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Thread: Any bean counters help with 20L vs 30L kegs?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    209

    Any bean counters help with 20L vs 30L kegs?

    We have a potential new draught customer who is used to carrying a lot of imported 30 liter kegs...Stella, John Smiths, etc...

    We do 10 and 20 liter kegs only, and he is complaining about the loss of beer in having to change kegs more frequently. The thing is, this place doesn't have very high turnover, and the importer of the 30L kegs he uses tells me that they have a fair amount of beer gone bad because they aren't moving it fast enough. (note that this is Japan and almost NO ONE chills their kegs, they sit under the bar at room temperature!)

    The manager tells me if a keg runs dry while pouring a pint, they dump the spent pint. Seems silly to me, if its good beer, but they seem stubborn and I don't want to step on any toes by telling them what to do.

    As best as I can figure, even if you are dumping a full pint on each keg, at 1 20L keg per week, that's pretty minimal in costs. In contrast, if you have 1/2 of a 30L keg go bad every 6 months (which is generous for this place I hear) then that actually costs more than using the 20L kegs for 6 months with no issues.

    I'm going with the local, local product angle, faster turn time on 20 vs 30L, and longer shelf life vs beer that spent a month at sea to get here in the first place. Anyone else have some ammo/stats on 20 vs 30L?

    THanks!
    www.devilcraft.jp
    www.japanbeertimes.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Israel
    Posts
    105
    Your situation sounds very similar to ours here in Israel (kegs kept under bar and beer flash-chilled on way to tap). We went with 19 liter kegs in large part for the same reason. We also encounter the habit of dumping the last 1/2 pint from a blown keg but I get the impression it has more to do with the bartenders not wanting to wait for the head to go down then any quality issues. There are fob detectors that in theory would prevent that last pint from foaming - I've never used any so I can't vouch personally but I'm sure others here have.

    We have stuck to the line of reasoning that you use - smaller kegs = fresher beer. We tell barowners that they have 4-5 days to go through a keg from the time it's tapped and that with 30 liter kegs they may have to chuck beer. We've pulled out of a couple of bars because if they're buying only 1 keg per week then we know at some point our lines are either sitting empty or they're pouring bad beer. The final rub though for you as a brewer is that sooner or later, there's going to be a bar that's going to keep on serving your beer even after it's soured. The damage that can do to your reputation can be much more devastating than losing the one keg a week sale.

    On a happy note, we have convinced a few places to serve our beer out of a refrigerator - we even offer to come in and install a tower in the underbar fridge for free. Shelf life of the beer obviously goes up dramatically and we've used that as a tool to induce a customer to take 2 beer styles instead of one. Absent that though, we emphasize that our beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized and so none of the flavor is stripped out. The difference between buying fresh bread at your neighborhood bakery and Wonderbread in the supermarket is an analogy that seems to resonate.

    Hope this helps. I feel your pain.

    David

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    186
    I think that's a rather common issue in many Asian countries-- different drinking habits, lack of storage space in general, and warm weather.

    That's why in general I don't think keg is necessarily the best format in this region.

    But yeah, a FOB detector will keep the beer line full of beer the whole time, and therefore there should be no beer wasted during keg change. FOB detector is about $70, a very good investment. Maybe you should just push them to use it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    87
    DELETE
    Weird, posted a reply to another thread, and it showed up here?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    209
    Wow David, that's not much time for shelf life! We filter and pasteurize so we can get a bit more time on our kegs, but our real enemy is oxygen.

    I'll be meeting again with the bar owner tonight, and I think I'll be stressing quality. Shorter keg turnaround = fresher product, which = happier customers. You can't put a price on good customer service and quality assurance, he can't argue with that!

    Jarviw, this beer is a nitro ale, so other options aren't really available unfortuntely Also, people here are nuts about draft beer...and the macros have somehow convinced people that a 3-finger thick (and more) head on your beer is ideal...they are evil geniuses! Funny though that for a country that likes draft so much, they sure abuse their beer before serving it...
    www.devilcraft.jp
    www.japanbeertimes.com

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