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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: gsandel on February 21, 2011, 04:03:34 PM

Title: Going extinct?
Post by: gsandel on February 21, 2011, 04:03:34 PM
(http://images.craigslist.org/3ma3ob3l25Y55Q05R1b2g427f88f06765109a.jpg)

After reading many posts and other stuff on line about corny's going extinct, I wonder if it is true.  Recently a shop near my house that deals in volumes of kegs raised their prices to match all of the LHBS after getting a shipment, stating that they were going to get harder to find, but I see mountains of them at all of the LHBS, on line, and on craigslist.  And, if I lived in Seattle, I could get them from Tom for $25.....

I understand the beverage makers are not using them anymore, or retiring them, but shouldn't that just make them more available to the homebrew trade at nearly the scrap metal value?  Lastly, is it disingenuous to say that they are scarce when you can also buy them new (at 3 times the price, however)?  I posit that they someday might become scarce, but they are nowhere near at this point, and treating them as rare precious metal and the price inflations are just plain wrong.  I also understand that once upon a time, you could get them for practically nothing, requiring nothing more than a little elbow grease.

On another note, I was at a local craft brewer and noticed that they have elected to use plastic kegs (I don't know what types of plastic)....does this mean that stainless kegs will also go away altogether eventually?  I am not worried, as how many years would it take to replace the quadzillion kegs in circulation?

Also, as canning becomes more prevalent in craft beer, will the opinion of cans improve, and will that eventually mean the end of glass bottles?  I am surprised this hasn't happened already in BMC world (it would be so much cheaper to only deal with one packaging line).  They even have cans shaped like bottles.  Again, hard to worry about these things....it would take years to make them rare.

Kind of like the gasoline powered automobile....if they stopped making them tomorrow (which they won't), how many years would it be before you couldn't find a gas station?  In fact, the reason alternative fuel vehicles are a hard sell is that there are a million gas stations that would need to convert, and they wouldn't convert until there is a majority of vehicles to serve, and there won't be a majority of vehicles to serve until there are reliable numbers (at reliable intervals) of places to fuel them.  Electric vehicles have the only real chance because you can charge them at home overnight breaking the status quo cycle somewhat.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: denny on February 21, 2011, 04:20:33 PM
I don't know how long you've been in brewing, but compared to 10 years ago cornies are much harder to find and more expensive.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: bluesman on February 21, 2011, 04:22:53 PM
I don't know how long you've been in brewing, but compared to 10 years ago cornies are much harder to find and more expensive.

+1

I just picked up a corny this past weekend for $39.99 which is relatively cheap these days.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: denny on February 21, 2011, 04:25:48 PM
10 years ago I could go to a soft drink distributor and buy hundreds at a time for $2-5 each.  Our club bought about 200 10 gal. cornies for $10 ea.  No way these days.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: The Professor on February 21, 2011, 04:47:25 PM
My supplier (a beverage company that supplies co2 to retaurants & bars) tells me that the Cornies started getting largely phased out by the beverage industry at least 20-25  years ago.   So I'd say that used ones will indeed start to become rarer in the coming years. 
Even though the beverage industry has abandoned them, new ones are still being manufactured, but they sure are pricey!
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: tumarkin on February 21, 2011, 05:04:29 PM
My supplier (a beverage company that supplies co2 to retaurants & bars) tells me that the Cornies started getting largely phased out by the beverage industry at least 20-25  years ago.   So I'd say that used ones will indeed start to become rarer in the coming years. 
Even though the beverage industry has abandoned them, new ones are still being manufactured, but they sure are pricey!

so the question that comes to my mind is..... who (what industry) is buying these new cornies? certainly they aren't all being bought by homebrewers (we're too 'frugal' a bunch). if we knew what industry is using them, that might provide a source for used kegs down the road. anyone know anything about this?
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: denny on February 21, 2011, 05:32:47 PM
My supplier (a beverage company that supplies co2 to retaurants & bars) tells me that the Cornies started getting largely phased out by the beverage industry at least 20-25  years ago.   So I'd say that used ones will indeed start to become rarer in the coming years. 
Even though the beverage industry has abandoned them, new ones are still being manufactured, but they sure are pricey!

so the question that comes to my mind is..... who (what industry) is buying these new cornies? certainly they aren't all being bought by homebrewers (we're too 'frugal' a bunch). if we knew what industry is using them, that might provide a source for used kegs down the road. anyone know anything about this?

I read that they're largely going to China as scrap.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: tschmidlin on February 21, 2011, 06:08:49 PM
I read that they're largely going to China as scrap.
The new ones are being made in China, not sent there as far as I know.

As for cornies being phased out, that is mostly true but there is a restaurant near work that still has a bunch of them out back.  They definitely still use them, and they can't be the only ones in the area.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: euge on February 21, 2011, 07:29:20 PM
The soda distributors aren't using them anymore. They've been sold for scrap. I've got 16, which is probably plenty. Almost everything was much cheaper 4 years ago.

I say if you find some cheap cornies in good condition snap them up.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: hamiltont on February 21, 2011, 08:08:22 PM
I have 16 Ball Locks as well.  I'm hoping they will last me for the rest of my brewing lifetime. They came from here & there and were "cheap" by today's standards.  I can see why there might be a panic based on some of the prices I've seen lately.  Anyway, I'm thinking a bunch of years from now my wife or estate will be making a fortune off these 16 kegs.   :o I keep telling the wifey it's all an investment.  ::)  Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: gsandel on February 21, 2011, 09:07:37 PM
Quote
I don't know how long you've been in brewing, but compared to 10 years ago cornies are much harder to find and more expensive.

