Is It A Bar? Is It A Plane? It’s Both!
Good news for all the beer lovers out there. I think we can safely say there’s no bottle or can that can beat freshly drafted, cold beer in a glass. It’s just not the same. Up until recently, you were obliged to drink your liquid gold from those non-original resources when flying on a plane. Quite logical, since it’s nearly impossible to get good quality beer when airborne, due to the differences in air pressure on the aircraft. You simply can’t get the beer to come out of the pipelines with the proper pressure that is needed for a quality glass. High pressured gas tanks on a plane have never really been a good idea. Luckily, there have been a few big airlines and famous beer companies that’ve joined forces so you can drink your perfect beer on board and really enjoy your flight.
Where It All Started: ANA
All the credits go to Japan’s All Nippon Airlines. As is with (too) many inventions the past few years, the Japanese beat everyone else being the first airline to find a way to serve draft beer on their aircrafts. In 2010 they figured out how to get the liquids safely out of the pipe without sacrificing safety. By using dry ice stored in a container, that releases sufficient pressure when turning from solid to gas, they can build enough pressure to get a draft beer like the ones you’d get on the ground. Unfortunately, they only serve draft beer on flights under 2,5 hours, which is not that bad since they only have about 20 beers in store for the whole flight. And we all know that’s not even enough for 3 passengers that are in a let’s-go-party-mode.
KLM & Heineken
But we now have another airline on the draft beer market! KLM joined forces with Heineken, one of the largest (Dutch) beer companies in the world. They’ve figured out another way to get draft beer up in the air without the use of CO2! The problem that needed to be solved is that you need to put a compressor, a cooling system, the beer AND the tap system itself onto a trolley that fits through the isle.
Tough job you say? Not for Heineken. They kept having one of the parts NOT fitting into the trolley. You can’t have beer without a compressor, you can’t have beer without a tap, you can’t have beer that isn’t cooled, and you most certainly can’t have beer without beer. The solution? They simply left one of the parts out: the cooler. Who would’ve thought of that? By isolating the beer storage unit, the beer actually stays underneath 5 ºC for up to seven hours and 11 km above sea level. Problem solved. We’re curious if the KLM flight attendants will get some sort of special beer draft training. To ensure full enjoyment of a beer you certainly you want it to be tapped the right way.
The Craft Beers Of Delta Airlines
Even though a draft beer on flight is indeed pretty cool, Delta decided to put in a different kind of effort. Instead of hiring a billion dollar company to design a tap system they simply upgraded their craft beer assortment significantly. They now serve several craft beers from local breweries on some of their domestic flights. They serve up to 30 different beers. Only if you don’t mind drinking from a can of course. In 2015 Delta won an award for the best (US carrier) beer selection, scored by beer-rating site, Beer Advocate. In addition National Beer Day was celebrated by Delta serving local brews on board and complimentary regional craft beer at 35 Delta SkyClubs nationwide.
Why So Much Effort For On-Flight Beers?
It might all seem a bit silly. So much effort and money to serve beer on a plane? Just have cocktails and everyone’s happy right? That’s not quite the case. According to statistics, Mileage Plus member are aged 35-44, often married, have higher incomes and have more post-graduate degrees. And let this almost exactly be the same numbers for craft beer drinkers. Mystery solved.
After increased fares for extra baggage, decreasing leg room and less comfortable seats, airlines are looking for new ways to keep their passengers happy. So why not beer? I rest my case. Let’s hope many more airlines will follow their footsteps and start upgrading their beer game.