Code of Keg Conduct

Best Practices for Keg Users

All beer industry stakeholders have a key role to play in returning kegs to their brewery owners. Keg repatriation motivation starts with the Golden Rule, continues with the power of green (deposit dollars) and ends with the red flag of statutes and regulations. Below you’ll find best practices for just about everyone using kegs.

Brewers

  • Reply timely when contacted by anyone holding your keg(s).
  • Only use kegs you own; never fill or use another brewer’s keg(s).
  • Never knowingly accept or purchase another brewer’s keg(s).
  • Return stray kegs to the brewer their local wholesaler in a timely manner.
  • Remember that “stuff” happens…always assume a keg holder who contacts you came into possession of your keg honestly, likely paid freight and deposit on the keg, and is trying to return it to you without losing money.
  • Freight and deposit are usually cheaper than replacing a keg.
  • Freight is significantly shorter than waiting the 3-6 months for a new keg.
  • According to Federal law, a brewer may not sell beer in a keg bearing identification marks of more than one brewery, or of a different brewery. Be sure kegs you purchase do not bear the mark of another brewery or brands. And know that you are required to notify TTB of your plans to repurpose another brewer’s kegs before doing so.

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Wholesalers

  • Reply timely when contacted by anyone holding keg(s) belonging to your supplier breweries.
  • Never knowingly collect, receive or ship kegs for which a deposit is not held.
  • Take care to not include strays in shipments of kegs intended for another brewery.
  • Return stray kegs to the brewery or their local wholesaler (if other than you) in a timely manner.

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Retailers

  • Always store empty cooperage in a secure location until you can return it to the wholesaler or brewery.
  • Never knowingly allow cooperage to leave your premises inappropriately.
  • Return stray kegs to the appropriate wholesaler or directly to the rightful brewery in a timely manner (in the instance of a brewery-distributed keg).
  • Contact the owner of the keg directly (brewery) if you have any questions about the rightful owner or wholesaler.

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Homebrewers

  • Breweries that you know and love are counting on you to play a huge role in solving a very real, very expensive problem which hurts the craft beer movement and brewers large and small.
  • Use KegReturn.com to help you contact a brewery whose keg you currently hold, or to let them know about the location of their strays. KegReturn.com was created as a tool to help all beer industry stakeholders do the right thing.
  • Breweries almost never sell kegs; kegs become strays for many reasons, but remain brewery property.
  • Deposits paid do not convey title to a keg; kegs always remain brewery property.
  • Repurposing a keg for homebrewing is illegal unless the keg was purchased legally from the brewery or from a keg manufacturer.
  • Always insist that repurposed kegs you purchase for homebrewing are accompanied with clear title indicating the seller and you both came to own the keg legally.

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Consumers

  • Kegs on which you have paid a deposit remain the property of the brewery.
  • Always store empty kegs securely until you can return them to the place of purchase.
  • Return stray kegs to the appropriate retail or wholesale location of purchase in a timely manner.
  • Never tamper with, mishandle, abuse or alter a keg. Kegs are sophisticated pressurized vessels.
  • Ensure that a seller holds legal title to any keg(s) you purchase.
  • Never purchase a keg unless legal title is transferred to you by the seller.

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Logistics Companies

  • KegReturn.com is available to help you contact a brewery whose keg you currently hold.
  • Kegs on which you have paid a deposit remain the property of the brewery, whether you do business with that brewery or not.
  • Never purchase or repurpose a keg unless legal title has been transferred to you by the brewery or owner of the keg.

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Keg Re-manufacturers

  • KegReturn.com is available to help you contact a brewery whose keg you currently hold.
  • Kegs on which you have paid a deposit remain the property of the brewery, whether you do business with that brewery or not.
  • Never purchase or repurpose a keg unless legal title is transferred to you by the brewery or owner of the keg.
  • According to Federal law, a brewer may not sell beer in a keg bearing identification marks of more than one brewery, or of a different brewery.

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Scrap Yards

  • Brewers almost never intend for kegs to be scrapped, nor do they sell empty kegs to individuals.
  • In the rare instances that brewers choose to scrap kegs and transfer title to you, the kegs have outlived their safe service life and should be shredded rather than repurposed or resold.
  • Be proud that ISRI and the Brewers Association have joined forces to denounce the practice of keg scrapping.
  • Payment of a keg deposit does not convey title to a keg, which always remains property of the brewery. Be aware that any party other than a brewery attempting to scrap a keg is NOT the legal owner.
  • KegReturn.com is available to help you contact a brewery whose keg you currently hold, or in the event a third party attempts to sell you a keg belonging to a brewery.
  • Post this message from ISRI on your premises.

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