Anheuser-Busch taps into at-home draft beer market

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Anheuser-Busch said today it rolled out a home draft system targeted to beer enthusiasts who want to tap draft beer from their refrigerators.

The Draftmark tap system, available only in the St. Louis market, holds one-gallon containers of beer that can be kept fresh for up to a month. According to directions from the Budweiser brewer, users charge the tap system’s battery, insert the pouring spout into the beer refill, place and rotate the beer refill into the tap system to lock into place, close the system and then pour.

The dispenser costs $50 and the beer refills — which are available in Budweiser, Bass pale ale and Shock Top Belgian White and each hold eleven 12-once servings — cost $14. The system is available at some Dierbergs, Schnucks, Shop ‘n Save and Randall’s stores in St. Louis and will become more widely available throughout St. Louis in February 2012.

I called A-B’s Draftmark number, 1-877-97-DRAFT, to find out which 12 retailers are selling the Draftmark: Dierbergs in Brentwood and Ellisville; Schnucks in Des Peres, Chesterfield and on Butler Hill Road; Shop ‘n Save in St. Charles and Ellisville; Randall’s in Fairview Heights and on South Jefferson and Old Halls Ferry Road in St. Louis; Lukas Liquor in Ellisville; and Friar Tuck’s in Crestwood.

“Our innovation team is continually experimenting with new beer styles, packaging and concepts, and we’re always looking for the next idea that meets an unmet consumer need,” said Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation at Anheuser-Busch.

What do you think about A-B’s new Draftmark? Is this something you’ll be buying for Christmas presents? Or will you stick to bottles and old-fashioned kegs instead?