Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beer in a Box

For years, the wine industry has tried to improve the reputation of wine-in-a-box. Shunned by most wine drinkers as a sub-par packaging method, and supported by decades of the only wines-in-a-box being crummy stuff I wouldn't even use for cooking, wine-in-a-box continues to sit on the bottom shelf longing to be taken home. Some wine companies are changing boxed wine's perception, but it's slow to catch on. Since beer doesn't have nearly the particularity in packaging among its consumers or a history of only the worst beers being packaged in that method, there's a shining opportunity here to introduce Beer in a Box. And MillerCoors is running with it.

It seems like a great idea, right? Fits well in the fridge, and - since the bag is hermetically sealed - protects the contents from oxidation or spoilage. Beer stays carbonated for about 1 month after opening (or being filled from a tap), allowing you to drink the 1.5 gallons of it over a period of weeks (rather than days, as is the case with the current mini-kegs on the market).

I lived in Sacramento & surrounding area for about 5 years in the '90s and remember getting beer-in-a-box at Rubicon Brewing Company instead of a glass growler. It seemed like such a weird (and crass) concept before I got one, but it only took one purchase to convince me it was a great idea. No awkward and heavy growlers to carry (or wash), no worries about recycling, no concerns about taking bottles to the beach (well, lake), and no pressure to try to drink it all in a day or two, before it goes flat or stale.

A few other craft breweries across the country also use this method of packaging instead of glass growlers, and the latest article in the WSJ (referenced above) hints at seeing more of this, as it allows the macro companies to quickly change the packaging for seasonal sports and events (much like we see with 12-pack boxes). I guess we'll see how it goes when the results from the 6 test markets are in. Honestly, for fresh beer from local breweries I'm all for it. I'm not convinced it's great for beers that sit on the shelf or in warehouses for a while. How about it, KC breweries??

Thanks to Blaidd0905 on flickr for the picture


  1. I think its a great idea. Hopefully its something that catches on an eventually gets picked up by craft breweries as well.

  2. Did you see this article on the subject by this moron?:

    It contains what might be the dumbest statement I've ever read in my life: "Despite what the microbrewers will tell you, all beer is pretty much the same. Consumers who pay a premium do so more for the experience than the taste."

    Um … yeah. I guess that's why my Bud Light-loving friends will just as readily drink an IPA. Not.

  3. I *did* see that today! Nearly peed myself. I had to wonder if it wasn't some magnificent trolling... if so, it sure worked. :)

    Steve, I also hope it catches on IF the technology proves to work. I don't remember how long my Rubicon cube lasted, but if it lasted a week or more that seems like a FABULOUS way to get beer from your local brewpub & keep it at home.

  4. It's the perfect companion to Jane WineBox

  5. It says it will "keep the beer fresh for about 30 days". Wine in a box just needs to keep oxygen from getting to it, but beer in a box would needs to maintain pressure to keep the carbonation level. IF it actually works well, it should be a much cheaper and easier alternative to the Heineken draft system.


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