Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Keg vs bottle - how to decide?
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:23 PM   #1
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Default Keg vs bottle - how to decide?


We are a couple of home brewers that are thinking about starting up a bar to sell our beer. But we are wondering what way is the best way to serve it.
What's easiest and what's cheapest?
We plan on making about 5 bbl a month.

Our options:
1. Bottles
Pros: Looks good and feels good. Easy to sell to other bars that might be interested. Plus this is what we know how to do the best.
Cons: Expensive and time consuming. Lots of waste. Also it's nice with a tap in the bar.

2. Cornelius kegs
Pros: We have quite a few of these already. Reusable.
Cons: Need many more if it's gonna be enough for 5 bbl a month. Plus a lot of CO2 connected to every one of them if we plan of force carbonating them.

3. Keykegs
Pros: Fits more beer in one keg. Stores well in stacks. Easy to sell to other bars.
Cons: Will it work with any fermenter tank? What sort of equipment do one need to operate them, i.e. fill them and carbonate them? Expensive.

4. Is there another way? Is there a solution for getting the beer from the tanks to the tap where its carbonated some other way then forced carbonated over weeks?

Hope someone has a few tips, the residents of this tiny town will thank you for helping a new bar seeing the light of day!

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Old 01-08-2013, 04:15 PM   #2
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Ignoring all the other questions that run through my mind when someone wants to go pro (I am assuming that you know all the laws and regulations regarding the selling of alcohol), I am going to make a recommendation based on your volume:

Keg it and sell it ALL of it behind your bar.

Your best profit margins are going to be found by selling your beer yourself in the bar. The minute you start thinking of distributing you are now taking a drastic cut in profit. Most states require brewers to use a distributor, so all of that beer will be sold at wholesale. In addition, based on your volume you may find it hard to get a distributor to take you on.

If you have not already, I would listen to the entire section of "Going Pro" on the Brew Strong podcast. Very enlightening set of podcast on how to transition from homebrewing to Pro. Its split up by topic and covers:
-Brewery type
-Nano Breweries

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Old 01-08-2013, 04:38 PM   #3
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The serving vessel is probably #135 on your "to do" and/or "to decide" list in this venture.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:12 AM   #4
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Lab Rat is absolutely correct on this one.
Keg your beer and sell on the premises.

@ $5 a pint from a 1/2 barrel keg you can expect 100+ pints. That's $500 per 1/2 barrel.

You are gonna have to spend money to make money, so if you can't afford the initial investment in sanke kegs and equipment to dispense then start of with the cornelius kegs until you've brought in enough revenue to start making the the transition to sankes.

I'm good friends with the largest brewery in northern Alabama, and have learned quite a bit from those guys.

One thing to consider is the fact that brewing as a hobby is fun, but brewing as a profession changes a lot of things.

If you make good beer then expect to put in looooonnnnng hours to keep up with demand.
I don't know what you said, but your wrong.
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