From The Washington Free Beacon:

We need to drink more beer. It’s just a matter of how: Can we stand in line six feet apart at our nearest watering hole, containers at the ready? A panel convened last week by the R Street Institute discussed the impact of the coronavirus on the booze industry and addressed this very question.

“There really is no secondary market for keg beer,” said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute. “Moreover, there’s an issue of decanting the beer, getting the beer out of the kegs when they’re not in a retail location. There’s environmental issues, there’s safety issues, so it’s unfortunate.”

“We’re not necessarily going to take that half-used keg of beer and try to sell it,” added Ryan Krill, the CEO and cofounder of Cape May Brewing in New Jersey. “The reality is that people just don’t really buy that many kegs of beer at home, though they certainly have that option.”

It is an option Americans must now embrace. “We already have beer that’s in inventory, that’s in kegs, that’s at our warehouse, that we’re looking at the date codes,” said Krill. The microbrewery typically sells seven to nine kegs of varying sizes a week during the high season. At other times it’s only one or two. Nationwide, the volume of keg beer that goes to private use (including catering) is less than 4 percent.

We can do better.

Keg beer can last a good two months in proper conditions. And while the price seems hefty, starting at about $100 and often higher, you’re getting 15.5 gallons, which translates to 1,984 ounces—meaning 165 cans of beer. A $200 keg would then only cost you $1.21 per 12-ounce beer. In this time of economic uncertainty, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value.

We do, of course, have our health to consider. Americans on average consume 2.3 gallons of booze annually. And while there have been reports of an uptick in drinking during the quarantine, we’re still a far cry from 1830, when we drank a whopping 7.1 gallons of alcohol per year. Once again—we can do better.

Beer will be lost—there’s no way around that. As Jim McGreevy said during the R Street panel, “We hate to see all this great beer go to waste. But that’s the prospect we have the longer this goes on.”

Featured Publications