On-trade

Irish keg could revolutionise global brewing industry

A new and innovative patent-protected beer keg, owned, designed and manufactured here in Ireland was launched recently in Cavan.

The Emmerald green keg is the brainchild of the team at Emmerald Polymers and the launch was considered significant enough to have been attended by a number of senior brewing industry figures.

Some four years have been put into designing and testing the High Density Polyethylene keg which went on to exceed the exacting standards of the brewing industry for safety, sustainability, quality, durability and indeed taste.

However the keg also offers brewers a viable alternative to stainless steel and aluminium, both of which are heavier and heavily subject to theft. Stainless steel pilferage costs around €650 million a year globally. There are also noise reductions with the new re-useable keg.

Being made from polymerised material means that it won’t explode in a fire unlike steel kegs (at present, the fire brigade will simply refuse to go into a burning building in which steel kegs are stored).

When tested to destruction, both the keg and the cask version of Emmerald’s product failed safely.

Some 300 brewers in the UK have been using Emmerald’s nine gallon cask version since 2010 and when added to a number of brewers in the US, in excess of 40,000 Emmerald green casks are being used on a daily basis already.

“Not since the last Cooper left St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin have beer kegs been manufactured in Ireland,” commented Emmerald Kegs’ Managing Director Kevin Whelehan, “However Emmerald, a Galway-based company, is set to change that, working with Gem Plastics, Emmerald’s manufacturing and investment partners, based in Cavan.”

The Emmerald team are no strangers to the beer business either.

Kevin Whelehan is the son of Dublin publican Mick Whelehan and was formerly a member of Diageo Ireland’s Leadership team. He left Diageo in January and joined forces with Galway publican Brendan Fahy and Greg Whitehorne, a veteran in the UK drinks wholesaling business.

The company’s Chairman Brian Duffy was formally Chairman and Managing Director of Diageo Ireland before becoming Global Brand Director for Guinness and Global Category Director for Diageo beer.

Bord member Ken Allan, currently Managing Director at Britvic Ireland’s Counterpoint wholesaling arm, had been Commercial Director of Brandhouse in Africa for Diageo plc and prior to that Commercial Director at Diageo Ireland.

Philip Wallis, Emmerald’s Technical Director and the designer of the Emmerald keg, was formerly Technical and Design Director with Harcostar.

The venture has also received the backing of Enterprise Ireland which recognises the global market opportunities the polymerised keg presents.

 

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