Plastic 'pale' stars in home brewing kit

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: December 5, 2013 3:44 pm ET
Updated: December 6, 2013 8:49 am ET

Image By: Coopers Brewery Ltd. Frank Seeley and Scott Harris

Related to this story

Topics Injection Molding

Two South Australian firms have joined forces to make home-brewed beer easier to produce and of better quality, thanks to plastic pails.

Home brew is notoriously kept away from family and friends because its “beauty” is usually in the eye of the beholder only — but not anymore.

A do-it-yourself beer kit is now available for connoisseurs around the world.

Gone are wooden kegs, steel kettles and glass bottles once used to ferment the amber liquid.

Now it is done in 8 1/2-gallon plastic pails made of random copolymer polypropylene, a clear, semi-crystalline thermoplastic resin known for its high stiffness and impact strength.

Coopers Brewery Ltd., located in a suburb of Adelaide, approximately 450 miles west of Melbourne, makes a variety of beers, including stouts, ales and lagers.

It has teamed with Australia’s largest air conditioning manufacturer, Seeley International Pty. Ltd. of nearby Lonsdale, to make the do-it-yourself beer kits, which sell for about $A100 ($90).

Seeley specializes in plastic air conditioning units and they said they were happy to help out with Australians’ favorite drink.

Scott Harris, Coopers’ marketing manager for brewing products, said 30,000 kits will be produced and sold in the next 12 months, with strong demand expected from overseas home brewers, including those in the U.S.

“The new DIY beer kits have been designed to overcome most of the problems encountered by people making their own beer, especially new brewers,” he said. “They are simpler to use, very reliable and easier to clean. They include a DVD that not only takes people through the simple steps involved in brewing with their DIY beer kits, but also contains links to interesting sites, tips and hints for new brewers. We think the kits will encourage more people to enjoy the experience of producing their own quality beer.”

Harris said the plastic is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has passed all regulatory healthy and safety checks in Europe and Australia.

He said one key to the new kit is the redesigned micro-fermenter that overcomes many problems experienced by rookie brewers.

“The new fermenters are easier to clean and sterilize, reducing the chances of contamination spoiling a brew,” he said. “They also reduce sedimentation and use a special collar and ‘floating’ lid arrangement instead of an air lock to enable vigorous brews to expand while fermenting without spilling.

“Another breakthrough has been the development of a plastic hydrometer specifically made for beer that measures alcohol content. This replaces the fragile glass hydrometers provided previously,” Harris said.

He said the plastic pails are easy to clean, do not scratch or scruff and are strong yet have a little flexibility for when they were knocked around. They have also been designed for ease of stacking for exporting.

The pails also had to be stable for making ginger beer, which can be harsh and corrosive during the brewing process.

Harris said Australian home brewers have changed their tastes in recent years. They have moved on from making poor-quality backyard brew, to lager, draught, English bitter, Mexican cerveza, and amber and pale ales.

“We are seeing far more craft beers in pubs ... likewise in home brewing,” he said. “Once it was all about cost saving. Now it is about good quality.”

Harris said there is a coffee analogy with home brewing, as Australians move away from instant granules to $5,000 coffee machines in their own homes.

“But they still love to go to their favorite cafe for a coffee. It is the same with beer. The home brew market is a lot more mature in Australia, so it is fairly stable. But we have seen about 15 percent growth in the US and the UK and that is expected to increase,” he said.

“Our kits are already proving a big seller on Amazon.”

Seeley founder and chairman Frank Seeley said while his air-con company will still concentrate on making people cooler, the Coopers DIY beer kit will do the same “but in a wonderfully different way.”


Comments

Plastic 'pale' stars in home brewing kit

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: December 5, 2013 3:44 pm ET
Updated: December 6, 2013 8:49 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Cambro investing $30.4 million in new N.C. injection molding plant

April 18, 2014 2:36 pm ET

Foodservice products manufacturer Cambro Manufacturing Co. Inc. plans to set up a satellite production and distribution operation in Mebane, N.C., to ...    More

Image

Producers urge booming Brazilian housing market to use EPS

April 18, 2014 1:08 pm ET

Leaders in Brazil's plastics industry are asking lawmakers to mandate the use of expandable polystyrene (the raw material for expanded EPS) in new...    More

Image

Increased orders prompt Georg Utz to add capacity, equipment in Indiana

April 18, 2014 12:20 pm ET

Plastic totes and tray orders have picked up to the point where manufacturer Georg Utz Inc. has added machines, silos and material feed systems to...    More

MGS buying N.Y. medical molding plant from Hospira

April 17, 2014 10:19 pm ET

MGS Manufacturing Group is purchasing the Buffalo, N.Y., injection molding facility and related product line of Hospira Inc., effective July 1. Terms ...    More

Image

Navigating the rough seas of selling your company

April 17, 2014 2:47 pm ET

For family owned plastics firms who survived the Great Recession, many wonder: Is it time to sell, retire and sip cocktails on the beach? Or, maybe fi...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events