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Kegs vs Bottles vs Canned Beer & Which is Cheaper?


When it comes to Kegs vs Bottled Beer many customers assume buying in bulk is cheaper. Many also overlook the total costs involved with such purchases. For instance, when an individual purchases a keg they normally don't factor in the total cost of the keg such as the keg taps, bucket rental, ice and cups until after the purchase when its to late. So what is the cheapest form of beer out of the 3 options? Let's take a look at the data and determine what option truly is the cheapest out of the three.

I decided to breakdown the math and compare the cost of a standard 15.5 gallon keg of domestic Coors Light beer to the same amount of beer in bottles and cans to determine an equal sample size and fair cost comparison.

Keg of Beer (Coors Light):

  • 15.5 Gallons x 128oz per gallon = 1,984 ounces of beer inside a Keg.

  • $129 for the Keg @Bevmo /1,984 ounces of beer = $0.065 per ounce

But, we also have to take into account the 165 cups one might purchase ($10.62 at Bevmo), and the ice one would purchase to keep the keg cold (4 bags at 10 pounds at a cost of $1.48 each at WinCo = $5.92). After taking these factors into account, the cost of keg beer looks like this:

#1 KEG (Coors Light):

  • + $129 for the Coors Light Keg @Bevmo+

  • + $10.62 for 165ct. Clear Plastic Cups (12oz) @TotalWine+

  • + $5.92 ($1.48 per 10lb bag x4 bags of Ice @Winco)

  • + $2 Keg Tap Rental Fee @TotalWine

  • + $40 Keg Tap Fully Refundable Security Deposit @TotalWine *(won't include in final cost below).

  • ​$147.54 / 1,984 ounces = $0.0743 per ounce in Keg

  • One 12oz cup from the keg cost .89 cents each

  • Total = $147.54 for 165 cups of beer poured

#2 Bottled Beer 12oz (Coors Light):

  • 12 pack Coors Light Bottles @TotalWine x 12oz per bottle = 144 ounces of beer per 12pk

  • +$9.19 per 12pack. (tax included) / 144 ounces of beer = $0.0638 per ounce per 12pk of bottles

  • + $5.92 ($1.48 per 10lbs. bag x4 bags of Ice @Winco)

  • 13.77 12packs x $9.19 per 12pack.= $132.46 for 165 Bottles

  • $132.46/1,984 ounces = $0.0667 per ounce in Bottle

  • One bottled Beer cost .80 cents each

  • Total = $132.46 for 165 Bottles

#3 Canned Beer 12oz (Coors Light):

  • 36 Coors Light Cans @Costco x 12oz per can = 432 ounces of beer

  • $22 per case / 432 ounces of beer = $0.0509 per ounce in cans+

  • +$101.06 for 165 cans @ $22 per 36pack x4.594 36packs = $101.06

  • + $5.92 ($1.48 per 10lb bag x4 bags of Ice @Winco)

  • 4.594 cases of beer or 165 cans x $22 per case = $101.06

  • + $5.92 for Ice

  • $106.75 / 1,984 ounces = $0.0538 per ounce in Can

  • One can of Beer cost .64 cents each

  • Total = $106.75 for 165 Cans

We also have to take into account that I would put ice into the coolers. We have to keep the cans of beer cold as well. If we assume using the same amount of ice, that we would need 4 1/2 cases of beer (it’s actually 4.594 to equal the keg,) Our cost for canned beer looks like this:

4.594 cases of beer or 165 cans x $22 per case + $5.92 for Ice = $106.75 for 165 Cans

$106.75 / 1,984 ounces = $0.0538 per ounce in Can

So the results are in and Kegs are the most expensive in comparison to Bottles and Cans. Not only are Kegs more expensive but are also more likely to cause injury to an individuals back, knees, arms, fingers, hernia, feet, legs and any other area of a humans body if not properly loaded/unloaded. Trust me Bevmo & TotalWine do not help you load the Keg into your vehicle.

#1 Most Expensive Form of Beer. KEG = $147.54 or .89 per cup

#2 Least Expensive Form of Beer. BOTTLES = $132.46 or .80 cents per bottle

#3 Cheapest Form of Beer. CANS = $106.75 or .64 cents per can

Four different stores were selected to give the best prices possible on the products reviewed above. TotalWine has the cheapest Keg Tap Rentals and can save you $40.00 per keg tap versus Bevmo. Bevmo has cheaper Keg prices versus TotalWine. Costco has cheap 36 pack of Coors Light beers compared to most other sellers. Winco & Grocery Outlet have the cheapest Ice prices at $1.48 per 10 pound bag.

While canned beer isn't the classiest way to consume beer these days it definitely is the cheapest form one can buy. Beer snobs would prefer the proper glassware associated with the beer they consume. I have yet to encounter a beer snob or a regular beer consumer to complain about a bottle to sip out of. Venues might request all bottled beer to be poured into cups for security issues. This mostly has to do with their insurance policies and the liability it can expose them to. Also, security guards get uneasy with glass bottles as they can very easily be used as a weapon that causes great harm. I hope you enjoyed this small piece on Beer Comparisons. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me directly via email at Chris@Bartenders2U.com

-Cheers!

Chris Saenz

Keg Specifications for U.S. 1/2 Barrel (Standard Keg Size 15.5 gallons)

12 oz. Case Equivalent = 6.8 Cases

12 oz./can or bottle Servings= 164

16 oz./pint servings= 124

Other Dimensions of a Keg

Full Keg Weight = 160.5 Pounds

Empty Keg Weight = 29.7 Pounds

Beer Weight = 130.8 Pounds

Height of Keg = 23.3 Inches

Diameter of Keg = 16.0 - 17.0 Inches

Keg in Gallons = 15.5 Gallons

Keg in Liters = 58.7 Liters

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