KLM Is Now Serving Heineken Beer On Tap

A couple of months back, KLM announced that they’d be introducing Heineken beer straight from the tap on select KLM flights. That’s right, there’s a special Heineken trolley that flight attendants use to dispense the beer. While I’m not a beer drinker (and I know a lot of people don’t like Heineken), the concept looks awesome, and oh-so-Dutch.

KLM-Beer

While this concept was announced a couple of months ago, the first flight with beer on tap was just completed. That’s because the regulatory approval delayed the introduction of this offering. Unfortunately they only have one trolley so far, so there’s no way to predict which flight will offer beer on tap. Furthermore, this service is limited to business class passengers.

Here’s how KLM describes the offering on their blog:

A nice, cold, fresh beer, drawn straight from the tap – for some there’s no better way to quench one’s thirst. Usually, you’d sit down at a sidewalk café or nip inside to get the golden nectar, but if the desire for draught catches you unawares, aboard a plane, you’re out of luck. But that’s set to change, because KLM recently served its first draught beer in World Business Class! Not on all flights, unfortunately, because we currently have only one KLM beer trolley at our disposal.

Why, you may well ask, and the answer is that an airborne draught trolley is quite a challenge to design and construct. Most draught systems use CO2 to provide the pressure needed to get the beer flowing. This CO2 is usually pumped into the beer keg from a canister. But flight safety regulations dictate that it’s too dangerous to bring CO2 on board an aircraft. So we had to come up with an alternative solution.

Together with Heineken, we developed something completely new. The BrewLock keg is different in that it makes use of air pressure, rather than CO2. The BrewLock technology uses air pressure to bring the keg pressure to the desired level, compensating for the negative pressure on board and generating sufficient tap pressure for serving.

That may sound like a lot of pressure, but the beer is superb! By cooling the keg before the flight and placing it inside a well-insulated container, we can guarantee perfectly chilled beer throughout the flight.

KLM-Heineken

KLM just released a hilarious advertisement to go along with the beer trolley’s first flight, which I think is much more agreeable than the ad campaign I wrote about yesterday:

Bottom line

Ultimately this is a gimmick more than anything, given that there’s only one such trolley so far. There’s no way to know in advance whether your flight will have the trolley, but rather it’ll just have to be a pleasant surprise if your flight does have it. At least it’s a creative gimmick.

Would you like to see beer on tap on your next flight?

Comments

  1. Hmm…would be thrilled if they were serving Guinness from the tap. I suppose bringing a canister of CO2, if it escaped, could be dangerous with the intermittent air-circ system. Surprised that they didn’t exchange it for N2 – already a medium of compression for some very nice drafts.

  2. Too bad it is garbage beer!
    Alaska Airlines offers craft beer in bottles which IMHO is 1000 times better than run-of-the-mill Heineken

  3. Plenty of my friends like Heineken, but it never did it for me…but awesome concept. I agree with Kent, that Guinness or similar would be way better. Guinness uses G-Mix propellant which is 75% Nitro and 25% CO2. They must be using a fully enclosed pre-pressurized keg, as a gas cylinder can be dangerous even when on the ground. Back in my bartending days, I saw one severely damage a storage room when it fell over just right, broke the valve, and flew all over the place.

  4. Would much, much rather have a good beer in a bottle than a crappy beer on tap. It always kills me when airlines have $100+ bottles of champagne and liquor in FC, but they can’t also stock a few good beers that cost more than a dollar a bottle. I hope this is a trend that changes in the next few years, but I’m not holding my breath.
    Airlines should do beer tasting menus with micro brews from their home countries. This would draw customers and save them money on wine and liquor they didn’t need to buy.

  5. @tom – The alcohol selection on a plane is an interesting vestige of traditional French attitudes towards drinking. In first,and even sometimes in business, airlines stock $50-$200 bottles of champagne and top shelf alcohol. Yet, few airlines stock bottles of beer that would cost at most 12 bucks a six pack wholesale and many are probably closer to a dollar a bottle. It does not make a lot of sense. Beer weighs a bit more than champagne per drink but is far cheaper. It does seem like stocking a limited selection of good craft beer could save some money for the airline. If they can convince a few people per flight to trade a couple glasses of champagne for beer, it could save the airline some real cash over the course of a year.

    Personally, I am never going to make that trade since I far prefer wine and spirits to beer (especially with cost being equal) but there are certainly people beer lovers who would.

  6. I like canned beer better than tap beer. Except for Guinness of course – that’s far superior on tap.

  7. I had a bartender in Amsterdam also tell me they use it as dishwater, haha. They should have gone with Grolsch.

  8. @Dave,

    I think Japanese, Korean and American airlines could pull this off the best. They all have pretty strong craft brewing cultures that an airline could easily (and cheaply) co-opt. If given the choice between drinking OB and Johnnie Walker Blue, I’m going to choose the expensive one. With a little more effort, they could avoid opening that expensive bottle.

  9. Okay, I’ll say it: That ad made me laugh out loud. Literally. My belly jiggled. (Don’t draw a visual)

    And who doesn’t know someone/people like that? Some of *us* right here are those two guys! (Exception being, of course, moi)

    This was great.

  10. @Tom @Dave – totally agree, inexpensive change, probably money saver overall for the airline, much better f&b situation for pax. Virgin Australia serve fat yak pale ale in cans and they are always first off the trolley…

  11. It’s a great idea, but to advertise this with just one single trolley for the entire fleet…. The chances are really low that you will have that on your next flight, and the number of people severly disappointed will be much higher than the number of people delighted.

  12. the concept is ‘oh so Dutch’- im sorry but what about pouring beer on tap is exclusively Dutch? What an ignorant comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *