One thing we will have in our new place is serving Beer
whats the mark up, and whats the difference in bottled beer VS keg.

Bottled beer is easier to manage, the only thing you have to worry about is slippage. But, people like draft beer. I know I’d rather have a draft beer than a bottle, but draft beer can be harder to manage. When you do inventory you have to guess at what you got in the keg, either that or get a scale that can handle weighing a keg. Also, it’s easier for people to steal the keg beer. Also, if someone doesn’t know how to pour, there is a slippage issue. Starting out… I would go for bottled beer.

There are 1983 oz in a keg

My information and research indicates that you get more return on keg beer as margin can be better per serving. Also get more flexibility in portioning.

Bottled beer is simpler inventory control, portion control and soilage management. Drop one bottle and it breaks. Leak the tap on a keg, and the whole thing can go stale or flat. Equipment and maintanence is another item to consider. You need a cooler for bottles . . . . for kegs, there are taps, lines, coolers, chilling box, CO2, storage for empty kegs, storage (ideally cold) for reload kegs). Pressure levels, pouring techniques, and absolute requirement for glasses/mugs where bottles might be able to sneak by without.

It’s a tradeoff. You got the keg volume, so you can do the math for number of servings, and get costs locally for each. A good spreadsheet with formulas can tell you which can give you the return you want.

We will be going the bottled beer route to begin with, and maybe work up to taps if our volume gets high enough to support it.

We sell both and all I can say is those empty bottles are a pain in the ass!! We house our kegs in our walkin and have the fawcetts drilled right through the wall of the walkin. No towers. Our Bud customers want their Bud in a long neck bottle so we don’t fight that. On tap, we get “good” beer. Local micros and Stella for example. $4.00/pint.

Went through this 3 1/2 years ago. I thought bottle would sell better. We sell 3-4 times the dollar amount of draft over bottle. Depending on whats available you will be able to offer more micro beers in a draft system. Also I suggest you use Beer gas instead of CO2. It gives a better texture to your drafts.

We move more draft than bottles. I’ve got a 4 keg draft box, that we’ve modified it to hold 6 beers. I’ve got 3 1/2 barrels, 1 1/4 barrel and 2 1/6th barrels in there.

we’ve always had a selection od both draft & bottle beer…better profit in draft…if your walk-in is big enough and conveniently located, you can run the line from it…

always make sure the lines get cleaned on a regular basis…

go with keg beer and offer quality - people won’t visit your store for beer in a bottle but they will visit your store because you have “x” on tap. take a tour of your local taverns to see which draft beers are hot (in vogue) at the moment as opposed to taking this advice from your salesperson.

what i would recommend:

  • try to buy beers that use the same sanke tap as this makes switching to a different brand much easier.

  • make sure that your lines to the tap (especially inside the tower) are always kept very cool/chilled - this will reduce excessive foam and waste.

  • be sure to always check keg prices carfefully - keg sizes vary which can make prices misleading. also, be sure to check individual micro-brew pricing carefully; some of these producers are out of their minds when it comes to what they charge for their hooch (imho).

  • don’t keep a backup of each beer you have on tap on hand; if you run out you run out and you can replace it in a day or so. backup kegs take up a bunch of room and are tough to move around - better to have as few as possible on deck.

  • pay for as little equipment as possible; get your distributor to pony up for the towers and lines, tower and line installation, sanke taps and tank regulator.

  • use libbeys 14 oz catalina pilsner glasses. very durable, very reasonably priced and customers love the great presentation they offer. the 2 oz. savings per pour (versus a 16 oz. pint) adds up tremendously during the year.

  • consider pitcher promotions.

  • always keep bottled beer on hand as well.

I see no reason to not keep extra kegs on hand. Unless you just LIKE pissing people off. I get a weekly delivery from my 3 beer companies… which I’ve just been told is going to go down to 2 companies – one just got bought out. But I can’t imagine running out of Bud, or Bud Light and telling my customer that they are going to have to switch to bottles or a different beer. If you run out accidently, that is one thing – but keeping it as a policy?

- don’t keep a backup of each beer you have on tap on hand; if you run out you run out and you can replace it in a day or so. backup kegs take up a bunch of room and are tough to move around - better to have as few as possible on deck.

Quick question for anyone

LIving in the NW micro beers are always in fashion and sell well. I am looking at 10-12 taps with 9-10 regualr and a couple of “guest brewery” taps.

