Why a Keg Servicing Plan is Crucial for Small Brewers

May 23rd, 2022 • by THIELMANN


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A keg fleet is only as strong as its weakest keg. The highest quality stainless steel kegs are inert, hygienic, and exceptionally durable – but they need to be kept that way.

Kegs have a tough life. From brewery to bar, they’re rolled, bumped, and thrown. Over time, can undermine their integrity, and in turn, the integrity of the product. Naturally, this is a priority for every brewer. You want your customers to enjoy delicious draft beer, glass after glass.

Some smaller brewers may be under the impression that used-and-abused kegs are the domain of big brewers that manage fleets in the millions. Therefore, a comprehensive keg servicing plan is outside of their purview. However, this couldn’t be further from the case – here’s why.

Protect your profits

Beer brands strive to keep their brewing equipment in top condition and their keg fleet should be no different. It’s the same as investing in maintenance for any other asset: it’s better to take proactive rather than reactive action in order to prevent a fall in quality. 

As a small brewer, it’s likely that your kegs are handled a little more lightly than those run through automated keg lines and complex supply chains. But, if you’re filling the kegs by hand, you’re unlikely to have the automatic testing procedures. This is what makes preventative servicing absolutely crucial.

The fact is, if you’re filling a keg by hand, you won’t know there’s a problem until the product is compromised: the keg leaks, the beer goes bad, or it doesn’t dispense properly. Equally, you may not think that dent is much of an issue, but it can cause problems; changes to the geometry of a keg can create conditions where bacteria could accumulate. 

This has implications for profits from a number of angles: not only do you have to discard the spoiled product, but you have kegs out of action. This issue becomes more critical as the size of the fleet reduces, as each keg has a bigger impact on the company’s overall brewing capacity. This, of course, has implications for profits.

Protect your investment 

Your keg fleet will be one of your most important investments as a craft beer brewer. Regular servicing will help maximize the lifetime of a keg, and subsequently, the return on your investment. Even kegs undergoing heavy use can have a service life of up to 30 years if properly maintained.

This value is evident from the numbers; compared to the cost of a replacement keg, regular servicing is far more economical long term. For a brewer with a 2,000-strong fleet, these savings can represent up to $50,000 USD per year. Of course, each service provider will have its own pricing matrices, but this is the average we have calculated for our customers.  

…And the planet

This longevity doesn’t just enhance your investment, it also makes your operation more sustainable. This is a key selling point for small brewers, whose more localized, small-scale ethos resonates with environmentally-conscious practices. A single stainless steel keg can go through 120 cycles throughout its service life, reducing the keg’s CO2 output by up to 240 kg. For scale, that’s the equivalent of switching off a fridge for 30 years. 

Stainless steel kegs deliver the highest quality beer possible. Like any equipment, they require regular checks, servicing, and repairs, and for small brewers, every keg counts. The best plan of action for small brewers is to seek out an industry-standard keg-servicing provider – like THIELMANN. With our experts, we can design a servicing schedule to suit your needs and budget.