If you are planning a wedding or event, chances are you have beer on the brain! It’s the number one question our clients ask us when planning their bar menu, and we’re here to settle the age-old debate: bottles, or kegs?
Well…. it depends!
We know. Not what you were looking for. But the truth is, bottles and kegs both deserve a spot in the beverage lineup. What is important is determining what will work best for YOUR EVENT by considering a few key factors.
Before we get into the nitty gritty details, take a moment to think about the amount of beer to serve at your event. Things like time of day, season, and guest preferences all factor in. Our rule of thumb is to plan for 60% wine and 40% beer. If you will also be serving spirits, we suggest 30% spirits, 30% beer, and 40% wine. We dive into this topic when planning your perfect bar menu, read it here if you haven’t yet!
Here are the key reasons that bottles might be the right choice for your event.
With beer variety on the rise – it can be hard to decide on just one flavor that your guests will like. Bottles allow you to purchase different types of beer in smaller quantities, all the way down to six at a time if you like. If you go with bottles, we suggest offering no more than four types of beer in order to avoid decision-paralysis, for both you and your guests!
Another great perk of beer in bottles is that they stay fresh for about a year when unopened. Kegs on the other hand, last less than 24 hours unless they are stored in a kegerator. If you want to avoid wasting any unused beer, bottles are the way to go.
Ease of Service
The number one reason to choose bottles, in our opinion, is ease of service. Bottles are fast to open and serve, whether they are given to guests directly in the bottle or taken a step further and poured in a glass. For a quick and happy bar line, bottles beat kegs every time. If you only take away one thing from the bottles vs kegs debate, it should be this: Kegs take 4x longer to serve than bottles. We repeat, four times!! This is a big factor to keep in mind when you are envisioning your event, as we all know that long bar lines can throw off your schedule and cause frustration among guests.
If you are feeling like bottles are the way to go – keep reading! Kegs still pack a punch when it comes to adding value to an event. Here are the key reasons why kegs might be right for you.
Kegs allow you to buy in bulk in a way that bottles never can because you can skip the individual packaging and labels. In some cases, kegs can be 40-60% cheaper than bottles. If you are planning to serve a large portion of your guests beer, kegs are the most economical option.
What makes bottles easy to serve is also one of their downfalls—waste. Bottles are resource-intensive to manufacture and distribute, and can end up in landfills if not properly recycled. On top of eliminating packaging, kegs are reusable. If reducing the impact of your event and bar is important to you, kegs are the way to go.
While bottles won over based on the number of beer options you can offer at your event, kegs can expand the brands of beer at your disposal. Many local microbreweries don’t can or bottle their beer, but they do fill kegs. If you have a particular brewery or a specific beer that you want to share with your guests, getting a keg for your event may be the only way to serve it! While we recommend serving a maximum of four types of bottled beer, for kegs we recommend a maximum of two.
There you have it folks, our thoughts on the bottles vs kegs debate! When it comes to serving beer, bottles and kegs both have their pros and cons. Consider the factors that are most important to you when it comes to cost, variety, waste, and servability. Whichever route you end up taking will ultimately support an amazing event!
Tell us, do you have a preference between bottles and kegs? Tag us on Instagram with your thoughts!