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Reusable steel kegs and casks: the efficient, sustainable choice

By Steel Keg Association

- Last updated on GMT

Steely Dan: Dan Vorlage, executive director of the Steel Keg Association
Steely Dan: Dan Vorlage, executive director of the Steel Keg Association

Related tags Cellar management Kegs Cask Finance Social responsibility

Dan Vorlage, executive director of the Steel Keg Association, talks about the challenges facing the on-trade and how reusable steel kegs and casks can play a meaningful role to speed the recovery.

What’s your perspective on draught today?

DV:​ Draught is global. And we know all markets around the globe are still recovering on-premise. For this reason we helped found the new Steel Keg Association, comprised of the largest global suppliers in draught beer, to increasing the volume of beer and other draft beverages.

We’ve developed a deep appreciation for how truly special pubs, bars, breweries and restaurants are to this mission. I watch the market closely and it breaks my heart to see these businesses struggle. For example, draught beer consumption was down by almost half in 2021 compared to 2019, and it’s one of the slowest recovering draught beer markets in western Europe. 

People aren’t coming to the on-trade like they used to, and we are committed to bringing that traffic back.

How are steel kegs and casks part of the solution?

DV: ​Reusability is having a moment. Millions of people are changing their behaviour because of reusability. They now carry reusable steel water bottles because they know they’re eliminating single-use plastic bottles from waste streams and​ they’re saving money.

We’re highlighting the fact steel kegs work the same way for bar, pub and restaurant operators. Prior to Covid, reusable steel kegs and casks were saving about 4bn single-use containers from recycling and landfill streams.

By highlighting the sustainability benefits of reusable containers, we have an opportunity to motivate consumers to enjoy more fresh beer on trade rather than at home. In addition, we want to help shine a light on the fact that steel kegs deliver a fresh experience most consumers can’t get at home. 

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What are the Keg Champion Awards?

DV: ​In celebration of World Refill Day on 16 June, the Steel Keg Association is accepting nominations for our 1st Annual Keg Champion Awards recognising leading pubs, bars, restaurants and breweries for embracing the remarkable benefits that reusable steel kegs deliver with every pint.

Now through 9 June, we’re accepting nominations to recognise Keg Champions across the UK with our first annual awards.

  • Sustainability: Keg Champions look for ways to operate sustainably and do a little good with every pull of a tap handle. That’s because steel kegs have the potential to save over 4 BILLION single-use containers from waste streams each year.
  • Efficiency: Keg Champions tap into the economic benefits of steel kegs by featuring draught beer as an important part of their business. Steel kegs and casks provide high contribution margins to bars and restaurants which are more important now than ever.
  • Fresh Experience: Keg Champions take pride in serving draught beer helping to create a fresh experience their consumers can’t get at home.

Anyone can nominate and all nominated companies will receive a Keg Champion recognition package (back-of-house poster, window cling, stickers, a recognition letter, etc.). We will also select seven establishments in various categories as our 2023 UK Keg Champion Award winners, and present each of them with one of our iconic green Keg Champion kegs and donate £1,000 to the charity of their choice. 

Tell us about the Steel Keg Association... 

DV:​ We’re a non-profit marketing-focused organisation, founded by the leading companies in the global keg supply chain, on a mission to grow the volume of beer and other beverages served from steel kegs.

When we talk with decision makers at bars and restaurants about the sustainability, efficiency and freshness benefits reusable steel kegs deliver, they have this “a-ha” moment: They see that reusable steel kegs have a more important role to play in their operations, helping them to achieve their economic and environmental sustainability goals.

So we’re expanding our marketing efforts and providing resources on our website to help bars and restaurants tap into the full potential of steel kegs.

For more information on the Steel Keg Association and to nominate a Keg Champion, visit​ 

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