If the idea of homebrewing is “brewing” in the mind, then it’s important to first ask oneself, Would owning a kegerator be worth it? It is not enough to want something and simply go ahead and buy it.
The pros and cons should be weighed, the options should be considered, even the impact on one’s life should be examined. Now we’re not talking about huge, life-changing things, but owning a kegerator does have its perks. Who knows? Maybe it could be life-changing for someone. Maybe stressed-out Paul can finally sit down and enjoy his beer alone without going to a noisy bar. Or maybe loner Sam could set up a home bar, invite a few people over and voila! He’s now everyone’s favorite guy.
Different strokes for different folks. And they could be thinking of the same thing: getting a kegerator.
Asking the Right Questions
Before deciding on buying a keg refrigerator, the potential buyer should first ask himself/herself these Six Main Questions:
- Would the preferred kinds of beer be available in kegs? If not, then a kegerator won’t be of any use unless one is willing to buy other brands or try other types of beer.
- Would it be alright to have only one type of beer? Basically, it’s really just one beer, sorry. There are kegerators with more taps, though, so a variety of beer may be available. It will cost more, though.
- By estimation, how much is the buyer’s average weekly/monthly/yearly beer intake? This includes the estimated amounts friends and family also consume. This should help calculate possible costs against allotted budget. So, is it over the budget or not?
- How long is the plan on kegerator use? Is it just for a few house parties, for a few months, or hopefully for a long time? Kegerators are not meant to serve for only a short time, that would be a waste. It does depend on proper usage and the quality of maintenance.
- Would there be enough space for a kegerator to occupy? Wanting something is not the same as having it. If there is no place in the home where a kegerator can fit and be able to function well, then there is no point in buying.
If there is a possible spot for it, then decide on the size of the kegerator. For instance, mini-kegerator versus a full-sized one. Remember, it has to be, at least, as big as a keg (two to three square feet of floor space).
- Should it be a prefabricated kegerator or a DIY converted one? The decision should depend on the budget (prefabs cost more) and product quality (prefabs are more reliable, though, as they are created to serve their exact purpose).
Supposing that all the necessary parts are there, a handy person can find or buy an old fridge and convert it into a kegerator. If not, it may only lead to additional costs (and time and effort) in buying and attaching extra parts.
Reasons for Buying a Kegerator
Next, the potential buyer must think of his/her reasons for buying a kegerator. This is where a lot of practicality should be applied. Consider the following:
- It saves money in the long run.
Kegerator price ranges vary widely. They’re from as low as $150 (mini-kegerators) to as high as $1,500 or more (high-end varieties like for homebrews and craft beer). It really depends on how much an individual is willing to pay for a beer dispenser. Many good units cost around $400 or $500, which is fair enough for casual drinkers.
While it does generally seem costly to purchase a kegerator, it can save money in the long run. Draft beer can be stored in very good condition in, at least, three months to, at most, six months.
- No need to buy dozens of bottled or canned beer several times in a week/month as instant beer is available.
- No need for deposits. Kegs have deposits as well, but they won’t be as often and are more likely to be returned compared to bottles.
- It saves a buyer various trips to the grocery stores or beer distributors, ergo, it saves car gas as well.
- It is perfect for some alone-time or for having just a few friends around. That’s Paul and Sam, explained earlier. Either way, that is instant draft beer that can be enjoyed whenever needed in the comforts of home. “Enjoy” and “comfort” are the keywords here.
- A kegerator is environment-friendly. It helps the environment in the sense that having a kegerator means having much less empty bottles and cans to throw away. Environment-conscious or not, the owner will find that having a kegerator saves him/her the hassle of picking up all the mess, right?
- Using a kegerator frees up more space in the regular fridge. Face it, stocking all the bottled/canned beer inside a refrigerator eats up space. It leaves much less space for fruits, vegetables and other edibles to occupy. So now, there is a separate place for the beer and all the perishable stuff has more room in the refrigerator. This may not be an issue for the owner, but to be able to fill up a glass with beer just at one tap is already awesome.
- A kegerator can be repurposed. That’s great especially if one is not exactly a beer-lover. Repurpose the kegerator! Use it for storing/dispensing wine, cider, mead, root beer, cola, ginger ale, and almost any drink. This will require a few adjustments on the specialized appliance, but that’s a piece of cake.
- A kegerator may serve a whole family. As mentioned in #5, a kegerator may also be for dispensing soft beverage and non-alcoholic drinks. Nobody ever said that this can’t be done.
The potential buyer must put into consideration the reasons above. They may be for buying kegerators, but she/he must also examine the other side of the coin. Perhaps those reasons are not enough to convince that person to purchase a kegerator.
The bottom line is, no one should purchase a kegerator until uncertainties are resolved. It may seem like a fun idea, but it is not exactly a decision to be made lightly. Think hard first and answer the most important question: Are you ready to commit?
If yes, then make it all worth it.