Sweden stops sale of New Zealand beer after cans explode

Garage Project brewery in Aro Valley, Wellington. Photo / Garage Project
Garage Project brewery in Aro Valley, Wellington. Photo / Garage Project

Sales of a New Zealand-produced beer have started with a bang in Sweden. And ended.

Sales of Aro Noir were halted Friday, the same day they began, because authorities reported that some cans exploded.

Systembolaget said customers who bought of Aro Noir by the Wellington-based brewery Garage Project should return the cans and get their money back. One customer told the Herald his can exploded, and Systembolaget said cans had exploded in two stores.

This photo, sent by a reader, shows the can of Aro Noir exploding.
This photo, sent by a reader, shows the can of Aro Noir exploding.

On its Website, Systembolaget described Aro Noir as have a "malty, roasted aroma with hints of pumpernickel bread, coffee, prunes, cocoa, tobacco and licorice." It was sold at 33.90 kronor ($5.22) for a 33-centiliter (11.16 fluid oz) can.

In Sweden, alcohol is sold only through Systembolaget's nationwide network of more than 430 stores.

Jos Ruffel, co-founder of Garage Project, confirmed there had been an issue with a batch of Aro Noir. He said consumers had reported over gassed cans and an instance of cans leaking beer on a shelf top.

"After laboratory testing of retention samples we found that a number of cans of Aro Noir were over carbonated. The issue was isolated to two batches of Aro Noir with no evidence of problems in any other beers. This is a beer quality issue with no negative impact from a health perspective. However the result was extremely foamy beer and in a couple of instances the buildup of pressure had been sufficient to pop the seam of the can causing beer to spray out," he said.

"On discovering this we contacted Ministry of Primary Industries immediately and launched a voluntary product withdrawal across New Zealand and Australia. The cans were returned and destroyed and the MPI case has been closed.

"Unfortunately it appears that a very small amount of the affected batch of Aro Noir has found its way to Sweden. We are currently looking into how this happened and why this stock was not captured in our recall plan. "

Ruffel said the discovery is "extremely upsetting" for Garage Project.

"This is the first time we have had quality issues of this nature and this batch of cans accounts for 0.06 per cent of the can stock sold this year," he said.

There is no danger to consumers, Ruffel said, as cans cannot shatter, and the beer would be safe to drink.

He said over-carbonation can cause the can seam to fail and resulting in beer spraying from the can.

"While there is no risk to people's health, the result is obviously extremely messy, especially with a black beer like Aro Noir," he said.

- With AP

- NZ Herald

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