Does A Beer Keg Belong To The Brewery

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There seems to be plenty of beer kegs for sale on classified ad sites and auction sites. People buy beer kegs to upcycle them into brewing kettles, sinks, barbecues and even tables or light shades. But can you legally buy a keg? Or does a beer keg belong to the brewery?

Converting a beer keg into something other than for holding beer, is a novel concept. Having a keg sink in your pub shed or home bar is pretty cool. Or cooking up those sausages and burgers on a beer keg barbecue sounds pretty neat. But who really owns the keg?

Does A Beer Keg Belong To The Brewery?

Breweries either buy kegs, or rent or lease them. Or use a sharing service that supply empty kegs for filling at the brewery, then collect them from the pub or restaurant once they are empty again. So the ownership of a keg is either the brewery or the company that rent them or share them. It is only the product inside the keg that is sold, not the keg itself.

A keg that is for sale then, may not be the sellers property to sell.

Who Owns An Empty Beer Keg?

Does A Beer Keg Belong To The Brewery

A pub or bar will order many kegs of beer from a brewery. Once that keg is empty it does not belong to the pub or bar. It is only the beer inside the keg that is ever sold, not the keg itself.

The keg will always remain the property of the brewery or the keg supplier if rented or leased by the brewery. An empty keg should be returned to the brewery of keg supplier to be cleaned and reused.

Many kegs going missing, either to be scrapped for money, or upcycled for other use. A keg is only intended for the transportation and storage of beer. Only the owner of a keg can scrap or sell a keg.

It is worth bearing this in mind if you are looking to source a keg.

Can I Buy A Beer Keg?

It is not a wise move to buy a commercial beer keg from a classified ad site or online auction site. These sites are monitored by companies such as Keg Watch, who are a trade association working to reduce the loss of kegs and casks.

They work with many breweries and suppliers to make sure kegs get returned to the rightful owners.

As far as they are concerned a beer keg is for beer, not for upcycling.

It may be possible to buy a beer keg that is a little to old or damaged to safely transport or store beer anymore. However it needs to be purchased from the owner or that keg, with a receipt.

A local brewery may sell you one of these kegs, as long as they actually own it. Or search for a keg supply company and see if they are willing to sell you an old keg that is out of circulation.

Having said that, there are plenty of kegs for sale. Some are even being sold already upcycled into other products. Buy these though at your own risk, and make sure the seller can prove ownership.

What Can A Keg Be Used For?

There are many uses for a beer keg. A popular use is to convert one into a Keggle, which is a homebrew kettle.

Other uses are table, stool, sink, barbecue, lamp shade, planter, fire pit or even a urinal. But you can convert into anything you like, as long as you actually own it.

What Is A Keggle?

The word keggle is made up of keg and kettle combined. It is an old beer keg that is converted into either a homebrew kettle, or a distilling vessel for spirits.

A drain tap is fixed to the keg, as well as a heater element and a inspection/cleaning hole. All of these require drilling holes into the keg, completely defacing it from its original use.

What Is A Keg Barbecue?

A keg barbecue conversion is pretty simple to do. The keg is cut in half lengthways using an appropriate cutting tool and sharp edges smoothed off.

A hinge is fitted to one side or the keg to join the bottom and top. This allows the top to open and close, a handle is fitted to the top half of the opening keg.

The bottom half can then be fixed to a stand, and a grill tray inserted onto the base.

If you own a keg that you have no use for, then this is a pretty cool conversion.

A Keg Sink

Likewise a beer keg sink can make a novel addition to a home bar or pub shed. Just like the barbecue, the keg will have to be cut lengthways to form the sink unit.

There are a number of ways to mount the sink as well as adding a surrounding top edge too. It could be a little tricky to make a proper seal on drain with a curved bottom to the sink.

But again a cool bit of kit making use of an old beer keg.

Final Thoughts

Although there are some great uses for an old beer keg, and plenty of different conversions. Getting hold of one legitimately could be a little tricky.

It is easier to get a beer keg full of beer, which will probably have a deposit on it. This is to encourage the return of the keg to the brewery.

However to forfeit the deposit and keep the keg is not real ownership of that keg. The deposit does not cover the cost of the keg. It is only the contents that are sold, not the keg itself.

The keg remains the property of the brewery or keg supplier.

Be aware of this if you are looking to buy a beer keg to convert. The seller may not actually own that keg, whether they know it or not. It could be regarded as stolen property and lead to prosecution.

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