Are beer pumps also money pumps?


Beer taps use large containers of operating capacity. The price per liter of liquor served is better for the consumer than cans or bottles. The reality is more nuanced.

Something for everyone, but…

© Gettyimages

We always think that buying wholesale is more economical than retail. And this indeed is the common case; per liter, the price of a drink sold in a large 2-liter bottle, for example, is lower than the same drink in a 33 cl can.

However, on the occasion of an article about domestic beer dispensers, we discovered that these devices used large capacity kegs (5 or 6 l, depending on the brand). So we wonder if the consumer can expect to save because of these large volumes. To do this, we selected some brews and compared the prices per liter in barrels and per bottle.

If you read our dossier carefully, you will know that the market for domestic dispensers is divided into two major players: the Heineken groups (of the origin of the Beertender machine) and Anheuser-Busch InBev (which develops of the Perfect Draft pump ). The two competitors produce different beers and are therefore impossible to compare strictly speaking the prices of a Beertender keg and a Perfect Draft keg. So we based ourselves on beers that we thought were pretty close to each other for this article.

At Beertender

Bartender machine kegs are the easiest to find in physical stores.

Credit where credit is due, we started this comparison with Heineken beer. In the same brand, a 5-liter barrel costs €17.39, or €3.48 per liter. Bottled, prices vary between €3.08 and €2.23 per liter depending on packaging (beer or cans) and quantity. The price difference starts at €0.40 per liter, which ends up at €1.25, which is still a lot.

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soft beer

A very economical move…

© Krups

We then chose La Goudale, a slightly less well-known but relatively well-distributed beer. You’ll need to shell out €25.10 to buy a 5-litre keg, or €5.02 per litre. In bottles and cans, prices vary between €3.94 per liter and €3.13, ie a difference of more than one euro at the minimum (€1.06 precisely) and €1.89 at the maximum.

In Perfect Draft

First observation, Perfect Draft barrels are actually rare on the shelves of our supermarkets and hypermarkets. So we went to a well-established website (and a very good SEO) to find out the prices of a beer that we think is close to Heineken and easy to get, the classic blonde Leffe . Excluding shipping costs, the 6-liter keg sells for €31.50 or €5.25 per liter. Back to where we found our Heineken bottles: prices range from €3.49 per liter to €2.60. So the price difference is from €1.76 to €2.65. In the latter case, the cost is multiplied by two.

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6 liter kegs are not less than 5 liters.

© PerfectDraft

Then we looked at Tripel Karmeliet, selling for €40.90 per 6-liter barrel, or €6.82 per liter. Bottled, this brew costs €5.61 per liter, so you save €1.21 per liter.

The Sub case

Sub torps live up to their name well, as they literally torpedo your beer budget. In this format, two liters of Heineken costs €8.99, or roughly €4.50 per liter! As a reminder, this beer is sold at €3.48 per liter in a 5-liter barrel; bottled, at the most expensive, it costs €3.08 per liter and at the least expensive, €2.23 per liter. Again, the liquor is twice the price of bottled.

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Krups The Sub

The chesterfield in the background will be cheaper than the torp the shooter has.

© Krups

And for the slightly more exclusive beers (which are not particularly rare, let’s be clear), we can rightly talk about truandage: €18.99 for two liters of Delirium Tremens! €9.50 per liter! At this price, you can also buy the brewery.

In order to compare prices on a like-for-like basis, we do not consider shipping costs.

Non-pressurized drums, a possible solution?

These barrels are used in universal machines that require CO2 cartridges to create pressure, less known and less common among us. So sometimes finding matching drums is complicated, but you can do it by fiddling around here and there. You can get entry-level barrel blonde for 20 €. To this must be added the price of the cartridge which is enough to empty a keg or fill 20 glasses, and which costs more or less one euro depending on the quantity.

On the other hand, it is very complicated to compare prices between barrels and bottles, the latter being even more poorly distributed than kegs on the French market.

With these few examples, we know that buying a beer dispenser is not exactly the same as saving. Its acquisition is part of a festive approach to give a little spice (and bubbles) to a family barbecue or a night of football … or in the condition of being a fierce and exclusive supporter of draft beer. Do not forget that alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health and should be consumed in moderation.

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