I have been brewing for just shy of 20 years....kegging for 1 month.  I am just paying attention now.  Understanding that scoring a bunch of used corny's from some coke distributer or restaurant for dirt cheap is rare, the scrap steel is probably worth more than $10 per alone....but is there a shortage?  No HBS seems to ever be out of kegs to sell for between $45 and $49.  Pricey (or not depending on perspective), but not at all hard to find.  I think that this is a manufactured shortage....and if you look at any other 5 gallon stainless vessel (a basic brewpot for instance) of any quality is $30-$60 new (or over $200 with fancy pieces-parts), which used might be $15-20.  Technically, a new keg at $110 should make a used one about $55....so maybe the $50 price isn't so bad.

Tell me that the price of steel is the factor of the keg price, not shortage.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: tumarkin on February 21, 2011, 09:17:43 PM
Anyway, I'm thinking a bunch of years from now my wife or estate will be making a fortune off these 16 kegs.   :o I keep telling the wifey it's all an investment.  ::)  Cheers!!!

Wow, so you mean that between my corny kegs and my collection of carboys, I'll actually have an 'estate' to leave my kids. Too cool.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: hamiltont on February 21, 2011, 09:51:06 PM
Anyway, I'm thinking a bunch of years from now my wife or estate will be making a fortune off these 16 kegs.   :o I keep telling the wifey it's all an investment.  ::)  Cheers!!!

Wow, so you mean that between my corny kegs and my collection of carboys, I'll actually have an 'estate' to leave my kids. Too cool.
Ohh definitely, and if you hang on to them long enough they'll be museum worthy antiques... That's where the money is....  ;)  Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: gsandel on February 21, 2011, 11:29:58 PM
their real value is in that they help make good beer cheaply.  :)
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: beveragebob on February 22, 2011, 03:02:29 AM
13 years ago I went to the Coke Distributor and got 75-80 for free!
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: tubercle on February 22, 2011, 04:14:28 AM


 Those with "Spartanburg" or "Firestone" stamped on them were made in my home town. The company is still in business but I don't know if the are still stamping kegs. I think they have converted over to the automotive business now for the local BMW plant.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: ajk on February 23, 2011, 12:47:17 PM
I guess the question is ... have we hit Peak Corny?
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: mabrungard on February 23, 2011, 01:17:35 PM
Although these kegs are not really a consumable item, damage and selling them for scrap will reduce their numbers.  I get the impression that someone is still manufacturing these kegs, so maybe we're not really at Peak Corny yet.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: phillamb168 on February 23, 2011, 01:19:06 PM
I guess the question is ... have we hit Peak Corny?

I think this is peak corny: http://www.publicradio.org/applications/formbuilder/projects/joke_machine/joke_page.php
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: gsandel on February 23, 2011, 02:11:23 PM
I was thinking of the term peak corny....since the beverage manufacturers stopped using them, yes, we are past peak....but our homebrewer needs are small, so even if every homebrewer in America needs an average of 10 corny's, there are probably enough corny kegs to go around.  Same if the brewers stop using stainless kegs or even glass bottles.

AHA membership is about what, 30,000, and let's say only 1/3 of homebrewers belong to the AHA (we know it is all the good ones, right?).  100,000 brewers.  If we all had 10 kegs on average (which is a higher number than probably actual), the total demand is 750,000, and if we need to replace 1% per year (which seems high, too) , that is only an additional 7,500 per year.  Someday, we run out of reconditioned kegs....but I am not sure there is a real shortage now.  I don't know what the cost should be, but it shouldn't be spiking due to shortage, but maybe more likely due to increased demand for stainless steel....and every time I see someone mention that they are becoming scarce, that time is not now and it drives me nuts.

Current prices seem to be $40-$50 retail, or $20-$35 resale or wholesale.  Is that reasonable?  I don't know.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: denny on February 23, 2011, 03:55:12 PM
Gary would know for sure, but IIRC the total estimate of homebrewers in the Us is over 200K.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: Slowbrew on February 23, 2011, 04:43:37 PM
Homebrewers are not the only folks who have been using cornies for other purposes over the years either. 

I was up at my Mom's this past weekend to go through the tools that are left in the house.  I had forgotten about a yard sprayer my Dad bought 25 (or so) years ago that was made from a 5 gallon corny keg.  The OUT post was replaced with a hose and spray handle and the IN is a Schraeder valve.  It's the most durable hand sprayer I've ever seen.  No pumping to pressurize, just hit it with the air compressor.

Who knows what else people have made.

Paul
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: Tim McManus on February 23, 2011, 04:52:40 PM
My supplier (a beverage company that supplies co2 to retaurants & bars) tells me that the Cornies started getting largely phased out by the beverage industry at least 20-25  years ago.   So I'd say that used ones will indeed start to become rarer in the coming years. 
Even though the beverage industry has abandoned them, new ones are still being manufactured, but they sure are pricey!

so the question that comes to my mind is..... who (what industry) is buying these new cornies? certainly they aren't all being bought by homebrewers (we're too 'frugal' a bunch). if we knew what industry is using them, that might provide a source for used kegs down the road. anyone know anything about this?

I was at a brewery earlier this year and they were using converted cornies as sixtels.  The welded the posts shut and modified the lid with a sanke tap on the top.  The lid was also welded shut.  There had to be about 50 of them in the brewery, and I am sure they cost a heckuva' lot less than new ones.
Title: Re: Going extinct?
Post by: dbeechum on February 23, 2011, 06:11:14 PM
Gary would know for sure, but IIRC the total estimate of homebrewers in the Us is over 200K.

I believe the estimate is 750k involved in homebrewing per year (including I believe those who are one and done types)