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Keg Watch Briefing Note For Police and other Law Enforcement


  • All Kegs and casks currently used in th UK brewery trade are either Aluminium or Stainless Steel. Stainless Steel is the preferred metal.

  • Keg sizes range from 20 litres up to 36 gallons, the most common size being 50 and 100 litres.

  • Cask sizes range from 9 gallon to 18 gallon, the most common size being 9 gallon.


  • To help in the prevention of theft, kegs and casks have an inscription on the top or side which indicates the owning brewer, and the fact that it always remains their property.

  • Only the liquid contents are sold to trading customers, so a pub, club, or other retail oultet never owns the keg and casks.

  • All kegs/casks should have a paper label attached to the chime (top) (fig1) during the filling process to indicate its liquid contents. These are called Gyle Lables and will always include details of the product; a unique serial number and a best before date. Some may also include a 'fill' time and date and or a bar code.

  • The Gyle Labels serial number, which is between 10 and 12 numbers long, they should always match the last 10 and 12 numbers on the bar code.

  • In addition to a Gyle Label, modern kegs will normally have a RFID Transponder fitted to the top of the keg (fig 2), . This receives and transmits data during the filling process and enables the brewers to gather fill history information.

  • Most kegs and casks will also have coloured banding around the middle to identify owenership (called 'belly banding').

  • The disposal of kegs and casks is carried out in accordance with the best practice guidelines issued by the British Beer and Pubs Association, which stipulates that the disposals can only take place through authorised Scrap Metal Dealers at specific accredited sites throughout the UK. These Scrap Metal Dealers are subject to regular audits by Keg Watch.

  • Brewers are asked to inform Keg Watch of their intent to dispose of their kegs and casks through these dealers.

  • Details of the disposal are recorded by Keg Watch.

  • Even authorised and approved Scrap Metal Dealers are required to inform Keg Watch if they are offered kegs and casks from any other sorce so this can be investigated.

  • Keg Watch regularly writes to all known Scrap Metal Dealers and Metal Recycling Companies advising them that the disposal of kegs and casks without the authority of the owning brewer, is illegal.

  • Any Scrap Metal Dealer or Metal Recyling Company accepting kegs or casks without the owning brewer's authority risk prosecution.

  • Keg Watch continuously monitors the internet for unauthorised sales of kegs and casks and communicates electronically with the vendor warning them they risk prosecution if they continue with the sale, and urge them to contact Keg Watch.



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