By James Wells

SYDNEY: Sunbeam will launch a beer tap system for Christmas which will chill five litre kegs purchased through bottle shops as well as a universal keg that can dispense home brew as well as non-alcoholic beverages.

This morning, Sunbeam lifted an embargo on the announcement to the appliance industry after providing a preview that was held at its head office in Botany last Tuesday.

The Sunbeam Beer Mate (RRP $569) is a Chinese-made product which is designed to appeal to Australian consumers who drink 1.8 billion litres of beer annually or 90 litres per person.

“Tapping into Australia’s love of beer, the new Sunbeam Beer Mate enables consumers to enjoy chilled beer on tap at home,” said Sunbeam category manager, Adam Tacey, who is also responsible for the company’s gas barbecues and heating products.

“Wiith the likes of the Ashes [cricket] series coming up, many consumers will appreciate the opportunity to watch their big screen televisions with a freshly drawn beer in hand,” Tacey said.

“And of course, there’s nothing like a barbie and beer, but this year the beer will taste even better. I’m sure it will be a ‘must have’ this summer,” he said.

According to Tacey, other proprietary appliances including the Philips Perfect Draught and a system sold by Heineken have generated sales of more than 250,000 units in the first 12 months of launch.

The Beer Mate features an internal compressor cooling system and a 22 PSI pump as well as variable temperature control to allow consumers to drink their beverage at the preferred temperature.

Sunbeam claims that the Beer Mate maintains the set temperature and keeps the beer fresh for a week.

“Consumers have the option of purchasing a five-litre keg of commercial beer to drop into the unit or they can fill an empty ‘universal’ keg with any beverage they choose – from home brew to soft drinks.”

The Beer Mate is supplied with several adaptors to suit various keg shapes and sizes as well as a drip tray and one six-litre universal keg.

The product will be available from December and will be supported by a Pay TV promotional campaign in January.