Cold coffee brewing technology company BKON has launched a new bag-in-box system for bulk or wholesale cold brew served through a kegerator called the KegX.
Through a partnership with packaging systems maker GoodWest, each KegX unit is made of a recyclable cardboard box with a thin aseptic bag inside that is not recyclable. The system presently offers 3-gallon bags of concentrate or 5-gallon bags of RTD coffee for dispensation through a kegerator. It incorporates BKON’s patented RAIN brewing technology.
KegX is similar to traditional one-way kegs in that it is a single-use product, yet the company says that the application of ultra-high-temperature (UHT) processing creates a shelf life that’s twice as long as traditional keg options while not requiring cold transportation or storage. Thus, BKON says the system has the ability to minimize costs to coffee purveyors with fewer distribution drop-offs and ambient storage capability of the easily stackable boxes.
“We’ve been able to extend the product’s optimal flavor period to a minimum of 180 days,” BKON Co-Founder Lou Vastardis told Daily Coffee News. “The heat treatment process makes the product food-safe to 270 days. We instruct brands to conduct flavor quality testing with their first production, to determine if they wish to extend their best by date beyond 180 days.”
BKON initially rolled out the KegX program last month, as the coffee industry was, and still is, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“BKON is in a unique position in that our business continues to grow during one of the worst economic times in history,” said Vastardis. “Numerous brands started working with BKON prior to the COVID-19 shutdown with a focus on foodservice applications. As we began to witness COVID-19’s impact on the foodservice side of our industry, we accelerated efforts to help customers commercialize 2-liter and 3-liter products that can be shipped directly to customers without refrigeration. The innovation of KegX provides BKON’s coffee partners with even more advantages as they restart their foodservice channels planning.”
Even as the pandemic continues to suppress away-from-home cold brew consumption, Vastardis said interest in the KegX system has picked up as coffee purveyors seek safe solutions with minimal staff training and handling required.
“Numerous brands who have built sizable one-way and stainless-steel keg programs are looking to make the switch,” said Vastardis. “At the same time, KegX is exciting to coffee roasters who previously hesitated to commercialize kegs because they lack refrigerated distribution. If nothing else, the slow down created by COVID-19 is creating an opportune time for coffee brands to prepare for 2021 differently.”
Vastardis said BKON’s next project is to go live with the Storm-XL brewer, a larger version of its existing Storm industrial brewer, scheduled for later this year. With greater concentration strengths, that system will also enable commercialization of BKON’s espresso-like, RAIN-brewed “Coldstretto” product.