History of the party keg: 5 incredible decades of the MiniKeg

It's round, made of tinplate, even contains an integrated tap, and is popular all over the world: the five-liter party keg - also known as MiniKeg among experts - is a success story 'Made in Germany'. This year, the party keg celebrates its birthday. Half a century of MiniKeg, the history of the party keg on its 50th birthday!

1.​ An ingenious invention in 1972: the story of the party keg begins

Back in 1871, master tinsmith Karl Huber founded the Huber company in Öhringen, to whose roots Envases goes back. But at that time, Karl Huber did not think of producing beer kegs for breweries. Huber’s company produced packaging made of sheet metal, preferably simple buckets for wagon grease that were closed with a wooden lid. It was not until 1972 that Huber’s grandson Otto Meister developed the first small beer keg with a volume of five liters. This made the “Huber Verpackungswerke” packaging plant the first tinplate packaging manufacturer in the world to give a cylindrical can body the typical keg shape, thus laying the foundation for the history of the party keg. The process was simple and complicated at the same time: a so-called expanding bar spreads the tinplate from the inside out, giving it its round shape. The MiniKegs are still produced by this method today, but the process itself has been continuously optimized over the last five decades.

from left to right: Karl Huber, company founder and Otto Meister, inventor of the party keg

2. Enjoying freshly tapped beer at home becomes popular

Over the next two decades, the party keg became extremely popular in Germany. Almost every large brewery fills its beer into one of the kegs from Öhringen, customers love the feeling of enjoying a freshly tapped beer at home. However, tapping beer alone is by no means as convenient as we know it today. At that time, anyone wanting to empty their 5-liter party keg still needed at least one separate tapping device with a simple outlet tap. However, there were also more complicated devices all the way up to the CO2-powered dispenser. The leading manufacturer of these small dispensers at that time was the company FassFrisch.

3. The history of the party keg: The integrated tap has been invented in 1998!

Until the mid-nineties of the last century, the MiniKeg remained almost unchanged in its function. However, the market for small kegs became increasingly competitive. Huber therefore decided to fundamentally revise its keg concept and thus once again wrote history with the party keg. In 1998, to coincide with the World Cup in France, Huber presented the new 5-liter party keg with integrated tap! Together with the Warsteiner brewery, a major advertising campaign was launched for the market launch. “Tapping like the world champions” was a complete success and thus ensured a brilliant market launch for the new party keg.

The new party keg with integrated tap (right) made the MiniKeg popular as never before.

4. The MiniKeg conquers the international market: party keg as an export hit

Due to the excellent reintroduction of the reworked party keg, the decision was now made in Öhringen to take a big step. In 1998, construction of the new plant for MiniKegs started at Huber’s headquarters just a few weeks after the World Cup. As early as April of the following year, the first new 5-liter keg rolled off the production line there. This entrepreneurial decision made it possible for the first time to produce enough kegs to also supply the international export market. Demand for the innovative MiniKegs from Germany was also high abroad and more and more breweries wanted to offer their customers the possibility of enjoying their beer fresh from the keg at home as well.

5. Excellent beer freshness is a round thing: the party keg receives awards

Since the turn of the millennium, the history of the party keg has been marked by great popularity and various national and international awards. Among them, the round 5-liter keg has already won four awards at the prestigious “Cans of the Year Awards”. These awards are given to exceptional designs of beer kegs. Most recently, the jury in Lisbon was impressed by the design of the Stormtrooper Galactic Pale Ale 2020. The ‘design’ aspect is also one of the reasons why breweries value the MiniKeg so highly in their product range. Many breweries use the comparatively large surface area of the container for an eye-catching presentation of their brand or create a real passion for collecting by offering limited special models. Even smaller breweries love the party keg: especially during the lockdown in the corona pandemic, the 5-liter keg was a good way to directly sell keg-fresh beer to end customers.

50 years of 5-liter keg: Envases special edition to celebrate the anniversary!

“We are proud of our party keg, so of course we are celebrating this year’s anniversary not only with our customers, but also with our employees,” reveals Peer Bremer, Head of Sales at Enavses. The marketing team has created a very special keg to mark the anniversary. The new party keg in the 50th anniversary design not only looks great, but is also filled with delicious beer. “Our strictly limited anniversary keg can be purchased by our employees in our canteen from September.” In addition, other promotions are planned. “As the inventor of the beer keg, we naturally want to celebrate this great anniversary in a fitting manner,” says Brämer.


Conclusion: Invented in 1972, the 5-liter party keg from Envases is now used by breweries on all five continents to deliver beer fresh from the keg to the homes of beer lovers. All the major breweries swear by this container, which allows the largest space to showcase their brand at retail. Especially during the Corona period, the party keg was a great way to tap your own beer at home. However, the MiniKeg is not only suitable for large productions, smaller breweries can also fill the keg by hand. In any case, the party keg from Envases is individual, innovative and a real collector’s item!