Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rhyno Liquor Keg Service

I love beer. I like to sit down and watch a baseball game or "Walker Texas Ranger" and enjoy a nice cold beer. But, I didn't like going to the liquor store all the time and having empty bottles cluttering up the place, I already have trouble maintaining classy status on my block, I don't need empty 12 packs of PBR falling out of my trash cans when I put it out on the curb. So I did what any good beer lover would do, I bought a refrigerator, drilled a hole in it and converted it into a kegerator. Now, I have cold beer on tap at all times.

Unfortunately, for me, there seems to be a market failure in that most liquor store's keg service blows. Most keg buyers are one time buyers, they're buying for a party and they want Bud Light, Natural Light or some other unimaginative choice. A big liquor store typically has these on hand at all times and most liquor stores will get you one in a couple of days. But, for the discerning beer drinker, such as myself who may want to buy a keg of Goose Island Hex Nut Brown Ale, keg buying is a whole world of pain in the ass.

I had an experience last fall where I called my regular keg supplier, Lukas Liquor and ordered a keg of Boulevard Nutcracker Ale (Boulevard's winter seasonal beer and a wonderful concoction at that). Lukas told me they could have it in a couple of days. I call back, after not hearing from them, a couple of days later and they tell me that they can't get that particular keg. It would have been nice if they would have called when they found this out instead of waiting for me to call, but they offered up an excuse so I ordered the aforementioned Goose Island Hex Nut Brown Ale. Same story, after several days I called and they said they couldn't get the keg. I gave them one more shot with another slightly harder to find beer and had the exact same result. I decided to go to another store, closer to my house.

Mind you, Lukas was the second liquor store I purchased from. The first, Royal Liquor, where I got my first couple of kegs, was really rude and didn't seem to care about me being a customer and they wouldn't give me my deposit back on a keg. So I went to Lukas and then to Gomer's in Lenexa (no website) which is somewhat closer to my house. The problem with Gomer's is they didn't really seem to care about my business either and they didn't carry too many kegs without having to order, so it was a bit of a crapshoot what kind of beer I would get from them. Plus, they were a little more expensive than Lukas.

A couple of months ago, when I went to the wonderful 75th Street Brewery, I noticed on the menu that they sold kegs of their beer. I asked about what I needed to do and how much it would cost. It seemed reasonable so last week I called them and placed an order for one of my wife's favorite brews, 75th Street Raspberry Wheat. It took them 5 days to call me back and say it was ready, really pretty good service overall since they had to brew it and all. So I went in to pick it up, but, it turns out they use a different type of tap than I have. The brewer was very kind and called a homebrew shop in Shawnee to see if they could sell me one and he even offered to let me borrow one of theirs. However, I didn't want to go disassembe my current assembly so I asked for my money back and left kegless with no real prospects except to find another liquor store to give my money.

Fortunately, another liquor store near my house, Rhyno Liquor (75th and Quivira in Shawnee), was always pretty friendly and had a good beer selection. I really didn't mind giving them my money, so I asked if they could get me kegs. The big bald guy behind the counter seemed genuinely interested in helping me, which was a shock in and of itself. So, now I call them, they tell me immediately if that beer is available and they order it, call me when it's in the store and know my name when I walk in. It's like I was reincarnated as Jessica Alba.

My point is this; more people need kegerators so liquor stores can make money by providing good keg service to individuals. Until more people get kegerators and you care what beer you're drinking, go to Rhyno Liquor.




If anyone has any other suggestions for good keg service leave them in comments. Going to Lukas or World Liquor for your kegs is a bigger mistake than telling Chuck Norris that roundhouse kicks aren't the best way to kick someone.

9 comments:

  1. I had the same issue with that Lukas when I was trying to get kegs for my wedding.

    I've always avoided the kegerator route because I don't think I can drink one fast enough on my own for it to stay fresh.

    I do most of my beer shopping at the Lukas Liquor on 135th and State Line, their selection of craft brews is epic. I just get annoyed when I try the one on 119th now.

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  2. You have to buy a CO2 tank that will keep your keg fresh for up to 3 months which is usually enough time to drain a craft brew keg (torpedo shaped, I think they're 6 gallons or 48 pints).

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  3. You ought to check out Rimann liquors. I use the Prairie Village shop. Great selection, fair price, fantastic service and a beer club. They keep some Boulevard on hand, or order by 4pm and most kegs can be picked up next day. They now have a “small keg list” shows you what they can get in 1/6 and 1/4 barrel size.

    BEER IS GOOD

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  4. Just called Rhyno Liquor and asked what kegs they had in stock. The guy on the phone said "we have no kegs" and hung up the phone....nice customer service.

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  5. Funny Anonymous you probably work for the competition. Or you are a numbnut. Every person I have seen leave feedback except you has said it is an outstanding business with customer service second to none. You cannot vote for Obama again! You have helped to cause us great grief.

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  6. Machette liquor in western Shawnee, k7 and Johnson drive... I've ordered a dozen or more from them, always good luck.

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  7. Bump.

    Anyone have any updates on this topic? The Rhyno entry is pretty old and they're a fair distance from me.

    I live in midtown and am in process of converting a 14cf freezer. Primary purpose will be homebrew, but I doubt I can brew fast enough to keep it stocked.

    My local Gomers seemed amenable if not enthusiastic, and if no one has any better recommendations I'll probably give them a try.

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  8. I've had a kegerator for about 12 years, in 3 different states. I just moved to Kansas City(northland). I went to Gomer's Parkville first good selection. I tried the Hyvee next to me, not as good of selection, but prices were much better, at least on Boulevard. I would say that the service isn't great at hyvee though but timely for the most part.

    One reason that there may not be very good service around keg sales according to guy at gomer's, is that they don't really make much money off of kegs. That is not a great argument for bad service but may be the truth.

    I would be interested in anybody with places on the Missouri side that had good prices and good selection.

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  9. Has anyone tried the Red X in Parkville? I have not, but might try them for next weekend. I'll let you know if it's outstanding service or not.

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