Kegerator Economics: How Much You Can Save With A Kegerator

Why Buy a Kegerator?

Kegerator Economics: How Much You Can Save

When you buy a kegerator, you’re not only able to conveniently store large amounts of cold draft beer, but you can also save approximately 40-60% in costs, compared to buying the same volume of beer in cans or bottles.

Consider that the average cost for a standard half barrel keg of Budweiser is approximately $100. A standard keg contains 15.5 gallons, or 1,984 ounces. A case of Budweiser contains twenty-four 12oz. cans (288 total ounces) and costs about $23. To get the same volume by ounce as a standard keg, you would need to buy seven cases of Budweiser for about $160 – resulting in over $55 in savings per keg.

This means by the time you purchase your tenth keg, you will have completely offset the cost of your kegerator in savings, breaking even while enjoying high-quality draft beer at home. The savings can be even greater for some brands of beers, as well as various keg sizes. In some instances, kegerator drinkers will break even in as few as eight kegs. Consult the chart below to see how much you can save.

  Average Cost of Half Barrel Keg Average Cost of Case No. Cases Needed by Volume to Equal Keg Savings Per Keg ($USD) No. Kegs Needed to Break Even on Kegerator
Budweiser: $103.75 $23.50 6.88 $57.93 8.61
Miller Lite: $103.75 $22 6.88 $46.61 10.7
Coors Light: $94.75 $20 6.88 $42.85 11.64
Corona: $125.00 $26.50 6.88 $57.32 8.7
Michelob Ultra: $107.00 24.20 6.88 $59.49 8.38
Guinness: $167.00 $35 6.88 $73.80 6.76

Save Time and Energy with Keg Beer

Drinking keg beer has other savings, too. The “greener” way to drink, the use of a refillable, reusable, and recyclable keg is far less time- and resource-intensive than consuming bottled or canned beer. Half-barrel sized kegs store the equivalent of 165 cans of beer – lasting at least six-to-eight weeks refrigerated before it starts to lose its freshness.

The reusable keg can then be refilled, reducing waste and saving you time and money on more frequent beer runs. Kegs are also extremely durable and long-lasting. It’s not uncommon for a single beer keg to dispense over 20,000 pints in its lifetime – the equivalent of over 27,000 cans and bottles requiring disposal.

Draft beer’s environmental impact can be up to 68% lower than bottled beer – mostly due to packaging differences. Waste from distribution, retail, storage and disposal can be over 45% of a bottled micro-brew beer’s CO2 emissions. The aluminum alone in 165 beer cans weighs five pounds, as compared with a standard, reusable keg that requires no packaging and produces no solid waste.

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  1. Sean says

    I have been curious about the economics of a kegerator for some time now. Thanks for doing the research. Kegerator pros: draft beer at home is awesome, it is more convenient, more economical, and more environmentally friendly. I’d be stupid not to have one!

  2. Cole says

    I have a kegerator and by far it is not cheaper not atleast in Nebraska. I can easily get a case (24) of Budwiser for $15.99 or at worst $17.99. The keg runs $115. At that point its almost break even. Then take into account waste which in can beers is almost 0 keg beer varies depending on how the kegerator is set up but not 0 in almost every case.

    The other thing to look at is the amount of people drinking. It takes quite a bit of people to drink a keg, granted it is good for a couple of weeks but unless you are having people over constantly that’s a lot of beer. So in turn you buy a smaller keg $65 for a 8 gallon now you are losing money. The keg is not portable not at least easily so you still have to buy beer when you go somewhere. Maybe just a problem of mine but if I have a keg in my kegerator I am having at least a couple beers every night till its gone. Secondly I am telling all my friends don’t worry about bringing beer I have a keg without the keg I am less inclined to make sure I have enough beer for all my friends.

    I love my kegerator it goes great in my bar. Its a cool thing. It is a fun thing to mess with but the one thing I would not say is it saves you money on beer cost. The only beers I have found to be a cost savings are craft type beers because they are much more expensive in can/bottle form and not as much in keg form.

    • Jeff FlowersJeff Flowers says

      Hi Chris,

      Honestly, that’s a tough question to answer. $160 seems a bit steep for Dos Equis, but the price really will depend on your location and whom you’re buying it from.

      For example, I typically buy all of my kegs from a place here in Austin called Party Barn. A full barrel of Dos Equis Lager is currently listed for $136, and a full keg of Dos Equis Amber is listed at $112.

      Take that for what you will. There are a lot of variables that go into play on the cost of a keg. Best piece of advice, is to call around and ask about price.



  3. Dave says

    I am completely happy with my investment in a kegerator we drink Michelob Ultra and went went through our first half barrel in about 13 day so i figure we will average to full sized kegs a month saving us 1,440 a year. Plus taste is win win.

  4. Trippy says

    Wow, I do like drinking beer on draft. I do pay for it. I am in Sunny So Cali And make my purchases at BevMo, 135$ for 15 gallons of Bud. I have to drive a good six miles to get there. Guy that orders there kegs there though is nice enough. He always keeps one in stock for me. About every 20 days. I member back in the day when every liquor store carried kegs and they cost 40.99$. Well thirty years ago. As important to me as taste (well lets face it. after 6 beers, the taste importance drops way down for any beer) all the dead cans and bottles that are every where. Maybe I am just getting lazy as I age?

  5. Craig says

    “…a standard half gallon keg of Budweiser is approximately $100.” What! That’s $25/pint! I don’t think that would save any money! I think you meant “half barrel.”

    • Jeff FlowersJeff Flowers says

      Hi Craig,

      Thank you for pointing out that error. I have corrected it above. Could you imagine paying $25 for a pint of Budweiser? I don’t think that’s a world I wouldn’t want to live in.


  6. Austin says

    the numbers seem off. idk where these averages are based out of but in ohio the keg is 121 after tax and a case of Bud Light is just under 20 bucks. i was thinking of buying one as an investment for college since by the time I’m out it’ll have saved me enough to more than pay for the kegorator but running my own numbers the cans come out ahead. they come out ahead even more once you factor in the cost for cleaning supplies and CO2.

  7. Scott Walker says

    I may be b;ind but didn’t see. How much is a kegerator and where do I get one? I am liking this idea.

  8. Danny says

    Why would you bother with generic beer in a keg other than llfor a large party…ie bud, coors, miller…you get the idea. They are bottom tier beers that are cheap for a reason, get a keg so you can have REAL draft beer at home…not bud light, you might as well call the culligan man to fill your keg!

  9. Rich M says

    I have a double tap in my home bar and love it. I think I about break even on my commercial tap but come out way ahead on running home brew from the other. For home brew, I average about $35 for 5 gallons even cheaper if I buy kits in bulk/on sale.

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