Quoin Industrial Inc. of Golden, Colo., is marketing the proprietary Party Pig in a Box, a self-contained PET beer packaging/ dispensing system.
Molson Breweries has been test-marketing the package, which holds 21/4 gallons of beer, under the name Home Draft Unit. Tommyknocker Brew Pub in Idaho Springs, Colo., and Hales Ale's in Seattle are the first microbreweries to use the new packaging.
The 10-liter, amber PET bottle, injection stretch blow molded by Pocono PET in Hazelton, Pa., is filled with bright beer. A patented pressure pouch then is inserted into the bottle. This pouch is activated by pressurizing the bottle to 10-15 pounds per square inch, which is done with carbon dioxide to keep from oxidizing the beer. The pressure acts on a trigger inside the pouch and initiates a chemical reaction that inflates the pouch.
The pressure pouch floats freely inside the bottle. Quoin constructs film layers consisting of an exterior laminate PET structure, a gas barrier inner layer and a polyethylene heat-sealable inner layer.
As beer is dispensed, the pouch expands and eventually completely fills the bottle. Inside the pouch are compartments containing citric acid and baking soda. These mix on demand in the pouch to produce carbon dioxide gas, maintaining pressure in the bottle. The gas does not come into contact with the beer.
About 10 years ago, Coors Brewing Co. acquired the rights to develop the technology into a beer package. In 1991, the company decided it would not commercialize it. A year later, three former Coors employees, Michael Lane, Lowell Whitney and Michael Gerstenkorn, acquired the rights to the Coors package and formed Quoin. Within six months, they had a package suitable for use by craft and home brewers.
Lane estimates that about 20 years and $20 million has been invested in the technology by various parties.
Four years ago, the firm introduced a returnable, reusable Party Pig to the craft brewing industry. The self-contained package allowed breweries to provide customers with a take-home draft beer package. Party Pig in a Box is a nonreturnable package.
``We feel that beer is only the first commercial application for our self pressurization technology,'' Lane said in a prepared statement. ``The technology can be adapted to dispense any flowable product.''
Quoin supplies the Party Pig in a Box package along with the necessary filling tools and systems to breweries interested in increasing beer sales with an innovative package. The box can have generic printing with white space for the brewery labels or, for a setup charge, it can be custom printed.