How to keep the brewing industry moving

During a challenging time for UK brewing, working in partnership with those across the industry has been imperative. Here, Chris Roggeband, newly appointed chief executive officer of OneCircle producer of KeyKeg and UniKeg, outlines the approach they've taken to help keep the brewing industry moving.

With the UK market feeling the strain after lockdown and Brexit, we paused but did not stand still. We took some time to connect with our partners and customers to really look at the best way to support them until their demand per keg returned.

Our teams at local level listened to their frustrations and took on board the various challenges of adapting to smaller packaging formats, like can and bottle. While we couldn't sell kegs at usual volumes, what we could do was work on expanding our UK team. With this strategic forward planning, it was possible to ensure the right style of Keg was in the right place at the right time when the hospitality sector reopened.

The supply chain was set up to be robust and reactive to confidently meet peaks in demand. When we expanded our salesforce in the UK, we also created more new jobs at our purpose-built UK production facility in Seaham.

This was opened to support our customers reactively and offer reliability after such a turbulent year. Crucially, we were recruiting from within the British hospitality industry, where the job losses had been so heavy. We have been preparing for Brexit from 2018, we did not expect the pandemic and it certainly hit us hard. We felt it was essential to be physically present in the UK with local teams.

The UK is traditionally our largest market for KeyKeg, and we see service as a crucial element of our success. We aim to provide the best service, keeping stock as close to our customers as possible, reducing transport costs and the environmental footprint. We are now perfectly positioned to offer rapid, cost-effective solutions across the United Kingdom and Ireland, and can continue to strategically support our partners growth as restrictions recede.

Well-rounded ambitions

The last twelve months have really shown the resilience of those working in our industry. It made us even prouder to be part of the supply chain behind the United Kingdom and Ireland's 3000+ breweries.

We are more determined than ever to support these suppliers and their hospitality customers over a period that will be vitally important for them to recoup the last year's financial losses.

For us, the challenges of the pandemic also brought new opportunities, and our forward-thinking team back in Holland adapted and pushed harder to come up with OnePET®, a material that will improve our overall circularity.
The first OnePET® containing KeyKegs were manufactured. It consists of 85% recycled PET - of which 50% originates from our own post-industrial and community connected (post-consumer) KeyKeg PET.

Regular production will see the KeyKeg circular material content rise to approximately 45%, surpassing the EU legislative demands for 2030.
The thirst for change is everywhere, and OneCircle is creating a ripple effect of efficiencies across the UK beverage industry with its high-quality, lightweight product range.

Collectively we are focused on redefining the sustainability expectations within the sector by connecting the dots between people and product.

Our long-term goal is to equip every stakeholder in the supply-chain with the optimum storage and dispensing equipment, with a considerable overall reduction in transport costs, CO2 emissions, and water consumption.

Natalie Maestri, UK Account Manager concludes:"Thanks to our partners, OneCircle was able to make ambitious leaps forward, increasing the recycled material content of the KeyKeg® from 30% to 45%. OneCircle takes responsibility for the end-life of its kegs and continues to add new collection partners in new areas to drive our mission forward. Each new partner is another step in the right direction, with our message and products increasingly circling the globe."