Japan: Kirin expands home-delivery beer subscription service

Kirin Brewery from Japan announced today to expand its home-delivery beer subscription service named Home Tap nationwide (aside from the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa and some other islands).The national launch will start in May. The brewery aims to gain 100,000 subscribers by the end of the year, Kirin Brewery President Takayuki Fuse said.

Kirin launched the home-delivery subscription service on a trial basis in 2017 and has now secured the production capability to manufacture its own dispensers, the company said.

Twice a month, subscribers of the service will receive one-liter plastic bottles of draft beer that can be tapped by using a beer dispenser. The dispenser keeps the beer cold and creates a creamy head.

Consumers can choose from a variety of brands including Kirin's prime beer Ichiban Shibori Premium and craft beer from its US subsidiary Brooklyn Brewery in New York. The price for the minimum subscription of four liters a month which includes the cost of the dispenser is JPY 8,250 (USD 76) or USD 19 per liter. 8 liters will be sold at a discounted price of JPY 12430 (USD 114.5) or USD 14.31 per liter.

Also in May, rival Asahi is planning a similar subscription service with 2 liter bottles of its flagship beer Asahi Super Dry.

Other international brewers have already similar products in use for pub or home consumption. Heineken is using its 2l Sub, its 8l Blade and its 20l BrewLock systems and AB InBev has its very similar PureDraught system with 12 and 18 liters. Because of the similarity both companies have fought about patent rights (inside.beer, 5.5.2018) which has in the meantime been settled.

Carlsberg has also a similar system called DraughtMaster which is used with plastic kegs of 20l content (inside.beer, 28.2.2019).

All systems, including Kirin’s and Asahi’s new launches use plastic containers that are compressed by air to release the beer. While the system is convenient and the beer in plastic containers is easy to ship, those and other plastic containers have been heavily criticized by environmentalists who oppose all types of plastic packaging because of marine pollution and the release of microplastics into the environment.

Other systems available for tapping draught beer at home are made from tinblade and include Heineken 5l DraughtKeg with an internal C02 compressor and 5l party kegs with integrated tap which use gravity for pouring the beer. New to the market are 20l and 25l stainless steel kegs for one-way use which are delivered by mailorder service directly to consumers and which can be tapped alternatively via professional tapping equipment or via a cheap and easy to use party pump.  (inside.beer, 17.12.2020)

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