We often tend to think that buying wholesale is cheaper than retail. And indeed that is often the case; For example, a drink in a large 2 liter bottle costs less per liter than the same drink in a 33 cl can.
However, on the occasion of an article on domestic beer dispensers, we found out that these devices use large capacity kegs (5 or 6 liters depending on the brand). We therefore asked ourselves whether the consumer could expect savings thanks to these larger quantities. We have selected a few brews and compared the prices per liter in the barrel and per bottle.
If you have read our dossier carefully, you know that the domestic beer dispenser market is divided into two main players: the Heineken Groups (as the origin of the Beertender machine) and Anheuser-Busch InBev (which developed the Perfect Draft pump). The two competitors produce different beers and are therefore not comparable strictly speaking the prices for a Beertender keg and a Perfect Draft keg. For this reason, we have based this article on beers that we believe are relatively close together.
Bartender machine kegs are easiest to find in physical stores.
Credit where credit is due, we start this comparison with Heineken beer. At the same brand, the 5 liter barrel costs 17.39 euros or 3.48 euros per liter. Bottled, prices vary between €3.08 and €2.23 per liter depending on the packaging (beer or can) and quantity. The price difference starts at 0.40 euros per liter and peaks at 1.25 euros, which is still a lot.
We then settled on La Goudale, a slightly lesser known but fairly widespread beer. For a 5 liter keg you have to spend 25.10 euros, or 5.02 euros per liter. For bottles and cans, the prices vary between 3.94 euros per liter and 3.13 euros, i.e. more than a euro difference at the minimum (exactly 1.06 euros) up to a maximum of 1.89 euros.
At Perfect Draft
First observation: Perfect Draft kegs are actually quite rare on our supermarket and hypermarket shelves. So we went to a well-established website (and very good SEO) to find out the prices of a beer that we think is pretty close to Heineken’s and easy to get hold of, the classic blonde Leffe. Without shipping costs, the 6-liter keg is therefore sold for 31.50 euros or 5.25 euros per liter. Back to our Heineken bottles: prices range from €3.49 per liter to €2.60. So the price difference ranges from €1.76 to €2.65. In the latter case, the cost is multiplied by two.
Then we target the Tripel Karmeliet, which sells for €40.90 per 6 liter keg or €6.82 per litre. Bottled, this brew costs €5.61 per litre, so you save €1.21 per litre.
The sub case
The Sub Torps live up to their name as they literally torpedo your beer budget. In this format, two liters of Heineken cost €8.99, or almost €4.50 per litre! As a reminder, this beer is sold for €3.48 per liter in 5 liter kegs; When bottled, the most expensive is €3.08 per liter and the cheapest is €2.23 per liter. Again, the drink is twice as expensive as bottled.
And for slightly more exclusive beers (without being extremely rare, let’s get that straight) we can reasonably speak of truandage: €18.99 for two liters of Delirium Tremens! €9.50 per liter! At that price you might as well buy the brewery.
In order to compare prices at eye level, we have not included shipping costs.
Non-pressurized drums, a possible solution?
These kegs are used on universal machines that require CO2 cartridges to generate the pressure, less known and less common with us. It is therefore sometimes complicated to find compatible drums, but you can do it by browsing here and there. You can get an entry-level barrel of blond for €20. Added to this is the price of the cartridge, which is enough to empty a keg or fill 20 glasses and costs more or less one euro depending on the quantity.
On the other hand, it is very complicated to compare prices between kegs and bottles, since the latter are even less common on the French market than kegs.
Based on these few examples, it becomes clear to us that buying a beer dispenser is not really synonymous with saving. Its acquisition is more part of a celebratory approach, to add a little spice (and fizz) to a family barbecue or a football night… or on condition of being a firm and exclusive draft beer devotee. Do not forget that alcohol abuse is harmful to health and should be consumed in moderation.