This could include dry goods, glass, cans, malt, hops, purchase of new / used equipment, and empty keg returns. Most suppliers will offer to sell your goods “delivered”, cost of unit + freight, sometimes this is a good deal, they have purchasing power, or you could be paying a premium for that freight component – you need to weigh the convenience factor. The easiest way to find out the real cost is to ask the supplier, “what are you charging me for the freight” get that cost and compare rates with an independent source – may the best man win!
Shipping Tanks to the brewery, everyone has been a part of this rodeo, flat bed trailers, cranes, and pre-planning is needed. Do not assume anything. It’s very important to have exact specs so the right truck can be booked. Avoid SURPRISES, spot changes to the plan typically means time lost and extra dollars.
Empty Keg returns (turn rate vs. cost per keg return)
Let’s first talk about how you ship them. Empty kegs can be stacked 3 pallets high, you can mix keg sizes HB(1/2bbl) with SB(1/6bbl) kegs and if you use slim QB(1/4bbl) kegs, those all are the same height so your wholesaler can mix and match on a pallet to create a full stack. (3 pallet stacks = HB 24 kegs, SB 60 kegs, QB 42 kegs).
Good estimate of EMPTY stainless keg weights (for your LTL shipping calculations)
- 1/2 bbl keg – approx. 30lbs.
- 1/4 bbl keg – approx. 22lbs.
- 1/6 bbl keg – approx. 16lbs.
When should I pick up my empty kegs?
The Brewer must decide the most effective and economical plan for maximizing keg fleet usage.
- Small keg loads. This allows the brewery to turn kegs faster, faster turns means maximizing your keg fleet with a higher turn rate. You fill more kegs with the same size keg fleet, saving capital dollars that would have to be used to buy additional kegs, but costs you higher per keg return freight expense.
- Large keg loads. Letting the number of kegs build up allows you to ship the kegs back in larger quantities, lowering the freight costs per keg returned. But lowers your usage or turn rates, the result is less money spent on Freight expense, but requires capital investment in more kegs to fulfill sales.