Ordinary Man – Unusual Invention

This unusual story began when Kai Ottung invented a valve, no one asked for. Kai, a master brewer and engineer, knew it was needed and was confident about its success. He was certain that if he built the valve, it would be needed.

With more than 340.000 valves in use today, the success of KEOFITT speaks to Kai Ottung’s testimony. But let us look at it rationally: If you decide to make a product that basically no one asks for nor do they know they need it, are you then simply crazy? Or are you driven by a strong will to drastically change an entire industry for the better?
Well, Kai Ottung may have been just a little crazy, but most of all, he was focused on one thing:
Better samples = Better product!


Kai Ottung, who invented the classic KEOFITT-valve and thus creating KEOFITT, was himself a brew master and made numerous beers with the knowledge that something key was missing in the process. Kai Ottung was unsure whether his samples were representative or not, and he knew many of his colleagues worldwide struggled with the same problem.
He had an idea; an idea that brewed in his head for years, which led him to work tenaciously in his home garage to finally achieve what would revolutionize brewery quality control.
He invented an inline sterilizable sampling valve, which made sure you could sterilize between samples and therefore always trust your sample to be representative when leaving the tank.


“He could call at all hours of the day or night with an idea he wanted to discuss; he never looked at his watch. He once rang me a 7:30 am on New Year’s morning to tell me about an idea that had come to him during the night. When he was awake, he expected the rest of the world to be awake too; he wanted to take his ideas to the next stage,” says then co-developer and KEOFITT collaborator John Søby. John Søby, who produces the valves, is still a substantial part of KEOFITT today and have been since the beginning. 


Alone, but unbowed Kai Ottung continued to work enthusiastically on his own.

In 1980 his efforts finally bore fruit and his extraordinary invention could be revealed to the world. But he needed a name. Kai and his wife Eva were so sure about the valve’s success that they wanted to include themselves in the name: Kai + Eva + Ottung + Fitting thus became KEOFITT.

Kai Ottung’s passion continued and so did his eagerness to improve the sampling process; he wanted to avoid residue and bacteria in the sampling tap in order to take a clean, representative sample. This was achieved with the KEOFITT-valve.

Its functionality and quality quickly sent the valve around the world and thus started the sampling revolution within the industry.

Today the revolution continues in other industries (food, dairy, beverage and pharma) as well and so does the same eagerness to improve sampling.

We strive to constantly improve the sampling process, whether it is to improve the design of the valve or inventing new sampling equipment. All we ever do is sampling based on Kai Ottung’s idea and passion. We continue our mission to spread knowledge of representative sampling and will humbly strive to live up to the legacy Kai left behind.

Kai Ottung lived to be 76 years old and died July 28th 1992.