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 level1, 2.
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 minors3, 4. Available evidence suggests keg registration laws are associated with reduced underage drinking3, 5 and alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities6, but not associated with reduced adolescent binge drinking4, 7. Some experts suggest keg registration laws may reduce underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving8, 9, while others suggest such laws may have unintended consequences and may be ineffective, especially if implemented without more comprehensive efforts to reduce alcohol availability10, 11. 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 consumption12 and fewer alcohol-impaired motor vehicle fatalities among youth than states with less stringent laws6, 12, 13. However, in some cases, keg registration laws alone appear not to decrease alcohol-impaired driving and motor vehicle fatalities among youth4, 14 and may be associated with increased alcohol-related crashes among underage drivers5. Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.
Impact on Disparities
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 sales1.
APRC-Keg - Prevention First, Alcohol Policy Resource Center (APRC). Fast facts: Keg registration.
APIS - Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS). Welcome to the Alcohol Policy Information System.
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.
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.
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1 APIS - Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS). Welcome to the Alcohol Policy Information System.
2 Wagenaar 2005* - Wagenaar AC, Harwood EM, Silianoff C, Toomey TL. Measuring public policy: The case of beer keg registration laws. Evaluation and Program Planning. 2005;28(4):359–67.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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.
9 GHSA-Policies - Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Policies and priorities: Impaired driving.
10 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.
11 NIAAA-Environmental strategies - National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). CollegeAIM: Environmental-level strategies.
12 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.
13 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.
14 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.
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