The Hamburg-based beverage manufacturer Rapide Food collaborated with metal packaging manufacturer Ardagh to develop a Nitro Can filling system, and is now a contract filler for other companies that want to use this technology.
Rapide Food founders Hendrik and Sebastian Lepping chose Ardagh’s Nitro Can to fill their new Dock-18 brand cold brew black coffee. They were so impressed by the taste and appearance that they decided to build a custom Nitro Can bottling line.
The Leppings were looking for maximum taste, consistency and sustainability for their cold brew beverages, and were frustrated that there was no contract filler that could guarantee the quality they demanded. In the course of developing Dock-18 in close collaboration with Ardagh, accompanied by an extensive series of taste tests and laboratory trials, they gained a comprehensive insight into the entire Nitro Cold Brew beverage production process. Together with Ardagh, they designed their own special filling system for the slim format Nitro Can – the first of its kind in Germany.
The entire production process takes place at one location, without the need to transport ingredients to distant production sites. This makes possible complete quality control and guarantees careful handling of the raw materials used, especially for cold brew beverages. Production is fast and efficient from start to finish, from grinding the coffee beans to cold brewing and filling into 250 ml aluminium cans.
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Cold brew coffee is becoming increasingly popular. Rapide Foods’ vision for Dock-18 was to create a natural, sustainable product without the sugar and chemicals used in other cold beverages. This was made possible by the special Nitro Can filling process, which is particularly attractive for companies like Rapide Food that rely on natural products. Thanks to the Nitro Can technology and Rapide’s plant, Dock-18 is the first cold-brew coffee to achieve a remarkable shelf life even without additives. The nitrogen micro-bubbles released when the Nitro Can is opened not only give the coffee a velvety texture and pleasant thin layer of foam, and also gives a slight sweetness without the need for added sugar or artificial sweeteners. The special filling process sterilises the coffee and eliminates the need for preservatives. The only ingredients are coffee and water.
“Our production facility offers young companies the opportunity to produce Cold Brew or similar high-end products in small to medium quantities – something that’s not possible in other plants,” Sebastian Lepping explains. While Dock-18 is the company’s flagship product, the product portfolio is to be expanded in 2019 to include a latte macchiato variety as well as nitro iced tea in various taste profiles.