Buying Steel Kegs from China

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A lot of my clients are buying steel kegs from China along with their brewhouse order. Plus, I’ve been getting more standalone keg orders recently, too.

As the price of shipping has come down drastically, as we’ve moved away Covid. The costings make sense to order kegs from China, and ship to breweries overseas.

There many keg manufacturers in China to choose from. With the best ones supply the big boys like AB InBev, Asahi, San Miguel plus, Tsingtao and Snow locally, as well.

So, the quality and safety of the kegs is there. Any type of keg/cask required can likely be ordered from China. As seen in the picture below. You can get corny kegs fabricated, also.

Buying Steel Kegs from China - The Different Kegs Available from Chinese Keg Manufacturers

Kegs Spears and Safety

When it comes to keg spears/connectors, Chinese manufacturers can supply every spear type. As seen in the picture below. Plus, there are two main spear suppliers to choose from.

Micromatic – A well-known international brand based out of Denmark (more expensive)

Aobaosi – This is local Chinese made brand, which I use for my own kegs (cheaper option)

Whichever spear type you opt for, is entirely up to you. I always go with locally made spears and never had an issue. However, when it comes to keg safety. I’ll always advise to opt for kegs with safety locks.

These locks stop brewers accidently opening a pressurized keg and causing themselves harm. With the keg spear not able to shoot out, and hit them in the face.

The option to not install this safety feature exists, but I’d advise against it. Furthermore, a special tool can be purchased to allow a brewery to open these kegs, in a safe manner.

Keg Branding – Buying Steel Kegs from China

There are typically three ways for a keg manufacturer to brand kegs, which are:

Embossed and engraving – Often can be done for free when the kegs are being fabricated.

Electric Etching – Involves a certain cost per keg to have this done. Price varies from supplier-to-supplier, generally, US$ 0.5 to 1.

Keg Silk Printing and Painting – Color banding or adding unique silk printing design to make your kegs different from other breweries at a glance.

Buying Steel Kegs from China - Different Keg Branding and Tracking Option

Keg Tracking – HID and Code Scanning

Furthermore, the kegs can also be fitted with HID RFID tags as seen in the image above (the blue rectangle). HID allows breweries to track their keg fleet more easily.

Furthermore, with this system you can accurately account for an entire pallet and even truck load of kegs in seconds. The HID tags are designed to reliably track inventory amidst dense field objects, including items filled with liquid.  

Kegs can be manufactured in China and come ready with this system. With the tags placed on the kegs during fabrication. Likewise, QR or barcodes are also available to track kegs too.

Buying Steel Kegs from China - Banner

Buying Steel Kegs from China – Ordering Process

The process of ordering kegs from China is pretty straight forward. You need to know the following:

The number of kegs required – Ideally enough to fill a container or correct number to fit on full pallets.

Sizes of kegs needed – Most breweries will have two different sizes

Spear type needed – Spear type and preferred manufacturer

The type of branding you want – Embossed, etched, silk printed or painted

Is tracking needed – Either HID tags or QR coded

Once this information is shared with the manufacturer, a quote and later invoice can be made. Usually, there’ll be two payments. Typically, 50% to be paid before fabrication and 50% before shipment. With the order officially confirmed on receiving the kegs.

Once the deposit is paid, the company will ask for you logo. If the kegs have been agreed to be etched. Usually, a PDF or AI file will be asked for. Likewise, color banding will be confirmed if you go with this option.

Brewery Equipment List Options - Mock-Up of Keg Order for Australia
Etching diagram for a clients Big Rocks Brewing in Rockhampton, Australia

Timelines

Depending on the time of year, kegs can take one to two-months to be fabricated. The months leading up to summer are generally busiest for keg fabricators.

In fact ordering in April/May you may need to wait longer. My go to keg supplier sold nearly 920,000 kegs and casks last year.

Shipping times depend on where you’re based, on average it’ll be:

  • EU – 25 to 35-days
  • US East Coast – 30 to 40 days
  • US West Coast – 35 to 45 days

Then you’ll have customs clearance and inland transport to your location. Often the keg supplier can arrange shipment to your nearest port. Then you’ll have to organize pick-up from there, or use a freight forwarder instead.

Buying Steel Kegs from China – Round-Up

That’s pretty much it…

There are a number of keg manufactures in China, and knowing which one to pick can be difficult. Fabricators who can be relied to deliver quality kegs in a timely manner.

As I say I’ve helped arrange many keg buys for clients over the years. I’ve my go to supplier and a back-up, if my main fabricator is too busy.

If you want some help to source kegs in China, get in touch. My email is:

neil@asianbeernetwork.com

Or you can scan the relevant QR code below, to add me to your preferred network and message me directly.

Happy to have a chat about sourcing kegs and get pricing for you. Even, if you only want to get pricing to see how much it might be, and not looking to buy yet. I can get this information for you so, you have it on file.

Anyway, thanks for reading and have a great day!

Neil Playfoot

Neil is a brewer with 25 years international brewing experience. Based out of China (first came in 2010) he works as a brewing consultant helping brewers with their projects and brewing processes. To find out what services Neil can provide your brewery please click here. If you'd like to contact Neil you can email at neil@asianbeernetwork.com.
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