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May 23, 2017 6 Comments

Launched in 2013 Tap King looked like being a decent option for people wanting to have beer on tap at home. After buying the plastic dispenser and a 3.2L disposable plastic bottles of a select range of beers you simply took them home, chilled them and then attached them to the dispenser to have beer on tap in the fridge.

tap king dispenser

On paper I'm sure their marketing team thought it sounded like a good idea. I don't know of a single beer drinker who wouldn't want "frosty cold, perfectly poured beer" on tap in their kitchen, bbq area or home bar.

Not every beer lover has space for a kegerator at home, nor would it be a worthwhile investment (often costing well over $1000 to fully set up with kegs and gas etc). Even if you did set up a complete system, unless you have a brewery willing to fill 19L kegs nearby the only way to use it is to become a home brewer, something not everyone has the time or inclination for.

So Lion saw an opportunity and they took it and a bunch of people jumped at the chance to have a "range of affordable" tap beer at home.

Unfortunately what was delivered was nothing like the promise. The whole thing being made of plastic made it feel like a cheap marketing gimmick and the fact that the price per litre of beer was actually a good bit higher than the same beer in bottles or cans despite it only being a single plastic bottle instead of 24 glass bottles for packaging left a bad taste in your mouth before you even poured a beer...

Unfortunately the problems continued from there.

For one thing nearly every shop stocking them only had them warm on the shelf. This meant you had to, according to the directions, wait 9 hours for the bottle to chill, meaning you had to think ahead by at least a day. This is mainly due to plastic being a pretty efficient insulator compared to glass or aluminium (you can spin a warm aluminium tinny of beer on ice and have it chilled in 1 mins! See a video here)

The other problem came when you went to pour your 1st beer (after waiting for it to chill) often the first glass was nothing but froth and in many cases there were faults with the gas system so that the beer only dribbled out flat and lifeless.

 

You can build your own tap king replacement system from 2 litres to 10 litres with a world of options available.

build you own replacement

 

It became obvious in July of 2015 that Lion was re-thinking it's product when they reduced the range of beers available to be only the James Squire range (more expensive) severely limiting what was already a very narrow range of choices (till then it had included XXXX, Tooheys and Hahn). When they announced the entire range had been discontinued in Jan 2016 it was both unsurprising and at the same time incredibly frustrating for the loyal customers who had actually had a good run with the equipment and bottles and were happy with the product.

The Tap King Facebook page got inundated with disappointed and angry users who had purchased the dispensers but now have no way of buying refills.

What the customers were left with was an unusable plastic dispenser and the option to contact Lion (this wasn't publicly announced by Lion of course) to be sent a replied paid satchel they could return it in. Upon Lion receiving the returned dispenser they said they would post out a $30 voucher in compensation. So customers had to contact the company, wait for a satchel to be delivered, pack the dispenser and take it to a post office then wait for a voucher to be delivered at some time in the future... Understandably a lot of customers were annoyed by what was clearly seen as a large multi-national company only thinking about profits.

So when we (iKegger) as a small Australian company put up an offer on our website to get a discount of $30 on one of our all stainless steel mini keg systems in exchange for sending us a picture of your smashed Tap King we got a lot of people very happy to do so.

In fact, a little worryingly to begin with, one old fella turned up on my doorstep with his dispenser and an axe to do the deed in front of us!

In fact the fall of Tap King was a great boost to us as a little start up company working out of my garage because what we were offering was the exact opposite to Lion's Tap King fiasco while providing exactly the same thing to the customer, namely beer on tap in your fridge.

The major differences were pretty obvious!

