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In the original box
I recently received a Draftmark Tap System, from Anheuser-Busch, to review. The product is a tap kit and is touted as providing fresh, draft beer in your home. 

I opened the box and pulled out a the main tap system, which was black plastic and about the size of a coffee maker. It also included a battery and battery pack. The battery pack is responsible for providing pressurize air that  pushes the beer out the tap, since there is no additional CO2 provided, and the website states that the air does not come in contact with the beer (a good thing). I charged it for 6 hours. In the meantime, I chilled my large plastic container of Bass Ale, 11 12 oz. servings, that was provided in addition to the kit. 

After the battery was charged, I put the kit together, which only took a few minutes, and poured my first beer. It poured pretty well, if not a bit foamy, but tasted great and was similar to the caramelly mellow goodness of Bass Ale. Now, with the kit together, I am to store it in my refrigerator for up to 30 days for beer on demand. When I run out, I will be able to purchase additional beer refills to place in the system. 


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Unpacked, with the beer refill in the background
Overall, I think it is a bit gimmicky and it depends on your audience whether they would like it or not. The pros: The system is easy and quick to put together and the beer pours pretty well. There also is very limited upkeep and cleaning: there is no CO2 to worry about and a new spout comes with each new refill, so you don't have to clean any lines. 

However, it doesn't really offer anything special as compared to buying a 6-pack of beer or a mini-keg and pouring that in a glass. I don't think that having a black plastic contraption in my fridge is fooling or impressing anyone regarding providing fresh keg beer. For real beer lovers, I believe the black plastic would feel a bit cheap. Personally, if I wanted a draft beer, I'd either go to a bar or I'd purchase a nicer kegerator with the proper CO2 set up. I'm also guessing that only Anheuser-Bush beers will be sold with this device (the website identifies five such beers - Bass Ale, Shock Top, Shock Top Wheat IPA, Goose Island Honker's Ale, and Michelob Amerbock, although it says that they may be expanded), so you'd be limited in your beer drinking. 

All in all, those who are just starting to get into beer who drink a lot of Anheuser-Bush products would be better suited for the DRAFTMARK Tap System, where you beer enthusiasts and beer snobs would probably not. 

The system retails for $49.99 and the beer refills cost between $13.99 and $15.99. You can find stores that sell them at draftmark.com

Cheers, 
Bruce

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Put together with a full Bass Ale
 


Comments

salazarjohn
01/17/2013 12:42pm

I recieved mine for free and I really liked the concept but its too much a hassle to track down the refills.

Binny's Beverage Depot sells them but the one closest to me is quite a drive away.

Price wise $14.00 for a gallon of beer seems a bit expensive to me especially when you can get most 12 packs from $10.99 to $14.99.

If your not picky and are ok with cans most 24pk cases cost about the same and give you twice the beer.

I think I'll be posting mine on ebay.

Reply
Bruce
01/18/2013 1:21pm

Hi John! Yeah I think you're right. It's tough because buying a pack of bottles or a case of cans is so easy and relatively inexpensive. Thanks for commenting!

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01/18/2013 2:26pm

I actually really liked the Shock Top beer that is offered in this system. And if they could get two things down it would be worth it.

First they have to nail down the logistics of it. They would have to give away a TON of the units to create demand for the refills. I'd get retailers involved in some sort of raffle for their customers. The second part to this is retailers have to actually sell the refills.

The Second thing they have to do is make MORE FLAVORS! Cmon there are tons of great beers out there. So why not offer the cheaper beers for the system as well? They should be offering their TOP 20 selling beers AND then another 10 OR MORE "specialty or special purchase" options. (right now I think they have 5)

If I walked into a store and saw a display of beers I liked THEN maybe I would plop down my $50..

As it stands I'll probably buy a few refills of the Shock Top the next time I'm in Naperville which unfortunatly only happens 1 or 2 times per year.

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Mark Sehnet
06/19/2013 6:55pm

I just bought mine because the tapper was 1/2 off. Whereas I like the beer. I always purchase either ShockTop or BlueMoon; depends which one is cheaper. I am totally disappointed in the cost of the refills. Why should I be punished by helping out Mother Nauture? Meaning I bought this tapper system thinking not only would I not be throwing away tons of beer cans anymore, but I would be saving money by less packaging costs. Not the case, I am hoping once I register my unit, I will start receiving good coupons for being a loyal customer. I only hope! I'm doing my part.

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06/19/2013 6:58pm

Oops - forgot to leave my website! And I meant to say beer bottles - my family are avid recyclers. However, the 1st and most important R is to Reduce. This is key to reduce usage wherever possible first then you move to the Reuse and ultimately Recycle (the last R).

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Don Mason
10/11/2013 1:46pm

Just bought mine and am looking at storing it in my outside frige. The shop keeper says they might have a pumpkin ale for shock top. Has anyone heard is this going to be long term product or a fad?

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11/06/2013 2:12pm

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