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What You're Really Paying for That Beer

Kegs (15.5 gallons)

This is the idea that keeps Costco (COST) afloat: The inherent value in buying in bulk.

You look at the unit price of beer in a keg and it only compounds what a simp you are for paying so much for pints drawn from one. A keg of Bud Light at our local bottle shop is selling for $79, not including deposit. That is a $2.87 six-pack and a clear win for anyone who loves themselves a clear, inoffensive light lager.

Even as you ascend into craft beers, the math works out in a drinker's favor. A $186 keg of Green Flash IPA? That's a $6.75 six-pack that flat out doesn't exist. A $204 keg of North Coast's Old Rasputin Imperial Stout? That is $7.40 a six=pack for a beer that could easily fetch more than double that if it came in such packaging.

Again, however, the problem is logistics. If you're just throwing a Bronco hand-pump tap on it like the one you used to use for house parties, prepare to ruin some perfectly good beer. A keg needs refrigeration, carbonation (or nitrogenation, in some cases) and some regular demand. The technical aspects are investments in themselves, while that demand requires a lot of commitment to any one beer over a long period.

If you have the means, the setup and the stable of favorite beers, this is easily the way to go. If you just turned green at the thought of putting down more than 15 gallons of anything, maybe you should take it a six-pack at a time.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
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