Running the Numbers. AKA: That Time I Drank a Whole Keg Myself.

Have you ever stopped to consider how much you’ve drunk? I don’t mean at the end of a night, when the bar staff are giving you that look that says “are you really going to make me cut you off?” I mean all together. In your life.

Well, that’s exactly what I was wondering. So broke out the back of an envelope and ran some numbers:

I drink an average of 2 pints of beer every day.

Sometimes I drink two pints simultaneously, to save time...

Sometimes I drink two pints simultaneously to save time…                                      Photo: HK

This is a very rough estimate, but reasonable considering that I get a staffie every night I work. It’s also reasonable considering that some days (about once a week) I drink a lot more, but other days (also about once a week) I have a day off from alcohol altogether.

Very occasionally, I drink things other that beer. I’m including cider with beer, but frequently, I drink gin and whisky. Occasionally I drink wine. Just occasionally. We won’t factor these occasions in.

I have done so for 4 years. This is roughly how long I’ve been working in the beer industry. I’ve been legally allowed to drink for a few more years. Before that my drinking was almost negligible (It amounts to ~1 year of my current consumption). I couldn’t afford to. When I was a student being able to have a ‘craft’ beer was a serious treat.

Now a ‘pint’ is ~425ml, in New Zealand anyway. Some of them were imperial pints (568ml) but some of them would have been 330/500ml bottles, and so on. It probably evens out (also, I’m not interested in a discussion of what a ‘proper’ pint is. I’m not a CAMRA member).

Given that a keg contains ~117 pints (fill levels may vary):

2 pints x 365 days
= 730 pints per year

730 pints x 5 years
= 3650 pints

3650 pints / 117 pints per keg 
= 31.2 Kegs

For the sake of being generous, lets round up and say I’ve drunk 32 kegs of beer.

Now a lot the people reading this will be saying: “Holy shit, you’re an alcoholic!” Well perhaps, but lets take a quick look at the national average.

I drink ~310 litres of beer in a year. The national average beer consumption is ~64 litres per capita. Sure, I’m a hell of a lot higher than the average, but in that statistic is presumably a whole bunch of kids who don’t drink (well, they’re not supposed to, anyway), a large group of people who only drink wine, spirits and Woodstock ‘Bourbon and Cola’ on Saturday nights before starting a fight on Courtenay Place. There’s also some teetotallers, and a few people that just aren’t that interested in alcoholic beverages.

Now also consider that someone who had two glasses of wine a night is consuming roughly the same amount of alcohol, but would never be considered an alcoholic (yay, double standards).

So yes, I’m in the upper percentile, but I’m by no means an outlier. But before this becomes a desperate attempt to justify my career choices, lets focus on a much more interesting question:

How much of that was Tuatara APA?

I’m serious. You see, the other day someone my colleagues and I were pondering the question: what beer do you reckon you’ve drunk the most of in your entire life? The answer we all came up with was Tuatara APA: It’s affordable, reliable, EVERYWHERE in Wellington and a damn good beer.

I seriously love APA. The number of times I’ve walked into a bar/cafe/liquor store/supermarket not expecting to find a good beer, but what do you know? There’s our old friend Tuatara APA sitting in the fridge giving us a sly wink. All I can think is “night sorted!”

Funny how it still says 'Limited Release,' all these years later...

Funny how it still says ‘Limited Release,’ all these years later…

Most importantly though, myself and most of my colleagues are mid-to-late-20s, and were getting into beer around 2008 and onwards. APA was launched in mid 2010; right when my beer consumption was hitting its stride. And it’s been fairly consistently available since then  (you’ll notice I’m not differentiating between the American and Aotearoa versions, because who cares?).

Given this, lets find a little more room on the back of our envelope:

I estimate my consumption of Tuatara APA to be ~3 pints a month. I go plenty of weeks without any APA, but then sometimes I go to an event/bar/whatever where it’s the only good beer to be had. In this case, I happily drink a lot of it. Now consider that Tuatara APA has been around for 4 years, roughly.

3 pint x 12 months x 4 years
= 144 pints

144 pints / 117 pints per keg
= 1.23 kegs

I have consumed ~144 pints of APA. That’s just over one whole keg of APA by myself (1.23 kegs to be more precise). Fun fact!

Now obviously this has all been calculations based off a rough estimates and are probably way out in many regards (I haven’t factored in leap years for example), but it’s an interesting exercise. I reckon it’s probably safe to assume I have drunk at least two entire keg of Tuatara APA in my lifetime.

We of course can expand on this. APA is the beer I think I’ve probably drunk the most of, but I would be willing to bet that I’ve also drunk at least:

  • 3/4 of a keg of 8 Wired Hopwired.
  • 2/3 of a keg of Epic Pale Ale.
  • 1/2 of a keg of Bear Republic Racer 5.
  • 1/3 of a keg of  Three Boys Oyster Stout.
  • 1/3 of a keg of 8 Wired Rewired Brown Ale.
  • 1/10 of a keg of Garage Project Day of the Dead.

Possibly those numbers are a lot higher. It’s really hard to tell.

And now I’ll finish with one last thought: I grew up in the age of good beer. I started drinking ‘craft’ beer as a teenager and I never had brand loyalty to any of the mainstream labels. My more mature Wellington-based readers can probably also claim to have drunk multiple kegs APA (or in many cases, Tuatara or Emerson’s Pilsner) themselves.

But they might also like to reflect on the period before ‘craft’ beer was a officially a thing. How many of them have probably also drunk entire kegs of Lion Red, DB Export, Speights, or Waikato Draught?

Now there’s a cheerful thought…

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4 thoughts on “Running the Numbers. AKA: That Time I Drank a Whole Keg Myself.

  1. I drink roughly a keg a month of Hop Stoopid IPA by Lagunitas at 8% abv. I have my own kegerator so just pouring a pint enjoying it is simple. I’ve come to the conclusion that that is way to much. 15.5 gallons a month! I need to and will cut back. Any advice?

    • I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice on this one. If I had any to give it would be this: limit your own access. When the keg runs out, don’t replace it. Disconnect the gas, Turn off the power. Ease of access is half the temptation in my experience.
      Best of luck!

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