Jonathan Doyle & Rebecca Mooney
Diageo Guinness Keg
National University of Ireland Maynooth
Diageo Guinness Keg
It was pleasantly surprising to discover such professionalism from the student body. The concept aroused great admiration because it addresses many issues in our 10-point criteria list, from ecology to ergonomics and aesthetics.
This concept completely revolutionizes a banal container into an aesthetic and functional, promotional container.
Diageo Guinness Keg
Diageo has used the same problematic system for storing draught beer for several decades. Our design project was to address the problems they are having with costs, maintenance and staff safety. We designed a one-trip keg that can be shipped from its filling point and then are recycled after the beer is consumed. The new Guinness Keg allows for injection moulding making it lighter and cheaper. Maintenance is no longer a factor as the keg is destroyed after use. The reduced capacity of 20 litres means that kegs will be changed faster reducing the chance of a bad pint.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Two professional representatives came into our college to provide us with a brief with the final aim to aid the designers in Diageo solve their current keg problem. We were asked to design a one-trip keg or vessel which will ideally be of lower cost and carbon footprint then the current the steel returnable keg. We were proved with the specification that the vessel we design had to hold between 5 and 50 litres but we could create our own dispensing proposition or use the existing infrastructure in place. They also gave us the opportunity to pick any brand owned by Diageo once the drink was carbonated as the focus of their problem was on kegs used to store and transport carbonated beers around the world.
The challenge after that was creating our own brief; decide on specifications and research in depth into the problems faced in the steel keg system. The problems we found to be of significant importance was the maintaining and shipping of kegs across seas. The existing steel keg would be shipped, used and then shipped back empty leading to a mass cost for transporting empty containers. They also needed to be washed before reuse and if a keg is damaged by the slightest dent it need repaired while any other damage normally means destruction of the keg.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
We decided on an objective to design a one-trip keg for the Guinness brand that could hold pressurised stout beer across Europe and the world. We wanted to create something that was suitable to domestic use as drinking pints at home is growing while keeping the keg design robust and practical for use in pubs and bars. After much discussion and brainstorming we decided on designing a solution that would fit the current keg system in bars so that bar staff would not need to be trained on a new system and cold rooms would not need new fittings.
The Guinness brand was chosen as we wanted to aim for a product that would fit the iconic brand known worldwide and has lasted the test of time. As a product that is constantly outside of bars they are seen by consumers but rarely have any brand recognition on them. We felt a need to change that and appeal to people’s emotional and personal attachment to a brand like Guinness. We brought our knowledge of materials and plastics to the project to make a keg that was recyclable and safe to drink from. From our study of materials we found a 100% polypropylene material created at the University of Leeds that would be perfect for our keg.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
As part of our preparation for this project we followed a number of research methods. To explore and understand the brand we went on field trips to the Guinness Storehouse and other Diageo facilities in Dublin. Here we noted points that Guinness and other brands tried sell as important factors in creating their brand. These field trips were only helpful for the understanding of the brand and didn’t proved much as far as technical understand of the processes and logistics involved.
Interviews with staff in all levels of the process from the Diageo team to the bar staff at point of purchase was an integral part of our research to gain understanding the problems faced by all individuals coming into contact with kegs. We had individuals from Diageo come into to use thanks to our tutors and all other research was carried out through us phoning companies and going into pubs and bar asking to see how they handled kegs. Photography became a significant part of this research to help us understand the difficulties faced by the manual labourers lifting and moving kegs.
Some of our more technical interviewees and research allowed us to put together specifications that needed to be met. For Guinness even the smallest details are important to how Guinness tastes and our solution would need to fit these details.
We were also able to bring our own personal experience of working in pubs to back-up; improving our research and giving us an idea of what to look out for when we were performing ethnographic studies like observation in bars.
As materials became a bigger part of our solution we looked further into thermoplastics and recyclable materials. Much of our decision making was set by specifications defined through earlier research like pressure and food safe materials. For the materials we went set upon the 100% Polypropylene for the body of the keg which we found from researching self-reinforced recyclable plastics. On the inside we decided to build upon the Tetra Pak range as we found that plastics used as containers can often cause a change in taste.
To understand shaping and form as we wanted our design to fit the iconic brand that is Guinness we used 3D printing. This allowed us to explore shapes that would be suitable to hold pressure while keeping and elegant shape. As part of this we also ran simulations on Solidworks Simulation Xpress to test how it would hold the 30 psi required by Guinness.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
All the problems Diageo provided to us and we discovered ourselves through research were thoroughly addressed by the new Guinness Keg design. Due to its manufacturing process of injection moulding and material selection it is a far more economically viable option than manufacturing and maintaining the current steel keg. As the main body of the new Guinness Keg is 100% polypropylene it can be widely recycled after its life and there is no pollution caused from shipping empty kegs around the globe. The iconic image of Guinness is matched by the new keg design that follows a similar styling and branding to the new pint glasses. The keg itself is not only instantly recognisable as a Guinness product by passers-by but after the keg is removed from dusty or wet areas the Guinness logo is left temporarily imprinted on the ground. Lighter and smaller than the existing solution it is safer for all those that come into contact with the new Guinness Keg. Being lighter means the bar staff and other workers that may be forced to carry the keg will be less likely to suffer back problems and other accidents. The handles of the keg are designed to allow for kegs to be stacked firmly on top of each other meaning there is less likely of kegs slipping or falling out of place when transported.