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Article | July 31, 1995
U.K. beer recall results in relaunch
In mid-July, U.K.-based joint venture Carlsberg-Tetley PLC introduced Tetley's Draught beer in 500-mL aluminum cans. The brew's new can graphics sport cream colors that depict the decorative huntsman roundel popular on beer taps in British pubs.
Tetley's Draught replaces Draught Tetley Bitter one of several beer brands involved in a one-million-can recall announced May 31. The recall was a precautionary measure taken after a single consumer had swallowed a loose piece of a two-piece plastic widget that helps create a foamy "draught"-like head when the can is opened. The consumer is perfectly fine according to Carslberg-Tetley communications manager Linda Bain "but we shut down a line at our Burton-On-Trent (U.K.) plant that filled widgeted cans as a precautionary measure while we correct the situation." Bain expects the Burton-On-Trent line to be back in production soon. Until then Carlsberg-Tetley reached a short-term agreement with friendly competitor London-based Guiness PLC to fill the new Tetley's Draught. Carlsberg still brews the product. As soon as the problem is resolved on its own line Carlsberg intends to switch filling responsibilities from Guiness back to its own line. Meanwhile the new can uses the Guinness foam-in-can system which incorporates a one-piece widget that Bain describes as the first of its kind. The culprit in the two-piece widget system used with Tetley's recalled brews was a hollow tube-like piece that attached to a locking ring friction-fit into the base of the 500-mL can. This piece held nitrogen gas under pressure. When the consumer opened the can the pressurized gas was expelled from the insert thereby releasing the gas into the beer and causing the liquid to surge and foam. Apparently this tube-like piece is what the British consumer swallowed. At press time it was uncertain which widget design Carlsberg-Tetley planned to use once production moves back to Burton-On-Trent. Not only does Carlsberg's new beer offer a more tried-and-true widget to create the appealing foam its newly designed can is also taking aim at grabbing back sales the company has lost since the recall. "We were already developing the new livery [can graphics] before the beer withdrawal" says Vincent Kelly managing director of Carlsberg-Tetley Take Home Sales. "We wanted to capture the feel of the pub brand in the take-home arena. The new packaging reflects the premium quality nature of Tetley's and will help to kick-start sales as the brand reappears."
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