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The KegIt Keg Bag Has Arrived!

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

We've been working on this for a whole year, and we're finally ready to share it with you! Mark & Merit is thrilled to announce the launch of the KegIt bag, a portable cooler custom designed for 9.5L (2.5 US gal) corny kegs. This world-first was designed right here in New Zealand and is unique to Mark & Merit.

The durable, insulated bag keeps your 9.5L keg (or up to 48 cans!) cold for hours and is packed with custom features allowing you to enjoy a fresh-from-the-tap experience anywhere, no matter what the occasion. The compact design makes it easy to transport and store, and the well-designed straps allow for comfortable carrying.

The KegIt Keg Bag is perfect for outdoor events and on-the-go occasions, no need to worry about refrigeration equipment or the hassle of lugging around a heavy, bulky cooler. Keep your beer fresh and cold, without the stress.

The Journey

It all started with a request to bring drinks to Christmas lunch in 2021. Wanting to impress, I pieced together a portable keg assembly so that we could offer cider and beer straight from the tap. To keep everything cold, we found some insulated grocery bags and sat the kegs in there and covered them with ice. It worked like a charm (and we had to put up a post to show off):

Pouring beer straight from an adapter and tap from the top of a 9.5L corny keg.
Inspiration for the KegIt Keg Bag - Born out of necessity!

Not too long after, my wife was invited to a birthday party with her ladies group. The idea of making a keg of flavored seltzer to have on tap was floated. We were keen to supply it, but wanted to have something a bit more presentable. We considered cooler bags but couldn’t find any round ones that would look good. Using a cooler? Couldn’t find one that was the right shape or size. Wrapping in a camping mat? The keg would warm up without something to actively keep it cool.

We were surprised by just how few options existed for what we were trying to do, and the ones that came close were either cheaply made or looked terrible. The entrepreneurial fire was already lit inside us, and fueled by a few beers we thought, "If it doesn't exist, let's make it!"

This is a great spot to say that just because you didn't go to school to learn how to do something doesn't mean you can't figure it out. We were clueless about product development - but did that stop us? We set about coming up with a design and finding someone to make it.

Many people may not know this, but Mark & Merit has nothing to do with a person's name. We chose this name for our business as this represents two things that are important to us - Quality and Value. This ethos drives both of us, and when we set out to design this bag we chose from the get-go to make it the best damn bag we could make. Sure, there may be a 2.0 revision at some point - heck, we can't think of everything - but we'd try and pack in every feature possible (while keeping the bag looking sexy of course!) Our first design, and what we initially went for quotes on, was this:

This picture attempts to detail the features we wanted in the cool bag.
Initial design of what was to become the KegIt Keg Bag

We found a production partner online, and worked with a great rep (thanks Kevin!) to help get the first revision of the bag produced. What a process! It was exciting as pictures got sent to us every step of the way and finally the sample was at our door:

Let me tell you, the first major lesson we learned was to insist on making samples - and keep making them until it's what you envisioned! No amount of 3D modelling, drawings, etc. can make up for having something in hand and putting it through its paces. You may notice above a few things that weren't ideal - we wanted one pouch for a gas cylinder that collapses against the bag when not in use; instead, we got two baggy pouches that looked a bit absurd. We found that while you could fit a keg snugly inside the bag, it wasn't leak-proof and there wasn't much room for ice or ice packs to fit around it - it needed to be wider. A few other catches:

  • The top zipper opened the wrong way, so you couldn't pour beer and have the top closed (unless you faced the keg backwards)

  • The straps were already fraying, and it was brand new

  • It was all single stitched (we wanted double reinforced stitching at a minimum)

  • The insulation wasn't robust enough to keep a keg cold for long, especially without any added ice

  • Once the fabric got wrinkles in it, they were almost impossible to get out

  • A zippered pocket for extra bits, phones, keys, wallets, etc. would be ideal

We went back to Kevin and worked through each and every detail - all the materials were changed or upgraded until the aesthetic was right. We had a copper mold made and changed the inside to a PEVA liner that was electrically tested to ensure there were no leaks. We also decided that this bag, when it was done, deserved its own identity naming this fledgling product line "KegIt".

We had a second bag made up, and through photo and video communication we saw that we were close but it still needed improvement. Better stitching, waterproof zippers, etc. but the fabric still showed wrinkles, the pouch for the gas bottle still looked frumpy, and the zippered pocket was way too small to be of much use.

Rev 2: Almost there!

The last 20% of any project takes 80% of your time, and that was true here. We pushed Kevin to find a fabric that would withstand anything people might throw at it and still look as good as on day one. He brought in sample after sample, running tests of scrunching them as tight as possible, leaving for extended periods, and then seeing how it would fare. We finally found one that fit the bill, and even though it came with a premium price we thought it was worth it. These bags would be a focal point when people used them, and we wanted them to look sharp!

The zippered pocket was an easy fix to make it big enough for an oversized phone. The gas bottle pocket we went back and forth on, as we envisaged something that would collapse against the bag when not in use. We tried a few different materials and good ol' mesh came to the rescue.

Rev 3 - couldn't fault it, so we had this one sent to us for testing!

When we received the third revision, we set to work testing it for everything we could think of. Ease of use? Check. Leakproof? Check. Look good after folding, stretching, scrunching? Check. Cleans without leaving marks or stains? Check.

We tested it with a keg of water and an internal floating temperature probe, with ice around the keg to see how long it would keep beer cold for. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi dropped out overnight so we couldn't produce a sexy graph, but after two days there was still ice in the bag. We were stoked!

We couldn't think of any significant improvements so decided to push 'go' on the production. It took a bit of negotiating to get the quantity for the first run to fit our budget, but we got there in the end. It seemed like no-time before we were having to get quotes from freight forwarders to get the first production run of bags to us, and they arrived right before Christmas of '22.

Pouring a beer from the KegIt Keg Bag at a family Christmas party.
Bringing the bag to the same family Christmas gathering a year later - what an improvement!

We couldn't wait to get them on the market, but my wife convinced us to get together an "All in One" type kit to enable people to have everything they needed for this super compact, sleek, and easy design. We took the same care choosing the optimal gear as we did designing the bag. We managed to find purpose-made items for practically every piece of kit needed for the most compact set-up possible. Finally we were ready, and with a soft launch at the beginning of January we were off!

Pouring a freshly-kegged NEIPA (Hazy IPA) on the deck.
It was great to celebrate following the development through to completion by giving one a test run with a hazy IPA!

We can't express just how exciting it is to design and produce a product like this! It not only functionally solves the problem we set out to fix, but it does it with so many convenient features, and with great style. The KegIt bag is a testament to our belief that anyone can figure out how to make something they need if they set their mind to it. We learned so much through the process and hope that everyone finds it as awesome as we intended it to be!

Join us on our journey as we continue to bring you innovative products that offer the ultimate in convenience, quality, and style. Cheers!

*If you'd like to grab one of these or to see the full list of features, you can find them here.

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