B. United International

We recently caught up with B. United International founder Matthias Neidhart to check in on the status of their incredibly fascinating draft beer container project. Since launching this project back in June of 2010, the company has worked with over thirty breweries from around the world to bring fresh draft beer back to the US. They now have six tank containers traveling to Japan and eleven European countries; each one averaging 6-8 trips per year!

Here’s how it works:

Each of these large temperature and pressure-controlled beer tanks, specifically designed and built for B.United, has four compartments allowing a brewery to ship several styles to the US at one time. The high volume to surface area ratio of the tank compartments eliminates the risk of oxidation and is vastly superior to that of a keg. The tanks are regulated at 32-33 degrees, and the brewer can adjust pressure accordingly, allowing the beer to arrive in the US as fresh as if it just left their holding tanks. A strict cleaning regimine on the tank is conducted twice for each shipment; once before leaving the states and then again upon arrival at the brewery. The beer is then pumped into the tank and shipped back to B.United.

When it arrives at B.United’s state-of-the-art facility, the beer undergoes a strict tasting analysis and notes are compared with the original brewer to ensure the product has arrived in the same condition as which it left the brewery. After the tasting is complete, the beer is either pumped into highly sanitized and clean kegs where it will either be shipped directly into the market or pumped into B.United’s tanks where it will undergo a secondary fermentation.

To date over $1.5 million dollars has been invested in this ground-breaking program that could very well be the future of how overseas breweries can ship beer to the US. Not only does this project increase exposure for small breweries that don’t have the financial means to pay for draft equipment, but it also means that fresher beer is being brought into the US while making as little impact on the environment as possible.

Here are some snapshots of the tank containers’ trips around the world:

 

At Wintercoat Brewery – Denmark

 

 

 

 

At Aecht Schlenkerla – Germany

 

 


At Brouwerij de Glazen Toren – Belgium

 

 

 


At Thornbridge Hall Brewery – England

 

 

 

 


At Porterhouse Brewery – Ireland

 

 

 

 


At Hitachino Brewery – Japan

 

 

 

The following breweries have all participated in the tank container project to date:

Belgium: De Dolle Brouwers, Brouwerij Smisje, Picobrouwerij Alvinne, Brouwerij de Glazen Toren, Brouwerij Strubbe, Hanssens Artisanaal, Brasserie a Vapeur

Germany: Aecht Schlenkerla, Prof. Fritz Briem, Bayerischer Bahnhof/Gosebrauerie Leipzig, Apostelbraeu Hauzenberg

Japan: Kiuchi Brewery

Sweden: Carnegie

Finland: Sinebrychoff

Denmark: Wintercoat

United Kingdom : JW Lees, Harviestoun, Thornbridge Hall, Hambleton, RCH, London Fiels Brewery

Italy: Birrificio Baladin, Birra del Borgo, Piccolo Birrificio, Birrifiico Del Ducato, Birrificio Grado Plato, Birrificio Italiano, Birrificio Loverbeer, Birrifiioc L’Olmaia

Switzerland: Brasserie des Franches Montagnes

Austria: Trappist Monastery St.Engelszell, Brauerei Hofstetten

France: Domaine Dupont, Domaine Christian Drouiin

Holland: Gulpener Brewery


In February 2011, the Hunterdon team was lucky enough to be at B.United when one of the containers arrived from Japan with a fresh supply of fresh Hitachino beers. This gave us a great opportunity to taste the White Ale, Red Rice and Ginger straight from the tank!

 

B.United is also working with their breweries to perform secondary conditioning as needed at their facility in Connecticut. Their kegging and conditioning areas have been certified by the International Trappist Association allowing the newly annointed Stift Engelszell to participate in this program.


The Zymatore project takes things one step further. Upon arrival at the B.United facility, certain batches are being siphoned off into different barrels to age further and gain complexity. A brand new bottling line has been installed to help showcase these special creations in the market. Consumers can expect to see some Zymatore project creations in the New Jersey market later this year!

Here are some more pictures of the tasting analysis, kegging line and B.United facility.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157632634340900″]

Stay tuned for more news on B.United’s latest endeavors and overseas adventures! Cheers!

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