Heineken and Krups have announced that they'll be bringing the "BeerTender," an at home keg system, for sale in North America. It will first be sold via Williams-Sonoma in March for $400, but in a strange turn it will be more widely available for $300 on April 1st from other retailers. (At least according to the Unofficial BeerTender USA Fan Site.)
My problem with the BeerTender is two-fold: first, Heineken sucks. There are other beer varieties available in Europe (including Affligem, which isn't bad), but I sort of doubt the U.S. will get the same variety. Secondly, because the BeerTender uses proprietary "DraughtKegs" that are internally pressurized, you can't fill up kegs yourself with homebrew or craft beer. It's unlikely that small craft brewers will offer their beers in a compatible form.
I'm all for draft beer at home. In fact, I'm planning on building a kegerator this year. But it pains me to think of how much good American craft beer could be purchased for $300. Even poured from bottles instead of a sleek countertop unit, it'd be better than a cold mug of tasteless Heineken.
P.S. The United States has the richest, most exciting beer culture in the world. (Belgium is grandfathered in for previous accomplishments.) Discuss!
P.P.S. I once had a multi-course dinner at the Amsterdam Heineken brewery (now a museum) in which a different small batch beer brewed by their brewmaster was served with each course. Some knockout beers. I know the average beer drinking buys crap beer, but when I know a brewery can do better it makes me hate their mainstream lagers all the more.
Heineken, Krups to Sell BeerTender in US [Physorg.com]