  1. We are a small Australian owned and operated company with our customers happiness the most important thing to us (we would quickly vanish if it wasn't) not a huge multi-national who only cares about profit.
  2. Our mini keg are formed from 304 18/8 stainless steel. They are reusable, refillable and designed to last for you and your grandchildren's lifetime.range of mini kegs for replacing tap king
  3. Being made of steel rather than plastic they chill quickly, and you can use the same spinning trick in the video earlier to chill a full keg in 5-10 minutes rather than 9 hours.
  4. They can be used lying down like the Tap King on a shelf in the fridge. tap king replacement
  5. You can also use them vertically in an esky for example, making them much more versatile. tap king replacement kegs pouring vertically
  6. They have giant stubby coolers with shoulder straps available to fit them so you can take them anywhere easily and they will stay cold for a couple of hours even without an esky.
  7. With hundreds of venues around Australia and the world filling them and new ones opening every day you can get any beer you like in them. Any bar with a takeaway license can fill them from the tap and there are hundreds of dedicated "Growler Fill" stations, some with up to 30 rotating taps available at any time.
  8. You have a proper pub style metal beer tap to pour from instead of a dodgy plastic spout.
  9. The regulator is professional quality, accessible and you can adjust it as and when you need to to get the perfect pour every time and never end up with flat beer or a half full keg you can't access. 
  10. All of our keg systems are also perfect for home-brewers, something the Tap King system was specifically designed to discourage (there are hundreds of videos on youtube of all the methods people tried to be able to reuse the kits)tap king used for home brew
  11. On that note, we are a lot less wasteful. You can use the same keg over and over again for years rather than throwing a plastic bottle in the bin every 6 pints.
  12. We have keg options that hold 2L, 4L, 5L, and 10L all of which fit easily on one shelf in the fridge. In a larger fridge you can even fit 2 of the 10L kegs on one shelf!2 x 10l kegs on one shelf to replace the tap king system

 

You can check them out yourself on the link below, use the drop down menus to adjust the size of the keg, the type of tap and the type of gas options you want and see it form in real time! Obviously the cost of our systems are much higher than a Tap King but we think they are worth it ;-)

 

 build your own tap king keg package


6 Responses

David Thackray
David Thackray

October 24, 2018

@lisa cowell : not a single word of this is biased or disrespectful. We have ex lion employees reading this and agreeing with me. What they delivered was nothing like what they promised. The beer was more expensive than buying the same volume or the same beer in bottles or cans, which is ridiculous considering it was just a large coke bottle. The plastic dispenser had numerous problems and it was withdrawn by Lion due to lack of sales pissing off those people who had purchased the system and were now left with a piece of useless plastic, which we offered to give a discount for if they wanted to take out some frustration on before throwing in the bin which is all it was good for.

Stefan
Stefan

October 22, 2018

My father in law and myself did not know about the refund . Can you still return the tap king dispenser ?

lisa cowell
lisa cowell

October 22, 2018

I think this review is very biased and unnecessarily disrespectful to those that undoubtably worked hard on Tap King. Yes it had technical issues, but asking people it smash it up and post a video is absolutely pathetic not to mention highly undesirable behaviour. And to top it off, your product is very clunky and extremely unattractive even if it is functional. I wouldn’t want it in my fridge. I wonder if this comment will make your site.

brett potter
brett potter

October 22, 2018

hey there i have a dispenser for the tap king and was wondering if there is a refund available, or do i just throw it away thanks

Ken Fowler
Ken Fowler

June 01, 2017

I was one of the early adopters of Tap King (as a Lion employee – now ex) and I was hugely disappointed by the failures and the end of the product!
I wish I had known about your product in 2015 & the offer!!!!! But I do now & the TapKing dispenser will just join the rest of my beers merch! :)
Cheers

Jon stilinovich
Jon stilinovich

May 23, 2017

Can’t wait to find a refill location close to Beenleigh to try this system out. I’ve tried my friends it’s awesome.

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Keg Size Guide
 Vessel Name (Volume) Height Diameter 330ml Bottle Equivalent 
"Bieber" (2L) 20cm 13.5cm

6

"Growler" (2L) - Insulated 30.5cm 13 cm 6
"Johnson" (4L) 33cm 13.5cm 12
"BBW Growler" (4L)- Insulated 35cm 15.5cm 12
"Choad" (5L) 26cm 17.5cm 15
"Mandingo" (10L) 50cm 17.5cm 30
"Dominator" (19L) 63cm 22cm 57
"UniTank" (35L) 90cm 38cm Up to 90