Words by Tony Hird
I joined Polykeg in 2019 to develop their business in the UK. Polykeg is an Italian family-owned business based in Bergamo. The owners are passionate about designing and manufacturing the best one-way keg in the world. In the last 2 years, Polykeg has grown from half a dozen customers to over 150 in the UK. A testament to the owner’s passion, yes, but the bigger picture is that more and more breweries are realizing that one-way kegs can significantly improve their business from quicker and cheaper growth to better cash flow and easier processes.
So Exactly How Can One-Way Kegs Make Your Business Bigger and More Profitable?
Selling your product into new markets is much easier with a one-way keg. Polykegs are available in a range of different valves (A, S, D, G, M, K) with or without an inner bag. So, whatever the dispensing requirements are from a new market you can supply a keg to match without the need to invest in new dispensing heads. The cost of entering new markets and acquiring new customers is far less.
You do not need to worry about kegs returns and you buy fewer kegs as you only buy the kegs you sell. This allows you to test markets easier, send samples and get more customers tasting your product.
Polykegs come pre-purged and ready to fill. The filling is simple. They can be filled either upright or inverted and they can be fitted with any valve. Once they have been filled, they have a shelf life of up to 9 months and they can be shipped to any market in the world. With steel kegs, your business must arrange their return from wherever you ship them in the world, then once they are back, they need to be stored, cleaned, and purged ready to be refilled. You also need fewer kegs in your supply chain. With steel kegs, for every keg, you sell you could need up to 15 additional kegs to support your markets. This includes kegs that are with your customers ready to be collected, kegs that are on their journey back to you and kegs which have been returned and are awaiting, cleaning, purging, and refilling. With one-way kegs you only buy what you sell, you eliminate all the returns process and this makes your business much simpler.
Better Cash Flow
One-way kegs are a fraction of the cost of steel kegs, so your initial investment is far less. They are also a fixed cost. There are no hidden or extra costs as with keg rental schemes. One-way kegs are just that, one-way. They do not come back to you. You do not have the cost of returning the keg which can be significant depending on where your export market is. You also do not have to store clean and sterilizing the keg before filling. You no longer have a supply chain of kegs. Depending on where your market is you could need up to 15 steel kegs for every one you sell. Steel kegs with your customer waiting to be returned, kegs being returned, kegs which have been returned stored ready for cleaning, and kegs which have been cleaned ready for filling. With one-way kegs, you only buy what you sell. Polykegs come ready to fill, and once filled you sell them and forget about them. You do not need the storage space for returned kegs, nor the cleaning equipment, water, and chemicals used on steel kegs.
With one-way kegs, you eliminate a significant number of steps in your supply chain process which saves money and improves cash flow.
More Environmentally Friendly
This is surprising because many people think one-way plastic kegs are more harmful to the environment than steel kegs. It is quite the reverse. Every aspect of producing, using, and recycling a plastic one-way keg is better for the environment than a steel keg.
The environmental impact of producing a one-way keg is less than steel. It uses less energy, less water, and is lighter and easier to transport around the world.
Polykegs are 100% recyclable. Polykegs are designed to be easily dismantled and every component in a Polykeg can be recycled. The process of recycling plastic is environmentally better, and recycled plastic is then used to make both new Polykegs and other plastic products.
Finally, Polykegs only travel one-way. There is no return journey, which in some cases could be from the other side of the world. This reduces by half the carbon footprint of the kegs journey. Also, Polykegs do not need to be washed and pre-purged ready for refilling. This further reduces their environmental impact.
Whether you consider using one-way kegs for your domestic market or to explore and expand into new export markets they can allow you to grow with less investment, easier processes, and a significant reduction in your environmental impact.