Old Kent Inns is launching its new beer in Tetra Pak cartons - a UK first.
Dog & Duck Best real ale comes in 330ml cartons which are designed for outdoor events, sports venues and picnics.
MD John Brigden said the new-style packaging freed event organisers from the worry of injuries caused by cans or glass bottles.“And the launch is also timely because city centres like Manchester are banning bottles and cans,” he said.
The carton is cheaper to transport because large quantities can be packed in a more condensed format than the same number of bottles. It is also mostly biodegradable and easily recycled, and keeps for as long as bottled beer - between nine months and a year.
Brigden insisted that the carton was not a novelty. “Real
ale is quite fizzy in bottles compared with beer from a pub. Tetra Pak is ideal for this product, while it couldn’t take the pressure of lager.”
However, some buyers are not convinced. Budgens’ drinks buyer, Len Hooper, said: “It’s a very brave move but I probably wouldn’t stock it in store. Real ale is all about tradition, but their target market - people in sports centres - would probably be lager drinkers.”
It’s a view echoed by Jacksons’ drinks buyer, Peter Williams, who said: “Traditional beer drinkers would prefer it to be in a bottle.”
But Safeway beer buyer Glen Payne was more positive: “I’m not sure how you’d drink it - you certainly wouldn’t want to be seen using a straw - but if all the attributes were right, it might be of interest.”
Dog & Duck Best will initially be on sale at off-licences in Kent but the company hopes to interest the independent sector and caterers.
Brigden also plans to target the export market, such as expats and holidaymakers who are unable to purchase real ale while they are abroad.
Helen Gregory