KPS Global logo

Walk-in Beer Coolers For Bars

View through the glass door of a walk-in beer cooler, revealing stacked beer kegs

Walk-in beer coolers for bars can significantly impact bars profits and experiences if they are not properly designed, manufactured, installed or maintained correctly.

One of the top factors affecting taste and appearance (and potentially profits) regarding draft beer is directly connected to the temperature at which the kegs are stored.

With the rise and popularity of craft beer, bars are seeing less demand of bottled beer and more interest from their customers in draft beer. To meet the desires of their customers, bars and restaurants are increasing the number of taps and kegs.

What does this mean for your bar or restaurant?

With higher inventory comes higher investments and higher risks than ever before.  Limit these risks and maximize profits by installing a walk-in beer cooler for your bar that can store and maintain proper temperature to ensure a consistent experience with every pour.

In this guide, we walk you through everything you need to know to confidently purchase a walk-in cooler for your bar. From what they are, why temperature matters, and how a dedicated walk in beer cooler can positively impact customer experience and ultimately profits.

What Is A Walk-in Beer Cooler?

Dedicated Walk-in beer coolers for draft beer kegs allow the product to be stored to properly maintained temperatures and help with organization and accessibility.

These coolers are refrigerated rooms manufactured with insulated panels that are specifically designed to store beer at it’s optimal temperature to maintain flavor and quality.

A walk-in beer cooler is constructed of a 3 ½” or 4” thick insulated panel manufactured with poured-in-place polyurethane foam. These panels feature tongue-and-groove profiles and are fastened together using a cam-lock system with a gasket, that along with butyl limits water vapor infiltration in the unit. 

Walk in beer coolers can be customized to fit the customers’ exact size and temperature requirements of the product you are storing.

Specifications To Consider
For Your Walk-In Beer Cooler

There are certain specifications of a walk-in beer cooler that are slightly different than a typical walk-in cooler. These specifications include:

  • Cooler or Freezer
  • Sizing
  • Temperature
  • Flooring

Walk-in Cooler or Freezer

Walk-in coolers and freezers, while similar, have differentiating factors that distinguish themselves from one another.

While walk in beer coolers for the storage of keg beer, are referred to as coolers, they are designed and manufactured as freezers. This is due to the recommended storage temperature of keg beer.

Although the same as a cooler, freezer doors are slightly different as they have a heated jamb and sweep to avoid ice buildup.

For walk in beer coolers a heated freezer door is needed since the temperature is relatively close to freezing. Without a heated door, ice buildup can cause the door to not operate efficiently, causing damage and the possibility of inconsistent temperature.

Walk-In Beer Cooler Sizing

Choosing a walk in cooler size for your bar can be tricky. There are many factors that require consideration and should be discussed with an experience design and engineering team. 

Standard practices for choosing the correct size of beer cooler includes:

  • Amount of Beer Sold
  • Number of Variants Stocked
  • Footprint of the Space

Other factors that are considered include:

  • Size of Beer Keg Barrels
  • Number of Towers
  • Type of Shelving

Walk-In Beer Cooler Temperatures

According to Draft Profits, the quality of draft beer is impacted by three factors.

  1. Sanitation
  2. Carbonation
  3. Temperature

Of the three, temperature is known to be the most important as it can affect the quality of the draft beer by nearly 90% if not maintained properly. 

The ideal temperature range for walk-in beer coolers for keg beer has a small range for high-quality beer pours.

Any slide in temperature could result in quality control issues. These issues result in excessive foam and carbonation being lost.

Protect your beer and profit by installing a quality walk-in beer cooler dedicated to storing draft beer.

 It is not recommended to store case beer or other bar items in a walk-in beer cooler as it will significantly impact the quality of the draft beer being served.

As such, bars should note that these coolers are not meant to store both kegs and case beer (or any other product) as it impacts the ability to maintain the proper temperature of each product.

How Does Temperature Affect Bar Profitability

As stated previously, one of the top issues bars find with their draft beer is one of the easiest to control: temperature.

Draft beer systems are extremely sensitive to temperature change, even the slightest increase can greatly impact the flavor and experience of the beer. Draft beer, regardless of if they are imports or domestic, requires a specific temperature for optimal experience.

Temperature too warm? Expect excessive foam and a flat beer. As temperature increases in walk in beer coolers, co2 levels within the beer expand resulting in excess foam that most commonly is poured out and refilled until the proper amount, about .5- 1 inch of foam is left in the glass.

