Skip to main content
Register Now for CBP Connects San Diego (December 10-12, 2024)

Keg Fleet Planning: A Key to Brewery Startup Success

Hello, beer enthusiasts!

Today, we’re discussing an often overlooked aspect of brewery startups: keg fleet planning. Kegs are the life-blood of every brewery, crucial for both on-site sales and distribution.

Planning a startup is complex. It involves finding the right location, navigating licenses, building requirements, and importantly, accounting for the proper amount of keg fleet in your startup capital. Most startups acquire initial capital via an SBA 7a loan, which doesn’t allow for much flexibility once you secure your loan amount. So, find a good consultant and plan well!

Understanding the nature of your brewery is key. This could range from a small nano-system in a licensed home-garage to a large facility designed for massive volume distribution. Let’s consider a typical startup example of a 7 BBL capacity brewpub with 6 standard beers and 4 rotational beers served on-site, and limited outside distribution.

Remember, you will always want more space. Plan your space around process flow for efficiency and better team morale. The life cycle of a kegged beer involves cleaning, filling, storing, distributing, returning, and repeating. A good rule of thumb is to have five keg shells for every keg filled.

For distribution, the rule of thumb is to have 4 Half BBL kegs and 8 Sixth BBL kegs for every tap handle within your distribution area. Let’s say you sign with a small distributor and plan to be on 30 taps. Your total in-house and distribution keg fleet will be 246 Half Barrel kegs and 180 Sixth Barrel kegs.

This may seem like a lot, but in our experience, new breweries often wish they had more space and more kegs. But never fear! Our team at Redwood has decades of experience in building equipment and launching breweries and we can work with you to ensure you get exactly what you need!

Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll dive deeper into the world of brewery startups. Until then, happy brewing!
Remember to like, share, and comment with your thoughts! We love hearing from our community. Cheers! 🍻

Tomas Sluiter has been in the brewing industry for 20 years as a Brewer, a consultant, and a brewery owner. He has earned certificates from The Brewers association and International Brewers and Distillers. Tomas has designed, set up, and run breweries around the globe from the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. When not brewing, Tomas loves to play and write music, cook food, travel and scout out the best authentic dive bars.