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Bibendum launches wine keg range as demand grows in on-trade

Published:  02 March, 2015

On-trade supplier Bibendum Wine Ltd has launched a range of wines in kegs which it says will meet a growing demand.

The range of nine wines, which will be available from April 1l, come in 20L kegs which can be placed on the bar to boost the theatre of serving wine in informal dining.

Keg wines currently make up a very small part of the market, but Bibendum says interest grew "dramatically" throughout the latter half of last year. Sales in the US have grown 66% over a year, albeit off a small base, and the trend is expected to take off in the UK.

Buying director Andrew Shaw said the launch had been in the pipeline for a number of months, but it had been important to find the right wines and right storage options.

"There is a real buzz around keg wine and we are offering a wide selection of quality wines in this format," he said. "Keg wine has taken huge steps in the last year - previously it had been quite difficult to make keg wines competitive and qualitative. But the on-trade is developing and experimenting and there is an appetite in the market for the proposition."

The styles of the wine have been chosen to reflect consumer demand based on data from Bibendum's Insights team. They includes a Frizzante, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Malbec.

"We are trying to match our typical target market, so we have an Argentinian Malbec that will appeal to the steak/American grill culture, or a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - good, wholesome, fun wines that are easy to drink and consumer-friendly," he said, adding that one of the key things is educating staff to achieve the perfect serve.

The company has already run a number of trials within the on-trade, and recently presented the range to around 70 national and regional restaurants, pub chains and independents. Consumer catering events is another key target that would help champion keg wines and take them into the mainstream, Shaw said.

The company is working with Dutch specialists KeyKeg on the project. The lighter kegs uses a two-compartment system to ensure the wines are not exposed to propellant gases, and patented double-wall technology to guarantee optimum safety during transport and storage. A single key reduces the wine's carbon footprint by 96 % compared with traditional glass bottles, it says.