They might not have Lionel Richie fronting an ad campaign but an Australian company says it’s bringing to market “everything that Tap King should have been but wasn’t”.
Almost 10 years to the day since Lion unveiled that draught beer at-home product, before discontinuing it less than three years later, the Sydney-based iKegger company are launching their new miniaturised keg system that, like the Tap King, lies on its side to fit in an average sized kitchen fridge.
But that’s where the similarities start and finish according to iKegger’s director David Thackray, who along with Oner Nalcioglu founded the company in 2015 ahead of releasing their first model and multiple variations since.
Whilst their new, streamlined 2.0 system can fit in a fridge, it can also be used upright and taken just about anywhere. It also isn’t consigned to specific beers like the Tap King was, but rather can be filled at any brewery willing to do so, much like they already do with growlers and the like. And its nitro-infused abilities also makes it ideal for at-home nitro stouts and on-the-go espresso martinis.
iKegger have launched their 2.0 model on Kickstarter in a bid to generate the required revenue to get the first 500 systems built. David said it’s clearly targeted to the at-home consumer but that it had proven itself in an on-premise environment also. For example, Heineken have used previous iKegger systems at their venues in the Netherlands, where patrons have it filled at the bar and pour their own back at the table.
“(Tap King) was a piece of junk that poured froth half the time and flat beer the rest of the time,” David said, adding they’ve removed the weighty pub-style tap from past models with a flow control push button.
“Our tag line is ‘any drink on tap anywhere’ and that was the aim of this latest system. We’ve taken the previous seven years of mini-kegs we’ve developed and jammed it all in one little system.
“You’re not limited to a specific beer, it doesn’t come in a plastic bottle, you just take it to the breweries and get it filled. It has a counter-pressure filling system so they can either fill it like a growler or they can attach it to their keg or tap and fill it under pressure so there’s no oxygen contact.
“We’ve got two keg styles too. A single wall one so it chills quickly, and the other is insulated, so if you pour something cold in it it’ll stay cold all day. We’ve been at the beach on a hot day and it’s stayed cold for six or seven hours.”
In the wake of discontinuing Tap King, Lion admitted they had been on to a winner with the concept as the thirst for quality draught beer at home remained a desirable prospect for many. They just didn’t execute their product to the right level of consumer preference. David thinks that audience is still there and that they’ve got the product to match.
“I know we’ve got (the right product). We’ve been playing around with the prototype and refining it to the point that we’ve got it ready to launch.
“It can do everything a commercial keg system in a bar can, and more, in a tiny fraction of the space.
“I’ve been nervous in the past doing public demos (as the older models) had so many moving parts that we might get a leak here, or we might have forgotten to tighten that bit or whatever.
“But with this it’s just a push of a button, anyone can use it.”