Airline offers first mile high pub

By Becky Pemberton for MailOnline

You'll soon be able to enjoy a crisp glass of Heineken on KLM flights. Photo / iStock
You'll soon be able to enjoy a crisp glass of Heineken on KLM flights. Photo / iStock

Dutch airline KLM is set to launch the first ever service with draught beer on tap.

The company said that it's able to do so after years of experimenting with keg designs. It confirmed that it has now succeeded in pouring the perfect pint at high altitude using an innovative dispenser.

It was developed by Dutch brewing giant Heineken and KLM hopes to use the prototype on random intercontinental flights in its network.

"We are always looking for typical Dutch products to set us apart from other companies,' says KLM Inflight Services Vice-President Miriam Kartman.

"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."

For Heineken, it was something of a technical challenge.

Edwin Griffioen, who designed the new installation, said: "Because the air pressure is so much lower in an aeroplane than at sea level, a traditional beer tap will not work as it will only dispense a huge amount of foam.

"We do have dispensers that work on air pressure, but these were too big to fit in a plane.
'It was one big jigsaw puzzle, as the keg of beer, the cooling system and the air pressure compressor all had to fit in an airline catering trolley.

"In the end we had to leave out one of those pieces to make it all fit, so with pain in our hearts we had to leave the cooling behind."

The kegs of beer - four per flight - are now being delivered to Amsterdam Airport already cooled.

Griffioen said: "We redesigned the trolley to resemble a giant thermos flask. The beer has to remain under five degrees Celsius.

"In our latest test, we easily managed a temperature of 3.5C after seven hours.

"We managed to set the diameter of the tap and the air pressure to exactly the right combination, which delivers at 36,000 feet exactly the same beer as you would get on the ground."

Unfortunately for Griffioen, he might have to wait to see his invention on board KLM planes.

KLM was set to introduce draught beers on a flight to Curacao on July 2, but had to postpone it as it is still waiting for the right safety certificates from civil aviation authorities.

They expect to be able to use the new device on some select flights from August onwards.

- Daily Mail

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