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Maison Coquard: Growing a new business – wines in kegs

06-25-2019 | Door lwc

Maison COQUARD  is an independent and family owned "boutique" wine and drink agency in Beaujolais set up 14 years ago by Christophe Coquard who comes from a long line of wine growers. The business originally specialised in Beaujolais and played an important role in the revitalization of the region, selling 25cl bottles to retail stores, restaurants and exporters.


Maison Coquard: Growing a new business – wines in kegs

Around six years ago, Christophe started working with Ireland's only wine on tap specialist, Wine Lab who introduced him to a totally new concept - wine in KeyKegs. He investigated this technology in detail as, at that time, it was totally unknown in France. Then, convinced it was a good idea and a great business opportunity, he asked his bottling partner to start filling wine in KeyKeg as well as bottles. Understandably, there was some reluctance at the beginning purely because the packaging format was unfamiliar.

Christophe started with a small selection of high-quality wine in kegs – Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and enjoyed rapid growth, having ensured that users understand the technical use of the kegs and how to palletise them properly. Maison COQUARD is now firmly established as a specialist in France for French wines in Kegs, and also works with RANK in the Netherlands  and is currently building relationships in the USA and Sweden.

Maison COQUARD now offers a completely unique wine list that strikes the right balance between traditional French varieties and regional AOC wines. You'll find Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir from Pays d'Oc, but you'll also find Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais Blanc and even Chablis.

The success of wine in KeyKegs is down to the revolutionary technology which offers all of the storage and preservative qualities of a metal keg, but you can put it in your recycling bin when empty. Christophe believes that this is a game-changer when it comes to wine service and explains why:

  • A better glass of wine: The last glass is as fresh as the first – the kegs of still wine stay fresh for over two months and sparkling wine stays bubbly for just as long once tapped. An open bottle of still wine generally spoils within 24 hours, and even a "Vin au Verre" system will only keep wine fresh for 21 days. So, there's no more gambling on wine by the glass. Smoother service and shorter time to table No corks to pull, no glass to dump, no cases to break down, and no wastage from uneven bottle ends. Less messing about in the bar area means a streamlined service.
  • Reduced storage: A 20L keg holds 26.6 bottles worth of wine – a reduction of over 50% of the storage footprint of bottled wine.
  • Reduced waste: The kegs are crushable by hand and are completely recyclable. Changing just one house wine to tap format will save you the disposal costs of 1.2 metric ton of glass waste per year. One 20L keg removes the need for 16kg of glass, 26 capsules, closures and labels, and 1.6kg of cardboard.
  • Smarter than steel: Steel kegs have to be returned to the fillers and have the added cost of deposits in the supply chain. KeyKegs have been thoroughly tested by the renowned Technical University Munich and Geisenheim Institute of Wine in Germany and offer the same preservative qualities as steel kegs when tested for microbiological stability, transport stability, colour, oxygen uptake, and CO2 loss.
  • Value: With kegs we're saving you money at every step. You don't pay for the cost of the marketing guff, bottles, labels, capsules, or cases. The lightweight kegs make shipping cheaper and we pass all these savings on to you.
  • Anything else? The savings don't end at our prices – you'll remove all spoilage costs from oxidation and corked bottles, shrink storage cost and electricity cost by reducing refrigeration space, and remove the glass disposal cost of the replaced wines.

Christophe has such confidence in KeyKeg that he wants to develop the "wines in kegs" business around the world with importers dedicated to providing quality wine on tap to restaurants, bars and pubs. However, he also points out that whilst using KeyKeg guarantees that every glass is identical and as fresh as the first, you still need to put good wine in there!

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