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Explained: What happens to empty kegs?

BY ELYANA TWIGGS
For the Daily
Published January 27, 2009

As many have put it before, beer is the leading social lubricant distributed at college parties across the nation. The average college student is well-read in this area of study, drinking his or her beer either from a can, bottle, beer bong or as is the case at the select house party, a keg.

Students looking for their beer fix can find kegs at liquor stores all across campus, from Strickland’s Market on Geddes Avenue to Blue Front Kegs on Packard Street. But what happens when hung over students bring their kegs back to the store the day after a party?

Most liquor store employees don’t really know.

Ronk Patel, an employee at Blue Front Kegs, said once the kegs are returned, customers are given their deposit back and empty kegs are sent back to the distributing company. He said beer distributors pick up the kegs each week, but that he doesn’t know exactly what happens to the kegs after that.

“We have nothing to do with them after they get picked up,” Patel said.

Eliza Brace, an employee at Village Corner on South Forest Avenue, said their process is similar. The main keg suppliers for Village Corner are Silver Foam Distributing Company and Rave Associates, which operate in Jackson, Mich., and Ann Arbor, respectively. The companies pick up the empty kegs for recycling and then return them to the stores fresh and full of beer.

“It’s just like recycling cans — whenever there is a beer delivery, we get new, full kegs that replace the empty ones,” she said.

Bill Stanford, vice president of operations at Silver Foam Distributing, explained that these local companies are merely distributors, and the kegs are shipped from corporate headquarters to the local distributing companies.

“Miller Brewing Company goes about cleaning, recycling, refilling them, and all that good stuff,” he said.

Anheuser Busch Inc., another company that brands its name on many of the aluminum kegs sold throughout campus, had little to say about the process.

“I honestly, really don’t have an idea about the process”, said Bill Etling, press coordinator for the company.


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