Which is Cheaper: Keg or Canned Beer?
I decided to breakdown the math and compare the cost of a keg of domestic light beer to buying the same beer in cans.
Note: Prices may vary by location.
Keg Beer (16 Gallon)
- 16 Gallons x 128oz per gallon = 2048 ounces of beer
- $110 for the Keg / 2048 ounces of beer = about $0.054 per ounce
But, we also have to take into account the stack of 300 cups I purchased ($10 at Sam’s Club), and the ice I purchased to keep the keg cold (4 bags of 20 pounds of ice at $2.79 at Costco = $11.16). After taking these factors into account, the cost of keg beer looks like this:
- $110 for the keg + $10 for cups + $11.16 for Ice = $131.16
- $130.20 / 2048 ounces = $0.064 per ounce
- 24 Cans x 12oz per can = 288 ounces of beer
- $16 per case (on sale) / 288 ounces of beer = $0.055 per ounce
We also have to take into account that I’d likely put ice into coolers since I have to keep the cans of beer cold as well. If we assume using the same amount of ice, and that we’d need 7 cases of beer (it’s actually 7.1 cases) to equal the keg, our cost for canned beer looks like this:
- 7 cases of beer x $16 per case + $11.16 for Ice = $123.16
- $122.20 / 2016 ounces = $0.061 per ounce
Keg Beer (8 Gallon Keg)
A 16 gallon contains 170 twelve ounce servings, which may be more than you need for your gathering. An alternative is an 8 gallon keg. Unfortunately, even though an 8 gallon keg is half the size of it’s 16 gallon counterpart, it is not half the cost. While a 16 gallon keg of domestic light beer costs $110, the 8 gallon version will set you back $80. Assuming you’d need to buy the same package of cups, but only half the ice the cost break down is as follows:
- $80 for the keg + $10 for cups + $5.58 for Ice = $95.58
- $95.58 / 1024 ounces = $0.0933 per ounce
If you go the route of having a keg, a refundable deposit may be required for the tap as well as the keg which could total $150. If you have left over beer, it will need to be consumed quickly or you will incur additional cost to keep it cold. Eventually the beer will also go flat. However it’s a neat feature to have a party with a keg as a conversation piece adding to the overall party atmosphere.
If you buy canned beer the left overs can easily be stored for later use. However, you will need coolers or a large container of some sort to fill with ice to keep it cold.
The cost of having a 16 gallon keg is actually slightly more than canned beer if you can find it on sale. Buying an 8 gallon keg is much more expensive. Given the perception that buying in bulk is usually cheaper, this was a surprise.
The bottom line is, the cost of having keg beer isn’t the money saver you might have thought. Whether you buy keg or canned beer for your large gathering will come down to convenience, taste, and personal preference.
Check out additional articles on CleverDude:
- Review: National Consumer Panel – Pure Awesomeness or Waste of Time?
- Meal Delivery Service: Blue Apron Review
- Save Money on Water if You have a Pool (Utilities)
- How Much Money do YouTubers Make?
- What You Need To Know About Costco Cash Back Rewards
- Don’t Use Applebees Coupons to Save Money, Do These 3 Things Instead