Sep 10, 2016 | By Tess

While a cold bottle of beer can be thirst quenching, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as taking the first few sips from a cold, freshly poured draught beer, whether you’re on a sunny patio, at a bar, or on a plane. Yes, that’s right. On a plane. The tasty breakthrough is thanks to Dutch airline KLM, which finally figured out how to serve fresh draught beer from the tap thousands of feet in the air. How did they manage this, you might ask. Well, we’ll give you a little hint, 3D printing helped!

To the delight of an exclusive group of flyers in World Business Class, KLM recently served its very first Heineken from the tap on its August 31st flight to Curaçao. The achievement, for those unaware of how draught beer works, is substantial as the airline (in collaboration with Dutch beer giant Heineken) was finally able to overcome the challenge of designing a draught trolley that would both work and be safe in the air.

Traditionally, draught systems use pressure from CO2 to keep the beer from the tap flowing, for safety reasons, however, CO2 canisters are not allowed on flights, so an alternative method had to be created. Finally, after much research and development, KLM and Heineken devised the innovative and 3D printed BrewLock keg, which uses air pressure instead of CO2 to keep the cold beer flowing from the tap, even in pressure-controlled airplane cabins. 3D printing was used to create the specially designed parts for the in-flight keg.

“We are always looking for typical Dutch products to set us apart from other companies,” explained Miriam Kartman, KLM’s Inflight Services Vice-President. “Heineken is our beer partner for many years, and we both know that customers rate a beer from draught higher than out of a can.”

According to KLM, the taste of the Heineken beer they will be serving on flights is just the same as what you would be served with your feet planted firmly on earth. In fact, it will even be as cold! The airline has achieved this last feat by pre-cooling the keg before takeoff and then housing it in a specially designed insulating container, which will maintain the beer’s optimal temperature.

Unfortunately, the fresh draught beer service won’t be available on all flights, at least for the foreseeable future, due largely in part to the complicated and expensive process of 3D printing the system and pressurizing the air. Like all flying perks, the in-flight draught beer will only be available to World Business Class flyers, and even then, only on certain special KLM flights.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/12/2016 9:51:13 AM:

Pretty cool invention, could make it on stores' shelves to provide cheaper tap beer.

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