Heineken USA has debuted a plug-and-pour draft beer system aimed at on-premise accounts.
“BLADE turns any countertop into a bar. It’s perfect for small restaurants or bars that don’t do enough volume for a standard draft beer setup,” said Heineken Brand Manager Raul Esquer Lopez at the BLADE launch party, held in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
Alternatively, the portable draft system could augment service if set up in party rooms for special events or outdoors on patios.
The standalone BLADE beer dispenser has a small, 11.4-in. x 18.5-in. footprint and is easy to set up: it requires only an electrical outlet—no plumbing or glycol/CO2 lines needed. Changing out the top-loading kegs is easy. They come with their own spout, so there is no need to clean beer lines and no deposit required for the disposable keg.
The 8-liter PET “keg” uses a proprietary BrewLock system. It works somewhat like a wine bag-in-box: pressure inside the keg squeezes an inner wall, pushing the carbonated beer out. Air never touches the beer, so there is no oxidation and the product stays fresh for 30 days with nearly 100% yield, according to Heineken.
The BLADE draught units will sell for just under $500. Right now, said Lopez, kegs for the machines are available with draft Heineken and Birra Moretti; however, the company plans to make other beers from its portfolio available, such as Tiger and its Mexican brands.
Thomas Henry Strenk is a Brooklyn-based writer specializing in all things drinkable. Read his recent piece, Vodka Regains its Voice in the Mixology Movement.