Curiosity Project: Prohibition Pictures
Curiosity Project: Prohibition Pictures

Kegerator systems store a keg inside a refrigerator to keep it cold, while still allowing access to the beer through a faucet in the door.

©iStockphoto.com/James Brown

At some point in their lives, many adults have picked up a red plastic cup, waited in a line in a backyard and attempted to fill the cup with beer from a keg. They know what it's like to find themselves tipping the cup at an angle, kneeling down below the keg's lid, or finding a friend to pump the tap while they poured. Regardless of the amount of preparation on the party planner's part, kegs in general tend to be a difficult beast to control. They can be unreliable, tricky to keep at a good temperature and difficult to maintain over the course of evening.

This is where kegerators enter the scene -- kept at a perfect temperature, they are able to dispense beer quickly with little trouble. By taking apart the word "kegerator," you'll find its definition: a refrigerator with a tap protruding out that is connected to a keg inside. Kegerators come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be purchased, rented or built, and they're a good system for keeping beer fresh for long durations of time, which minimizes waste.

Although an accurate history of the kegerator is difficult to trace, it is likely kegerators were in existence as early as the 1900s. However, the Prohibition period and World Wars I and II -- not to mention costs in the years that followed -- kept home brewing at bay until about the 1980s. Home brewing then began to grow in popularity, and so did the kegerator.

As we'll see throughout this article, the kegerator is an indispensible tool for the home brewer and beer connoisseur alike. But up first, we'll take a look at the main parts of a kegerator and how they work together to keep beer fresh.