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How to Size a Walk-in Keg Cooler for a Restaurant

William D. Gardlock

Whether you are opening a new business or expanding an established restaurant, a keg cooler is something you must consider if you want to separate your food items from your beer and beverage items. Walk-in coolers are generally seen in the back of a restaurant or close to the main storage area.

It will be ideal to place your walk-in cooler in an area that is already wired for electricity. These large coolers are nearly always custom-made to suit your needs. No need to sweat, however. This is a moderately easy task and your contractors will more than likely help you in this endeavor.

  1. Obtain the dimensions of different types of kegs. A half-barrel (most used) is 16 1/8 inches in diameter and 23 3/8 inches tall; a quarter-barrel is also 16 1/8 inches in diameter but 13 7/8 inches tall; and a sixth-barrel is 9 1/4 inches in diameter and 23 3/8 inches tall. These are the three main barrels you will be using.

  2. Decide how many kegs you will be using. Not only should you count your existing keg inventory, but also any future expansion you may undergo.

  3. Add up the diameters of all the kegs you think you will need for your business. This is the size you will need for three sides of your walk-in keg cooler. For example, if you know you are going to use 25 half-barrels, you know you will need approximately 404 inches, or 34 feet worth of floor space around your walls. Kegs are heavy and bulky, it would not be ideal to stack them on top of on another, so lining them up from end to end will be your best option.

  4. The fourth side of your cooler will be where your door will go. Make sure you account for room to walk in to your walk-in cooler.

  5. Give the dimensions to your contractor and wait for your new custom walk-in keg cooler to arrive.

  6. Tip

    When selling draft beer at your bar or restaurant, be sure to have your draft lines cleaned regularly. Be sure you have help carrying heavier kegs, as they can weigh anywhere from 48-161 pounds. With an extra cooler, you may want to account for your can/bottle beer. Keep a few in your new cooler for emergency stocking purposes.


    Be sure your cooler is the correct temperature, if it is too hot or too cold, it can ruin your beer.