Heineken said the Blade system was plug and pour

Heineken said the Blade system was 'plug and pour'

Heineken wants its new draught dispenser to be the "Nespresso of draught beer" as it targets on-premise outlets that find regular taps and kegs too expensive.

The GBP499 (US$660) Blade system, launched at an event in London last night, uses an in-built compressor and chiller that allows it to dispense cold draught beer from a tabletop. It features "plug-and-pour" eight-litre kegs that are ordered online, similar in style to Nespresso's coffee pods. Customers can also download a smartphone app to manage their accounts and Heineken hopes future versions of the Blade will be wifi-enabled, allowing automatic redelivery.

Speaking to just-drinks last night, commercial director for the Blade in the UK, Ross Mair, acknowledged that previous beer dispenser systems from Heineken had underperformed. However, he said the Blade was different because it offered a high-quality draught beer in a system that was easy to use. 

"We call it 'Plug and Pour," Mair said. "It takes less than a minute to set up, and changing the kegs is really simple. Plus, there is no need to clean lines - it's simply fresh beer cooled to 2 degrees Celsius, and the beer stays fresh for thirty days."

Heineken is launching the platform in selected European markets, and Mair said it plans to sell 8,000 in the UK over the next 12 months. Only two beers - brand Heineken and Birra Moretti – are initially available, however Mair said other Heineken brands are planned. He said craft beer would be a focus, with Heineken's craft-style brand Maltsmiths likely to feature ahead of Lagunitas.

The 17-kilogram Blade costs GBP499 plus VAT in the UK, and kegs cost GBP23.99 for brand Heineken and GBP24.99 for Moretti. According to Heineken, the machine has a footprint the size of an A4 piece of paper.

The Blade will be available in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Romania and Austria.

Heineken launched the BeerTender, designed for at-home use, in 2004 but it has since fallen by the wayside. In 2013, Heineken unveiled a new design called The Sub, which was designed to house a two-litre keg of beer with the Heineken, Affligem, Desperados and Birra Moretti Baffo d'Oro beer brands initially earmarked for use. The Sub also targetted home use.

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