According to Food Service Equipment & Supplies , waste of foam results in nearly 25% loss on a 16-ounce glass pour resulting in thousands of lost profits per year. 

Too cold? Carbonation isn’t released properly, resulting in overfilled glasses and lost profits.

Temperature is one of the most critical components ensuring the proper taste and experience of draft beer. Installing a walk in cooler dedicated to draft beer storage is one major step to ensuring excellence.

Walk-In Beer Cooler Floors

The location of your walk in beer cooler can determine the type of flooring required to meet specific building codes and requirements.

While indoor walk in beer coolers can sit directly on a slab floor, it is not recommended. This is in part due to the transfer of temperature into the concrete flooring. This transfer of temperature can result in condensation causing damage and risk of injury.

To prevent these issues most beer cooler manufacturers will install thermal breaks during the construction of new facilities.  However, drop in insulated floors offer the same effectiveness.

Floor Materials

There are a variety of flooring options available to choose from when designing a walk in beer cooler.

Common materials include:

  • Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel
  • Diamond Tread

Each of these offer different benefits including stability, slip resistance, and ease of cleaning practices. Understanding the amount of weight, and type of traffic (foot, pallet jack or forklift) drives the selection of the appropriate material.

Draft Beer Systems

Remote draw beer systems, typically stored in a walk-in beer cooler, are ideal for businesses with high volumes and limited space behind the bar as they can store more kegs and are out of the eye of the customer.

Walk in beer coolers for bars are often designed with remote draw beer systems in mind. These units allow beer to be drawn straight from the keg to the tap to ensure proper temperature and fewer complications.

Why Do Bars Need a Walk-In Beer Cooler?

 “Why can’t we store our kegs in our existing walk in cooler?” Temperature is the number one factor affecting the taste and experience of draft beer.

The best way to maintain proper temperature for your draft beer systems is to have a dedicated walk in beer cooler and a second for case beer and other alcohol. This protects beer kegs from having doors opened and closed excessively, making temperatures unstable within the walk in cooler.

Benefits Of Walk-In Beer Coolers For Bars

Dedicated walk-in beer coolers greatly benefit the entire bar operation through improved organization, efficiency, and energy savings.


One major benefit of walk in beer coolers is the ability to organize kegs appropriately. With keg racks, walk-ins can be utilized to efficiently store a large number of kegs.

With proper organization, the refrigeration system can work efficiently to cool products to proper temperature while also ensuring cleaning operations can be done effectively with little to no hassle.

Cost Savings

In addition to storage space, and temperature control, a walk-in beer cooler is highly beneficial for bars bottom line as they decrease the chance of waste. They do so by properly storing beer at optimal temperatures. These temperatures ensure a high-quality pour, decreasing excessive foam, or overpours from improper carbonation.

Maximized Space

Most walk in beer coolers are built with direct draw systems in mind. These systems are installed directly into the walk in cooler to maximize space and quality of the beer.


Additionally, walk in beer coolers can be beneficial from a design perspective. Walk in beer coolers can have custom finishes and elements such as clear doors for display purposes to enhance the overall aesthetic of your bar.

Installing Your Walk-In Beer Cooler

The installation of a walk in is just as important as the product itself. If installed incorrectly, the walk in will have issues maintaining the correct temperature. Which can have drastic effects on the taste and quality of the beer and alcohol inside the cooler.

As a result, the customers will not only be dissatisfied with the taste, but the shelf life of the beer will also decrease.

A decrease in shelf life can be costly, as beer will need to be purchased more frequently. Not to mention, the cost of fixing an incorrect install will be more expensive than having it done right the first time.

To avoid possible mistakes, it is best to choose an installer who is certified through the same manufacturer.


In conclusion, bars need to have a dedicated walk in beer cooler for draft beer. This holds such high importance as temperature affects draft beer taste, appearance, and waste by nearly 90%. 

To choose the proper walk in beer cooler for a bar, there are a few factors that should be considered. This includes the amount of beer projected to be sold, the number of variants the bar intends to stock, the size of the keg barrels the beer is stored in and what type of storage shelving will be used.

The benefits of using a dedicated walk in cooler are many. These include improved organization, cost savings due to energy efficiency and decreased waste, and maximized space for operation.

Overall walk in coolers are a great asset to any bar operation as well as convenience store solution. To learn more about walk in coolers visit our website for more information on our walk-in beer coolers or contact us to get started on a project today.

Share on LinkedIn
Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook

Subscribe to Stay Informed