So you've decided to get a kegerator, now what? Truth be told, there's a number of things you probably want to consider in how you're going to set up your space. For some, that means attaching wheels to the bottom, parking it wherever, and calling it a day - that's a fine option. For others however who want to build it into a home bar kegerator there's a couple items to consider on placement which I'll go through below.
When I decided to go for it with my first kegerator I didn't think through the nuance to things such as how it would work in my space. I was too smitten by the concept of having draft beer in my home to be bothered by really thinking through anything more than "here's the measurements of my space - does it fit - great." I could have saved some headache, a lot of Neanderthal grunting and the occasional angry old man fist shaking by simply having considered a few things at the front end of the project.
7 Things to Consider for Your Home Bar Kegerator
- Kegerator DIY. My first attempt at draft beer came while trying to retrofit a "free" mini fridge a neighbor had given me to work as a kegerator. I spent a ton of time and energy in making it fit for purpose and as I neared the finish line, nicked a refrigerant line and turned it into a 36" tall reminder of what a waste of time looks like. I'd save the time and effort and just buy a unit that's fit for purpose.
- Access. You will at some point need access to the back of the kegerator if you're building it in to a home bar. It definitely makes it easier up front to plan for this so consider how you might easily be able to incorporate it into the design if possible.
- Power. You'll need an outlet close by to plug into. I have mine plugged into a Wi-Fi outlet (available here) which allows me to control it from my phone. One kegerator I had, had a recurring issue with forming a giant block of ice on the back plate. I actually set a schedule to turn the kegerator off for a few hours each night which eliminated this icing issue. Worth utilizing in your setup.
- Drainage. Most kegerators come with a drain plate for under the tap. Ditch it and plan to build in an offset tower which will allow you to connect up your upgraded drain plate to your wet bar drain line. It's a game changer.
- Thermostat Placement. This ends up being pretty important as one unit I had prior had a thermostat located on the back which meant that any time there was a need to adjust I had to remove a portion of the bar to get to it. Look for a unit that has a thermostat on the front - it'll make your life a lot easier.
- Gas Lines. Not until my last kegerator did I buy one that had access for gas lines. I only ever have one beer on draft, but a dual line kegerator provided for an extra port for me to be able to run other things into the kegerator. I'll discuss optimizing your home bar kegerator in another post.
- Keg Height. Not all kegerators are made the same. For most of you, you may not find yourself challenged to fit the most formidable of kegs - Germans. Although they are roughly the same height as a normal keg here in the U.S. the coupler is different and that difference made my last kegerator unable to accommodate those kegs with the added height. I therefore found myself floating my beer college style in a trash can hooked up to my faucet and gas lines. I'll discuss how you can maneuver around some height issues in my next post on optimizing your kegerator but something to be aware of given I was very unpleasantly surprised by it.
With all that said, what I currently have installed in my bar is a Danby Kegerator (available here) which hits the mark on all my needs relating to the items above. Worth a look my friends.
More Tips on Setting Up a Home Bar Kegerator
Building a home bar is a process. Setting up a kegerator is just a (very important) piece of the puzzle. Find more bar design and appliance recommendations on the Bourboneur Blog. You're on your way to becoming the next Home Bar Hero! Cheers to good times and great company.