Tap King a beauty, but why pay more for the same beer?

Sales of Lion’s Tap King home draught beer dispenser got off to a roaring start. But, in the long run, will beer drinkers continue paying a premium for draught versions of existing packaged products?

At Dan Murphys, for example, James Squire Golden Ale costs $7.97 a litre in Tap King 3.2 litre kegs – an eight per cent premium over the $7.37 a litre price of 345ml bottles.

The unit works well. In a recent test, a friend assembled the unit and poured the first beer within 90 seconds. We then compared draught and stubby versions, noting a better head and slightly fresher taste of the keg beer. Otherwise, the flavours were identical.

A former Vintage Cellars colleague believes Lion risks disaffection when users realise they’re paying more for the same beer. Lion missed the opportunity to hang their hat on a better product, he says.

James Squire The Chancer Golden Ale 345ml 6-pack $18.99
We recently compared Squire Gold Ale from stubby and the new 3.2 litre Tap King keg version. They’re identical beers, but the keg version held a better head and tasted slightly fresher. Amarillo hops adds apricot-like notes to the aroma and flavour of a lively beer designed for easy drinking.

Copyright Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 21 August 2013 in the Canberra Times and goodfood.com.au