A comment made a few days ago by Jibber made me think, is key keg really the beer of the future ? Well, we have already had a discussion about this, and more learned and erudite people than me have made their points, both for and against, in various publications, and I do not intend to go over old ground again. Suffice to say, that for the moment at least, key keg appears to be here to stay.
My concern is not the method of dispense on this occasion, but rather the price we are having to pay for the privilege of drinking it. We all have a limited amount of money to spend in the pub, and it is up to the individual as to how he spends it, I accept this. But as a person, with an interest in beer of all types, I feel that the producers of key keg are in some cases 'ripping me off'.
If we ignore foreign kegs, which will obviously attract a higher price due to their rarity value and import costs and concentrate on those brewed within our isles, it seems that to buy a key keg product is generally more expensive than their cask cousins. Taking them side by side it is often the case that the cask is a third or sometimes a half cheaper than the keg product. What I cannot see, or accept, is why this should be the case.
The product is the same, although packaged differently, and obviously dispensed differently. Is the punter paying through the nose for the packaging of keg rather than cask? If so, why? Surely a plastic ball and cardboard packaging is no more expensive than a metal or plastic cask.
Only one brewery, 'Hawkshead', seems to price its keg and cask similarly, others seem to make a large hike on their prices when selling their keg products. If the brewers see key keg as the way forward, which some obviously do, then why not make them as affordable as cask. Or is it another way of showing that they wish to be classed as 'craft breweries' and are therefore pricing themselves to reflect that they consider 'keg' to be their premium product?
I have not spoken to any brewers to try to clarify this difference, or explain why it should be, but I as a drinker will continue to shy away from many beers that I should like to try because of the prohibitive price placed on them. Come on brewers, make them more affordable, and maybe more of us will try, if not convert, to your 'keg' products.