Keg registration laws

Beer keg registration laws, also called keg tagging laws, require wholesalers or retailers to attach a unique marker (e.g., tag, sticker, or engraving) with an identification number on a keg of beer and record identifying information about a purchaser (e.g., name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and phone number). Laws vary by state; some states require additional recording of the location where the keg will be consumed and intended use of the keg at the time of purchase. Others require retailers to provide warning information regarding destroying or altering the keg marker and serving alcohol to minors, and get a purchaser’s signature acknowledging penalties for illegal use. The minimum volume that defines beer kegs varies by state, ranging from 2 to 8 gallons. Keg registration can also be implemented at the local level (APIS, ).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Reduced underage drinking

  • Reduced impaired driving

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Reduced fatal and non-fatal injuries

  • Reduced excessive drinking

  • Reduced alcohol-related crashes

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is insufficient evidence to determine whether keg registration laws decrease underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving by minors (Child Trends-Sacks 2014, Ringwalt 2011). Available evidence suggests keg registration laws are associated with reduced underage drinking (, Child Trends-Sacks 2014) and alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities (RAND-Imm 2007), but not associated with reduced adolescent binge drinking (, Ringwalt 2011). Some experts suggest keg registration laws may reduce underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving (Harding 2016, GHSA-Policies), while others suggest such laws may have unintended consequences and may be ineffective, especially if implemented without more comprehensive efforts to reduce alcohol availability (, NIAAA-Environmental strategies). Available evidence suggests states with more stringent alcohol control and underage drinking policies, including keg registration laws and regulations, may have less per capita beer consumption (Fell 2015) and fewer alcohol-impaired motor vehicle fatalities among youth than states with less stringent laws (Fell 2015, , RAND-Imm 2007). However, in some cases, keg registration laws alone appear not to decrease alcohol-impaired driving and motor vehicle fatalities among youth (Ringwalt 2011, Fell 2009) and may be associated with increased alcohol-related crashes among underage drivers (). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

Implementation Examples

As of January 2018, thirty states and Washington DC have keg registration laws and require retailers to collect one or more pieces of identifying information from a purchaser such as name, government-issued identification number, phone number, and address where the keg will be consumed; sixteen of those states prohibit possessing an unregistered or unlabeled keg. Utah bans keg sales (APIS). 

Implementation Resources

APIS - Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS). Welcome to the Alcohol Policy Information System.

RAND-Imm 2007 - Imm P, Chinman M, Wandersman A, et al. Preventing underage drinking: Using Getting To Outcomes™ with the SAMHSA strategic prevention framework to achieve results. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation; 2007: Technical Report 403.

UMN-AEP - University of Minnesota Alcohol Epidemiology Program (UMN-AEP). Alcohol control policy descriptions.

Iowa-Keg registration - State of Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (IowaABD). Keg registration.

APRC-Keg - Prevention First, Alcohol Policy Resource Center (APRC). Fast facts: Keg registration.

Citations - Evidence

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

RAND-Imm 2007 - Imm P, Chinman M, Wandersman A, et al. Preventing underage drinking: Using Getting To Outcomes™ with the SAMHSA strategic prevention framework to achieve results. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation; 2007: Technical Report 403.

Ringwalt 2011 - Ringwalt CL, Paschall MJ. The utility of keg registration laws: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2011;48(1):106-8.

Fell 2009 - Fell JC, Fisher DA, Voas RB, Blackman K, Tippetts AS. The impact of underage drinking laws on alcohol-related fatal crashes of young drivers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2009;33(7):1208-19.

Fell 2008* - Fell JC, Fisher DA, Voas RB, Blackman K, Tippetts AS. The relationship of underage drinking laws to reductions in drinking drivers in fatal crashes in the United States. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 2008;40(4):1430-40.

Child Trends-Sacks 2014 - Sacks VH, Moore KA, Ramirez AN, Terzian MA. An analysis of state underage drinking policies and adolescent alcohol use. Washington, DC: Child Trends; 2014:40.

Fell 2016* - Fell JC, Scherer M, Thomas S, Voas RB. Assessing the impact of twenty underage drinking laws. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2016;77(2):249-260.

Fell 2015 - Fell JC, Thomas S, Scherer M, Fisher DA, Romano E. Scoring the strengths and weaknesses of underage drinking laws in the United States. World Medical & Health Policy. 2015;7:28-58.

NIAAA-Environmental strategies - National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). CollegeAIM: Environmental-level strategies.

Fairman 2019* - Fairman BJ, Simons-Morton BG, Haynie DL, et al. State alcohol policies, taxes, and availability as predictors of adolescent binge drinking trajectories into early adulthood. Addiction. 2019;114(7):1173-1182.

Harding 2016 - Harding FM, Hingson RW, Klitzner M, et al. Underage drinking: A review of trends and prevention strategies. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2016;51(4):S148-S157.

Jernigan 2019* - Jernigan DH, Shields K, Mitchell M, et al. Assessing campus alcohol policies: Measuring accessibility, clarity, and effectiveness. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2019;43(5):1007-1015.

GHSA-Policies - Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Policies and priorities: Impaired driving.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

APIS - Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS). Welcome to the Alcohol Policy Information System.

Date Last Updated

Jul 31, 2019