TricorBraun WinePak supports wine in kegs
Wine-by-the-glass is a financial balancing act in a restaurant’s beverage business. Popular by-the-glass sales let customers sample wines and enjoy them without the expense of purchasing a bottle. However, when the restaurateur opens a bottle, he speculates that it will not spoil before other customers finish it.
Wine kegs offer a way to drain off a great deal of such uncertainty.
“In a standard wine-by-the-glass program, restaurants keep an opened bottle around for hours or days, increasing the threat of oxidation, but that’s not a concern with kegs. By taking the bottle out of the equation, you also eliminate concerns about bottle variation, bottle shock and faulty corks,” according to MaryAnn Worobiec, senior editor of Wine Spectator (Tapped In: Wine in Kegs).
“In addition to enhancing on-premise profitability, kegs are also far more economical for wineries than bottles,” according to Thomas Deegan, PhD, manager of business development for TricorBraun WinePak, North America’s largest supplier of rigid packaging to the wine industry.
The keg eliminates the spoilage caused by oxygen because when wine is withdrawn from a stainless steel keg, it is replaced by an inert gas, such as nitrogen or argon. Oxygen does not come in contact with the wine, extending its “life” from a matter of hours to as much as six months.
A keg holds the equivalent of 26 bottles, requires less storage space and eliminates problems associated with breakage.
Installing a keg wine system is very similar to installing a beer draft system and typically costs the restaurateur between $1,000 to $1,500 per wine selection. The targeted retail price is $8 to $15 per glass for wine served through a keg system.
For wineries, kegs are more economical than bottles. The cost of wine bottles depends upon their country of origin and weight. They range from $5.50 per case to $18 per case.
On the other hand, a wine keg is a onetime expense of between $80 and $100. It holds the equivalent of 2.5 cases of wine. It is not unusual for a keg pay for itself in within three uses, and it can be reused for 30 years. Keg leasing programs are also available for wineries.
Wine shipping costs, which are determined by weight, are reduced with kegs. Each full keg holds the equivalent 2.5 cases of wine and typically weighs 58 pounds. On the other hand 2.5 traditional cases of wine typically weigh 75 to 87 pounds.
Wineries may either fill their own kegs or use an independent filler, who could lease them kegs to fill or fill the kegs for them which costs between $14 to $17 per keg.
In writing about kegs’ reduction in costs, the Wine Spectator reported that “…many keg wines are sold at a discount by as much as 25 percent off the wholesale bottle price, discounts which are passed on to the consumer,” according to Worobiec.
The final judges of wine-by-the-glass served from a keg are restaurant customers who can be assured their wine has not been spoiled by oxidation, had a bad cork, or experienced bottle shock or bottle variation.
According to Wine Spectator columnist Ask Dr. Vinny, “I’m becoming a big fan of the emerging wine-on-tap programs which provide consistently fresh glasses of wine.”
“When kegged wine is served at the correct cellar temperature it is uniformly comparable to the first glass served from the bottle that has been properly stored,” Deegan said.
Kegs also represent an important step in reducing the carbon footprint by reducing the cost of transportation and avoiding the recycling associated with bottles.
TricorBraun WinePak (www.TricorBraunWinePak.com) is North America’s largest supplier of wine packaging. The firm has offices in Northern and Southern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. It has been serving the wine industry since 1982.
The company’s facilities include a $2 million repacking system that automatically transfers wine bottles from eight-foot high stacks of pallets to individual wineries’ custom, printed cartons. It also offers WinePak Direct (www.WinePakDirect.com), which provides individualized service for boutique wineries and wineries with exclusive bottlings.
TricorBraun WinePak is a unit of TricorBraun (www.TricorBraun.com), one of North America’s largest providers of bottles, jars, and other rigid packaging components.