Keg Facts To Take Your Brewery Further

A map of Global Keg countries of operations worldwide
  • International Keg

You know all too well the risk of distributing your beer further or exporting the kegs you own and lease, but what if you could eliminate the risk of keg loss completely?

Finding the most worry-free, cost-effective and dependable way to send your beer to distant retailers, bars or brewpubs can be challenging when you want to expand your customer reach across states and borders. In order to accelerate real growth for your brewery, it’s important to set the record straight and understand these 3 key facts about kegs that hold breweries back from growth.

1. All Kegs Are NOT Created Equal

One-way kegs offer a solution to reliably sending kegs full of your beer to promising new markets. But to the detriment of breweries, one-way kegs have become synonymous with plastic kegs.

The fact is, many buyers simply don’t buy beer that comes in a plastic one-way keg because they’ve had too many bad experiences. Even when the beer itself is superior and it sells well, the hassle of plastic kegs still isn’t worth it for many retail buyers. A spokeswoman for Full Sail Brewing Company shared in a recent interview that their brewery ran into several issues while using plastic one-way plastic kegs, including retailer acceptance, actual recycling, and pouring problems with on-premise partners.

Retailers report that plastic one-way kegs don’t even fully dispense, leaving the unused beer in the keg. Another common concern from retailers is that when the beer arrives, it isn’t pressurized properly. This causes pouring issues from the plastic kegs regularly leaving the retailer with excessive FOB (Foam On Beer). The CO2 for plastic kegs is counterintuitive and different from steel kegs. But it’s not just retailers who are affected by the differences between plastic and stainless steel kegs. If your brewery has an automated kegging operation you’ll likely have to make changes to the equipment you use and your processes for filling plastic kegs.

So, what are the best kegs for your brewery to distribute and export your beer? International Keg’s stainless steel SmartKeg™ rentals are both “one-way” and “pay-per-fill”. Meaning your brewery can send your beer anywhere in the world using our RFID trackable SmartKeg™ with zero liability, and without ever having to recover any kegs.

2. Steel Kegs Don’t Contaminate Your Beer

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to best protecting the quality of your beer. We’ve heard from breweries who are worried about a given keg’s rental history because they believe there may be residue from a batch of a sour ale of hard soda that may affect the flavor of their beer. There are even some industry insiders who perpetuate this myth for their own personal gain. Rest assured, we guarantee our kegs arrive Fit-For-Use and on-time. Studies and experience show that as long as the keg is properly cleaned and sanitized, there aren’t any flavor properties or residuals that remain inside a stainless steel keg to affect the taste of your product.

Alternatively, one-way plastic kegs claim that they don’t require cleaning before they’re filled--but beware. Plastic kegs use a bag-in-ball system that allows breweries to skip the sanitation step, but that bag has an industry-wide reputation for breaking, causing the beer to spill into the unsanitized part of the plastic container. Stainless steel kegs, on the other hand, are as impenetrable as they are indestructible. In fact, stainless steel kegs are the safest vessel to transport your brewery’s product in. Plus, stainless steel preserves the peak quality of your beer for longer according to a recent study conducted by Miguel Hernandez University in Spain. They compared the preservation of different styles of commercial beer in stainless steel vs. plastic bag-in-ball one-way kegs.

The results revealed 2 big things:

  1. The peak quality of the beer expires earlier than intended in plastic kegs.
  2. Beer loses freshness faster in plastic kegs. Most notably, the flavor, body, carbonation, and color all deteriorate earlier. Hoppy beers lose their hoppiness faster, sour beers lose the sour quality quicker, citrusy beers taste less crisp and refreshing sooner, etc.

3. Plastic Kegs Are NOT The Most Environmentally Friendly Keg

Beer brands that aim to be more sustainable do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint and their energy costs. These very same breweries may also be disappointed to find out that one-way “recyclable” plastic kegs rarely even get recycled. More often than not, retailers are unfamiliar with their proper disposal method. When turnover is high, the hours are long, the nights are late, and there’s limited space, it’s not hard to imagine how countless plastic kegs end up in the landfill along with other waste. On the other hand, stainless steel is 100% recyclable and because of its reusable value across industries, it actually gets recycled. In fact, 60% of all stainless steel is made of recycled metals. Even when plastic kegs are retrieved properly, there’s a major flaw in the way plastic gets recycled around the world.

  • 90% of stainless steel IS recycled.1
  • 91% of plastic IS NOT recycled.2

The Smartest Choice for One-Way Distribution is SmartKeg™

Do better for your beer, your customers, and our environment. Plastic one-way kegs are far from the next big thing. Fact is, they’re still troublesome for both breweries, retailers, and the quality and flavor of your beer that you work so hard to perfect. Stainless steel kegs are the “gold standard” for draft beer. And for each and every SmartKeg™ filled with your brew, you can proactively manage distribution and expand your brewery’s reach into new markets using our innovative RFID technology. Track your beer around the globe without worrying about keg return and get access to customized and comprehensive reports to help proactively manage distribution, all while preserving your beer better. We also guarantee zero long-term contracts, zero obligation, and zero keg liability for you. We have the world’s largest and most advanced pool of trackable kegs for your brewery to rent wherever you are, in imperial and metric sizes that include multiple valve types.

Breakdown the barriers of your market reach in 2019 and leave any uncertainty about draft distribution behind. Learn how you can confidently distribute your beer further with International Keg in just 3 easy steps.


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