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No Return: The Practice of One-Way Kegs

As brewers look to expand into markets far from their home base, they are increasingly turning to one-way plastic kegs to help achieve the goal of serving fresh draft beer without worrying about stainless-steel kegs finding their way back to the brewery.

John Holl Oct 24, 2018 - 9 min read

No Return: The Practice of One-Way Kegs Primary Image

Any beer drinker who has hung out at a bar during the day has likely experienced the familiar sight of stainless-steel kegs being loaded off a delivery truck, transferred to a handcart, wheeled past the bar to a cold box (hopefully), and deposited with an unmistakable thunderous metal clang. It’s just the way it is for draft beer in the United States, or at least that’s largely been the case for decades. More and more, however, that clang is replaced by a softer thump as brewers across the country look to incorporate one-way kegs made from plastic into their distribution arsenal.

Companies such as Petainer and KeyKeg have made strides across America in recent years, pushing a dispense method that has long been popular in Europe and other foreign countries.

“Many breweries start using PET kegs when they begin transporting their products over longer distances, both domestically and overseas, because [the kegs] cut the logistics costs in half and also provide excellent product-quality protection,” says Nigel Pritchard, group commercial director for Petainer.

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.