Why great kegs are crucial for great beer

Author: Ganesh Vancheeswaran 

Ever wondered what it takes to ensure that the draught beer you relish is served to you absolutely fresh, with its full flavour preserved? I don’t know about you, but in my early beer-drinking days, I used to wonder about this a lot. Later on, I realised that, as much as the ingredients, the brewing equipment and the acumen of the brewmaster, the quality of the supply chain is important, too. And a key component of this chain is the keg used to store beer and distribute it from the brewery to pubs, bars and restaurants. 

In a recent e-mail interview, I asked Germaine Clerx, Manager-Sales at BLEFA Beverage Systems (BLEFA), a few important questions about kegs and their role in serving fresh draught beer. Germaine has more than 20 years of experience in the keg beverage industry. This has translated into a deep knowledge of kegs, and how to use them efficiently and sustainably. Since June 2021, she has been handling keg sales at BLEFA for the regions of Southeast Asia, India, Africa, UK and Ireland. BLEFA is one of the world’s leading suppliers of stainless-steel kegs for beer, wine and soft drinks, and is part of Switzerland-based Artemis Holding.

Germaine had some interesting things to say to me! 

Could you explain the importance of using high-quality kegs for storing and transporting beer? 

Germaine: Breweries in general invest a lot of passion, time and money to produce the best, tastiest and freshest beer. They spend huge amounts of money in high-quality brewing technology and stainless-steel tanks because stainless steel is proven to be the best material for this. As a brewer, you want to create a real customer experience. You want the consumers to have a fresh glass of draught in their hands, and for sure, you don’t want to put this at risk. 

To deliver to consumers the carefully brewed beverage with the best possible quality, the use of returnable stainless-steel kegs is logical, cost-efficient and sustainable. With a state-of-the-art stainless-steel keg, you ensure that your product is stored and transported in the safest, most hygienic and best possible way.

Which material is most commonly used to make kegs today, across the world? What distinct benefits does it offer over other materials? 

Germaine: As I said earlier, stainless steel is currently the main material to produce containers for beer, wine, soft drinks, table water and cider. Stainless steel for beverage containers offers various advantages: it is a 100% food-grade material, hygienic and easy to clean. It is extremely robust and durable, and provides a consistent and reliable quality. It is therefore a sustainable long-term investment. 

What does BLEFA offer the beverage industry? 

Germaine: BLEFA offers the full range of kegs, from 10 L to 59 L, in different diameters (235/237 mm Slim, 278 mm Slim, 363 mm DIN, 395 mm EURO). Besides the 100% stainless steel kegs, we also have kegs with top and bottom chimes made either from polypropylene or high-density polyethylene.

Which models of kegs do you offer in India? 

Germaine: The common keg types chosen by breweries in India are 20 L Slim, with a diameter of 235 mm, and the 30 L and 50 L EURO kegs in a stackable design. 

Why should a customer trust in BLEFA? 

Garmaine: BLEFA has a history of 125 years (it was founded in 1896). And in the past 50 years, we have been producing stainless steel kegs for many, many breweries worldwide. With our long experience, we know exactly how to fulfil the expectations of our customers. We offer kegs with high durability and safety. These kegs run smoothly on filling and cleaning lines and are easy to handle in pubs and restaurants. 

We at BLEFA strongly focus on using only high-quality materials. We have employed skilled and experienced workers, and continuously invest in our equipment in our production facility. This enables us to deliver a consistently high quality. 

Please tell me a little more about the quality checks & standards that a BLEFA keg passes through. You offer a 30-year warranty on your kegs. What exactly does this mean? 

Germaine: BLEFA stands for passion for kegs. We are in the lucky situation that we have many experienced workers who have been with us for many years. Our staff is the basis for our reliable and consistent quality. We have established processes that ensure that every single keg we produce adheres to the highest quality standards. Based on this, we are prepared to offer a 30-year warranty on our kegs — because we trust in what we are doing.

If a commercial establishment in India wants to buy BLEFA kegs, who should they contact? 

Germaine: For any enquiries about stainless steel kegs, they can contact Mr. Binodh MR at Lumiere, our local partner in India. They can write to him at Binodh@spectraa.com or call him on +91 8095504432. Alternatively, they can contact me at germaine.clerx@blefa.com or on my mobile number, +34 657027581. 

Anything else you’d like to say regarding kegs?

Germaine: If you are a draught beer lover, you know that beer from a bottle will not taste as good as that poured from the tap of a stainless-steel keg. 

Photo: Germaine Clerx