegs used for Budweiser Budvar Premium Lager function on a same principle as the popular beer tanks - the familiar feature of many Czech restaurants. The beer is filled into an internal sack made from special impermeable foil and the compressive gas has no contact at all with the beer during drawing. Therefore the KeyKeg can keep the sensory and microbiological stability of the beer in the same way as the standard stainless steel keg. Furthermore, the KeyKeg is of significantly lower weight than the stainless steel keg; while an empty 20 litre Keykeg weighs 1 kg, an empty stainless steel keg of the same volume weighs 9 kg. In addition, the KeyKeg kegs also protect the environment; owing to their lower weight, they decrease the fuel consumption in the transport of full and empty packaging and are made of fully recyclable materials.