By Gifford Lee, Editor, Beer & Brewer
In the space of mere days the Royal Albert Hotel’s Mick Bain turned an idea to “save the beer” into a new business that is now rescuing kegs from a destiny in the drain.
Bain’s Taps ‘n Tins concept is a fairly simply one. Canning keg craft beer into Crowlers at his Surry Hills pub and delivering it to people’s homes – often on the same day. It was borne from the fact thousands of kegs were sitting in warehouses with nowhere to go following the sudden closure of pubs, clubs, cafes, and restaurants across Australia in March.
“I’m ordering more kegs,” Bain booms, having already emptied 30 since his new business was launched.
“I never sent any kegs back to any of our suppliers. And that’s not bad for one little pub to save that much beer.”
New initiatives like Bains’ are popping up everywhere as those in the industry, both big and small, quickly realised now was the time to roll their sleeves up rather than cower in the corner.
“If word is right, and we’re all locked down until September, then the brewers are in real trouble. They simply won’t be able to shift the current keg stock that is out there.
“The best before dates on some of these kegs will start to kick in at three months, some at six and the pasteurised ones are in the 12 month vicinity – but not many are pasteurised.
“It was time to find a way to save that stock.”
His #savethebeer campaign is based around the public making a $20 pledge for a Crowler of beer (946ml, or the size of two schooners) which are then “tap ‘n tinned” at the Royal Albert before being shipped Australia-wide.
Things are humming along for Mick – for now. But he does foresee issues around the supply of cans in the future if lockdown restrictions continue and keg beer still needs saving.
He’s had to order cans from the US, which he says goes against what the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted for Australian businesses.
“I’m in a jam, people are losing jobs and why the hell am I having to order cans from the US? When those run out, what will I do?
“Something is fundamentally wrong here. Why aren’t the big Australian packaging companies helping us out?
“It’s now more obvious than ever that we all have to start thinking locally and supporting our local industries – whether they are butchers or brewers or whoever.”
If you’re interested, head to the Taps ‘ Tins website to find out more.
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