Monday 25 April 2016 3:58 pm

Tank beer could be the new craft beer as Pilsner Urquell expands supply to Draft House bar chain in London

It might be early days, but craft beer may have just met its match. 

Pale lager maker Pilsner Urquell has stepped up its expansion of tank beer in the UK through a new partnership with the Draft House bar chain. 

The Czech brewer will supply the new Draft House tank bar on Chancery Lane, which opens today and is the ninth tank bar to open in Britain, and Draft House's soon-to-be-opened bar in Shoreditch, where customers are able to pull their own tank beer pints. 

Tank beer is pumped straight into pressurised tanks after it is brewed, meaning it bypasses pasteurisation and can be transported from brewery to tap within hours, maintaining a fresh taste. 

Since it was first introduced to the UK bar scene in 2013, more than a million pints of Pilsner's tank beer have been sold across the UK. 

Tank beer joins a wave of other artisan alcohol products to take the UK's bar scene by storm. 

Craft beer has been found to be a "luxury" and "aspirational" product among British consumers, particularly in London, after 36 new craft beer breweries opened in the capital last year. 

Meanwhile, the demand for boutique spirits has led to a "gin-aissance", as the number of new distilleries in England jumped by a third in 2015

"Tank Beer has taken Britain by storm and we are thrilled to be working with the Draft House team who share our obsession for tank beer. Our beer is always in perfect condition when it passes through the gates of our brewery in Plzeƈ, Czech Republic, and tanks ensure we keep the very best fresh taste and quality," Pilsner Urquell beer master Robert Lobovsky said. 

Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, said: 

Pilsner Urquell has used the 'tankovna' method as an effective way of setting itself apart from the many other Eastern European beers now in the UK. The tank beer serve is a great way for the brand to assert a craft positioning, crucially conveying freshness cues which result from the beer being unpasteurised.

As well as hinting at brewery freshness, this method of serving also suggests naturalness and high quality, with the tanks themselves also adding a sense of theatre in the bars which already have them installed.