Retail Sales: Keg Registration
Laws specifying special requirements for the sale or purchase of beer kegs.
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This policy topic is included in the APIS Highlight on Underage Drinking section. The Highlight's Overview of Underage Drinking Policy in the United States provides additional context that may be helpful in understanding this policy topic. State-by-State summaries of eleven underage drinking policy topics are available in the State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws section. Maps and charts for all of these policy topics are collected on a single page to provide a more comprehensive graphical overview of underage policies.
(Period Covered: 1/1/2003 through 1/1/2016)
This policy topic covers laws specifying special requirements for the sale or purchase of beer kegs.
Keg registration laws (sometimes called keg tagging laws) require wholesalers or retailers to attach a tag, sticker, or engraving with an identification number to kegs exceeding a specified capacity (two to eight gallon minimum depending on the State). At purchase, the retailer records identifying information about the purchaser (e.g., name, address, telephone number, driver's license). A refundable deposit may also be collected for the keg itself, the tapper mechanism used to serve the beer, or both. The deposit is refunded when the keg and/or tapper are returned with the identification number intact. In some States, keg laws specifically prohibit destroying or altering the ID tag and provide penalties for doing so. Other States make it a crime to possess an unregistered or unlabeled keg.
In a different approach to regulating kegs, Utah bans kegs altogether.
Some jurisdictions collect information that may aid law enforcement efforts such as the location where the keg is to be consumed and the tag number of the vehicle in which the keg is transported. Some jurisdictions also require retailers to provide warning information at the time of purchase about laws prohibiting service to minors and/or other laws related to the purchase or possession of the keg.
The recent introduction of disposable kegs presents a complicating factor for keg registration laws. Some of these containers meet the capacity definition for a "keg," but cannot be easily tagged or traced since they are meant to be disposed of when empty.
Explanatory Notes and Limitations for Keg Registration
Explanatory Notes and Limitations Specifically Applicable to Keg Registration
1. Individual vendors may impose their own keg registration requirements. These practices are beyond the scope of APIS.
2. The following considerations limit the interpretation of SPECIFIC KEG REGISTRATION VARIABLES addressed by APIS:
DEPOSITS—Only State-mandated deposits are noted. Some jurisdictions specify different deposit amounts depending on container size. In these cases, the minimum required deposit is shown in the comparison table and a Jurisdiction Note or Row Note provides more specific information. While no State prohibits a vendor from collecting a deposit, a few States set upper limits on the total deposit that a vendor may require from a keg purchaser. Statutes that set upper limits on permissive deposits were not specifically noted.
PENALTIES—Maximum permissible penalties are noted. These penalties may not reflect the penalties actually imposed. Penalties in some states consist of jail time, fine, or both. APIS does not address whether both jail time and a fine may be imposed in any given state.
PURCHASER INFORMATION COLLECTED—Jurisdictions are not coded for the Per Gov't ID variable if keg purchasers are merely required to produce identification at the time of sale. For this variable, jurisdictions must require the retailer to record the purchaser's identification number or the form of identification presented by the purchaser together with the purchaser's name, address, and date of birth, or require that the purchaser's name and address be recorded as they appear on the identification produced by the purchaser.
Explanatory Notes and Limitations Applicable to All APIS Policy Topics
- State law may permit local jurisdictions to impose requirements in addition to those mandated by State law. Alternatively, State law may prohibit local legislation on this topic, thereby preempting local powers. For more information on the preemption doctrine, see the About Alcohol Policy page. APIS does not document policies established by local governments.
- In addition to statutes and regulations, judicial decisions (case law) also may affect alcohol-related policies. APIS does not review case law except to determine whether judicial decisions have invalidated statutes or regulations that would otherwise affect the data presented in the comparison tables.
- APIS reviews published administrative regulations. However, administrative decisions or directives that are not included in a State's published regulatory codes may have an impact on implementation. This possibility has not been addressed by the APIS research.
- Statutes and regulations cited in tables on this policy topic may have been amended or repealed after the specific date or time period specified by the site user's search criteria.
- If a conflict exists between a statute and a regulation addressing the same legal issue, APIS coding relies on the statute.
- A comprehensive understanding of the data presented in the comparison tables for this policy topic requires examination of the applicable Row Notes and Jurisdiction Notes, which can be accessed from the body of the table via links in the Jurisdiction column.
Federal Law for Keg Registration
(Policies in effect on: 1/1/2016)
The 21st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides each State with the primary authority to regulate the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages within its borders. Courts have provided varying interpretations of the extent of this authority, particularly its interaction with the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution. For more information about the 21st Amendment and the Interstate Commerce Clause, see the About Alcohol Policy
section of the APIS Web Site.
Our research identified no relevant Federal statutes or regulations pertaining to Keg Registration.
Selected References for Keg Registration
- Boyle, S.C., LaBrie, J.W., Froidevaux, N.M., & Witkovic, Y.D. (2016). Different digital paths to the keg? How exposure to peers' alcohol-related social media content influences drinking among male and female first-year college students. Addictive Behaviors, 57:21-29. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.01.011. Epub 2016 Jan 22.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Young Adult Drinking. Alcohol Alert No. 68. April 2006.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Underage Drinking. Alcohol Alert No. 67. January 2006.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Focus on Young Adult Drinking. Alcohol Research and Health 28(4), 2004/2005.
- Ringwalt, C.L., and Paschall, M.J. The utility of keg registration laws: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Adolescent Health 48(1):106-108, 2011.
- Wagenaar, A.C., Harwood, E.M., Silianoff, C., and Toomey, T.L. Measuring Public Policy: The Case of Beer Keg Registration Laws. Evaluation and Program Planning 28(4):359-367, 2005.