Here is what I need to know. What is the space requirements for your walk-in for 12 kegs and a few spares?

Is a 8x10 walk-in big enough for beer, dough, veggies, etc.?

No, an 8x10 will not be big enough for 12 kegs, back ups, and your food.

We have an 8x10 ourselves I think. We store about 3 or 4 back up kegs in there at any time. Plus our dough, veggies, etc. Some days of the week, it is hard to move around in there. I can’t imagine trying to squeeze anything else in there on a normal basis.

Do a google for the size of keg. I’d build a nice rack to place 12 beers on. But remember that they are heavy, so getting one keg on top of another takes 2 people with some muscle.

No way you are going to have room for 16-18 kegs. Epecially if you are doing any kind of food business. Which you are going to need to do to justify having 12 taps anyway.

Thanks Scott

I was afraid of that, with my limited spacing for dine in service and kitchen requirements, the 2080 sqft gets used up quickly. I might be able to do a 10x10 but I will have to rethink the number of beers and maybe go with 8-10 instead of the 10-12.

Back to the drawing board and move everything around again.

scott’s absolutely right - kegs are heavy as heck and awkward to maneuver - rotating that many kegs in and out, especially if stacked in a keg rack (there’s a worker’s comp waiting to happen!) will require some real elbow grease.

having that many kegs on tap will also consume a lot of your server’s time as customers will want to know the story behind each brewery you have on tap that they are unfamiliar with - and many customers will want to also “ice cream” sample them as well before committing to a pint. one would think a detailed chalk board describing each beer would take care most of this but it doesn’t - not in my experience at least.

why not start with just 4-6 kegs?

Some places I visited in Madison Wisconsin had “Sampler” packs of their beers. they set up 5 different beers, had little cards describing each one, and had a little rack that the mini cups were served on. It was about the price of one beer, and you got 3 or so ounces of each one. Great concept and way to get paid for the samples of beer . . . and customers can have little private tastings together by ordering several.

Having a beer somolier is truly an essential part of what I think of this concept. Describing the beers wouldn’t be a chore, but part of the theme and embiance. Servers would be intimately knowledgeable about every brand, from location to brewery to variety of hops used to brew it. Turn the task into a marketing and branding tool.

I think you can get by serving 6-8 beers on draft. If this is a new build out, then go with a draw, right into the back of your walk-in cooler. You’ll save a lot of time moving kegs around, and a lot of money by not having to buy an additional keg box for your bar, or a glycol system… which gets really pricey.

I’ve got 100 seats in my dining room and 10 at my bar. Roughly 18 seats per beer tap. I’ve got Bud, Bud Light, Miller Light, Mich Amber Bach, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and Sunset Wheat. Even though I have Bud Light, Bud and Miller Lite in bottles, I still 10 times more in draft.

I’ll admit that I’m in the market for a used refrigerator. I’m going to convert it into a keg box and leave it all looking like a frig behind the bar and rotate beers through it. But first I’m going to try some Guiness on it since it will be a completely different system and Guiness likes to be served a bit warmer then the other beers I’m serving. I might try Mic Ultra in it as well.

This is approxiately my selling order.

Bud Light
Miller Light (these two are pretty equal)
Mic Amber Bach
Samuel Adams
Leunikugals Sunset Wheat

I’d love to introduce a short line of Leinenkugel’s beers here in smalltown Geiorgia, but don’t know if I can ge tthem. When I get the license, I am going to check. I am originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin, so the Chippewa Falls brewery would be a fun thread in our shop.

I’ll have to nod to the mindless Budf Lite crowd, I know. Sell 'em what they want to drink and sneak in a few adventures. They’ll eventually convert if I pair the beer and the food well.

We replaced our Blue Moon with the Leinenkugel’s, but it just doesn’t seem to move as well as the Blue Moon. So I may switch back actually.

There is no reason you can’t have 12 beers on tap. We have a 8X8 walkin and have 14 beers on tap and have at least one backup of each…two or three of the popular ones. We get a delivery from three companies once a week. It costs a little more but we use the 1/6 barrel for storage reasons and you can fit more in a draft box as well…hence the 14 beers on tap with little storage. Since we are a pub we also carry 20 bottles. Our cooler holds a case (if you use two rows) of each beer so there is very little warm storage.