Taking The Taps Home
Shaped like a mini-keg on its side, the appliance sits on a refrigerator shelf and makes “a true draft beer experience possible in a few easy steps.” After charging the system’s battery, all you have to do is “insert the beer refill’s pouring spout, place and rotate the beer refill into the tap system to lock into place, close the system, pour and enjoy.”
The Draftmark tap system costs $49.99, and one-gallon refills of Budweiser, Shock Top and Bass Pale Ale will be available for $13.99 each. After you break the seal on a refill bag, the system is supposed to keep the beer fresh for thirty days.
A-B InBev likely developed Draftmark in response to two other macro breweries’ home draft systems—Heineken’s DraughtKeg that has been on the market since 2005 and MillerCoors’ Home Draft that was introduced in 2009. Both of these systems similarly promise fresh beer for thirty days.
Craft breweries have also catered to enthusiasts who want the draft experience at home. For example, Bell’s releases 5-liter mini-kegs of its most popular brews including Oberon, Two Hearted and Hopslam, and Olde Hickory distributes the same-sized containers of a few of its year-round offerings like its Ruby Lager, Table Rock Pale Ale and Piedmont Pilsner. In Bell’s case, the brewery recommends “to finish the container within 24-48 hours” because it fears “the carbonation will start to suffer.”
Perhaps the most popular method of enjoying draft-style beer at home, however, is by way of a growler. Depending on your state’s alcohol laws, you can now even fill up the 64-oz glass jug with craft beer straight from the tap at a grocery store. Whole Foods has “growler stations” at more than thirty-six of their stores, and at one of its New York City locations, “growlers make up half the beer store’s business.”
Nonetheless, macro breweries like A-B InBev, Heineken and MillerCoors have not jumped into the growler game. And a growler, unfortunately, will not keep a beer fresh for anywhere close to thirty days after you open it.
Consider this paragraph near the end of A-B InBev’s press release for Draftmark:
Draftmark also brings a level of casual sophistication to home entertaining, allowing beer drinkers to be more involved in the experience, from selecting the right glass, to learning the perfect pour, to choosing from a variety of beer styles.
This sounds like a bottle party I attended this past weekend where a few other passionate beer enthusiasts shared hard-to-find bottles and growlers full of taproom-only beers. Though we used small tasting glasses throughout the night, we all instinctively poured the growlers at forty-five degree angles for the perfect head, and the variety of styles represented would have made a BJCP Style Committee member’s head spin.
A-B InBev promises that Draftmark will enable you to have this experience with beer that lasts up to thirty days. Regardless of whether your festivities this holiday season will include macro or craft beer, home tap systems or growlers, we can all be thankful for the opportunity to share a draft beer experience in the warmth of our own homes with friends and family.