Coors Brewers in the UK has sold its 1.2m beer kegs and casks to the supply chain company TrenStar which will manage them under a 15-year contract.
TrenStar, which claimed the deal gave it ownership of more than 60% of the kegs in circulation in the UK, is fitting all the former Coors kegs with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to improve tracking and management. TrenStar previously bought kegs from brewers including Carlsberg Tetley and Scottish Courage. It is paying Coors £29m for its aluminium and stainless steel kegs and casks and will receive a fee for each full keg it delivers to the brewer's outlets.
Coors said that the deal is worth £41m to the company in 2004, in part thanks to a reduction in capital spending partly offset by taxation.
TrenStar said the RFID tags help it to cut beer distribution costs and theft of kegs. Pooling of kegs also cuts costs, it said.