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In the brewing industry, the wooden barrel or cask was long ago replaced by aluminum or stainless steel kegs for the storage and transportation of beer.  The standard of workmanship and materials invested into these pieces has improved over the years, and has had a great impact on their durability, food safety and product quality.

Although many manufacturers opt for a more cost effective aluminum product, a high-grade stainless steel produces a stronger keg with a longer life span.  The stainless steel is formed and welded – either by machine or by hand – to develop the cylindrical shape commonly associated with beer kegs.  The keg has an opening at one end for the tap, and inside a tube made of metal called a spear, which allows the beer to flow out of the keg and through the tap. This process is assisted by the use of gas, usually carbon dioxide, which propels the liquid upwards and out of the spear.  The flow of beer and gas is controlled with the use of valves on the top of the keg.

The most important aspect of the keg is its functionality – the ability to properly maintain the beer that will be stored in it – so it is imperative to use the best possible materials in the manufacturing process.  Use of high end kegs and valve systems means that beer can be stored for as long as four months without affecting the taste or attributes of the product – a worthwhile investment for any brewer.