Turning over an entire keg fleet for one of the region’s largest brewers
In late 2018, McMenamins realized it was time to make a change in their brewing equipment. The Golden Gate style kegs no longer served their needs, and they also sought to replace much of their operation — including every tap, draft line, keg, and keg washer. With a brewing system of 25,000 barrels a year across so many locations, this proved no easy task.
“G4 was incredibly helpful, which was huge. We were probably a big pain in the butt — we’d been trying to pull off this conversion for four years. I was constantly bugging G4 for a new quote, and there was never anything but smiles.”
– Graham Brogan
McMenamins District Brewery Manager
The sheer volume of this overhaul presented some unique obstacles. Everything — from how much space the new kegs would occupy, to the disposal of the old kegs, to delivery specifics — had to be carefully considered. We invited the McMenamins team out to the G4 Kegs warehouse to observe the unloading of a container to help plan logistics. The result was seven total containers, unloaded with new kegs and re-loaded with the old ones at the same time.
“G4 gave us invaluable info on things I never would’ve thought of — because how often do you replace 5,000 kegs at a time? But they knew all about it, knew how to suggest things we wouldn’t have even thought to ask. That was a game changer.”
In addition, the keg washer / filler unit they had ordered wouldn’t be arriving for another few months after purchasing the new kegs — so they were going to have to wait to use them so as not to have a mix of old and new in the marketplace. We were able to lease out two manual keg washers to McMenamins, to give them a head start on the transition.
“G4 Kegs has been so accommodating and made the process so painless. They would even come in on a Saturday just because that’s when our truck was in town. It’s great to have someone you can just call and say, ‘I need kegs now!’ — which is usually how it goes, because you can only forecast so much.”
The old-style kegs used to require a full day just to wash 12–24 of them, so McMenamins has enjoyed a major increase in labor efficiency since making the switch. Also, with higher-quality kegs, thick metal makeup, and stainless steel valves, they no longer have to deal with necks cracking or other material issues — meaning they’re able to protect their capital investment for years to come.
“We don’t sell kegs to any pub or bar other than our own, so we’re buying them for a lifetime investment — whereas a lot of breweries, due to kegs lost in transfer/return, unfortunately have to treat a percentage of their kegs like expendable containers. For them I’m sure price means the most, but for us it’s being able to keep these kegs in shape to serve us for the next 30–50 years. I would recommend G4 Kegs to anybody.”