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50L vs. 1/2BBL Kegs

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  • 50L vs. 1/2BBL Kegs

    I was wondering what the pros and cons of using 50L kegs for my brewery vs. the standard 1/2BBL kegs. I have a few pros and cons myself but was wondering what other brewers/owners thought. Also, what is the going rate for used 50L vs. 1/2BBL kegs? Thanks for your help in advance.

    Beaux Bowman

  • #2
    I think that the only major drawback would be the type of valve - some bars hate having to deal with having a different coupler for each type of keg. But usually the distributor takes care of that, so it's not such a big issue. And at least in our market, bar managers can't seem to get their head around the idea that 50L is less than a 1/2 bbl keg.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN


    • #3
      The 50L keg gives you what every brewer needs. Flexibility in pricing. If every body except very expensive Euro's are in 1/2 BBL, what does a 1/2 HL keg cost? It allows you to build in a little more margin and still be cheaper than the local competitor in the 1/2 BBL. In Canada where we work in HL, it also makes my world easier instead of screwing around with 58.6L


      • #4
        We switched to 50L from 1/2 bbl last spring without any complications. I agree with Linus that many bar folks don't really distinquish between the keg sizes, a keg is keg. We did maintain the same volume pricing of beer in the 50L keg, so now our kegs do appear to be less expensive.

        advantages: keg price is lower, easier on people - 50L weights @ 20 lbs less, also the beer turns over faster, and is therefore fresher.

        disadvantages: there are some costs that are fixed, cleaning/filling, and often shipping (both ways)

        As far as keg acquisition costs go, I think there is very little price difference between 50L and 1/2 bbl. Hope that helps!


        • #5
          We have dealt with both in Sacramento. Both are Sankey, so there is no change in bar equipment needed. Sometimes, in house, it was easier to use a 50L because it was lighter to lug around to the bar, and it was shorter so it would fit into a cramped cooler.

          If you're interested in buying some 50L Sankey kegs, you should contact Capm Petersen from Sacramento Brewing Co. I think he's still got a surplus of them that he'd rather not store, and would probably let them go for a good price. Give him a call at 916.802.6129 if you're interested.


          • #6
            Thanks for the timely feedback. All of the points make sense. Having worked with 50L kegs before, I liked the fact that they were easier to handle. It is amazing what difference 20 lbs makes sometimes. Thanks for the tip on finding some, I do have a local source that I am looking at picking up.