SA Beer Kegs comply with International Standards

Cylindrical Beverage Containers will now be incorporated under the German standards for pressure vessels

A fermenting vessel with dimple ammonia cooling jackets. The vessel design pressure 1.3 Bar (g) = 130 kPa. Dimple ammonia cooling jacket design pressure 17.5 Bar (g) = 1750 kPa

The Cylindrical Beverage Containers Group recently undertook a detailed study of beverage containers used in the beer industry, both nationally and internationally. The study involved obtaining information in the form of standards, codes and guidelines in the purchase, packaging and distribution of beverages in bulk.

This is of particular interest to pressure vessels in the stainless steel industry, particularly beer kegs. The Cylindrical Beverage Container Group is a South African group of interested parties comprising representatives of the South African Bureau of Standards, Pressure Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA), Sassda, Approved Inspection Authorities (AIA) and various consultants from the industry.

First contact was made in December 2014 with British Food and Beverage Industry group (BFBi) and British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). These groups manage the stakeholders in that industry through the issue of standards, good practices, procedures and training accredited by the UK National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).

The detailed information obtained through research of BFBi, USBA, EU and Council of Standards Australia allowed for the presentation of comparative details to the three main brewing groups operating currently in South Africa as well as the Craft Brewers Association of South Africa (CBASA).

To ensure all users of beer kegs and relevant gas cylinders were aware of the issues related with the use and relevant training needs of these pressure systems, meetings were held with Wort Hog Brewers of South Africa (home brewers) and a number of South African universities that have been involved in the SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge held every year since 2008.

Beer keg allowable operating pressure up to 3 Bar = 300 kPa nominal volume up to 50 litres

The main discussion was the incorporation of Cylindrical Beverage Containers within the South African Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER).

This is because these have a working pressure greater than 50kPa. PER applies to all Pressure Systems despite their size and is currently used extensively for large pressure vessels with heating or cooling surfaces, boilers and pressure piping systems.

After discussions with the South African Department of Labour (DoL), the Cylindrical Beverage Container Group has come to appreciate that the DoL wants to engage with representatives of the South African Brewing Industry (not individual players), to obtain a common agreement on how to proceed on this matter and adopt a recognised international standard, e.g. DIN 6647-1.

This standard would satisfy the requirements under the PER and SANS 347 for the design, manufacture and testing of Cylindrical Beverage Containers. DIN 6647-1 normative references apply to the dispensing systems, hygiene, gas welding and stainless steel.


Following extensive correspondence and meetings over the past 3 years with each of the interested parties in the beverage industry, a joint meeting was arranged by the Cylindrical Beverage Containers Group in Johannesburg in February, 2017.

This meeting was attended by representatives from each of the three main brewing groups, ABInBev, Heineken with Namibia Breweries Ltd, and CBASA and representatives of DoL. (Refer to figure 1 for relevant stakeholders).

At the end of the meeting there was a joint resolution to adopt DIN 6647-1 into the standards schedule approved under the PER.

This agreed resolution was put forward to the Chief Inspector of the DoL by the SABS representative for consideration.

The Chief Inspector accepted this resolution and a South African Government Gazette was published on the 24th March 2017 showing a schedule of standards that amended the schedule originally published in the PER dated 1st October 2009.

An extract of the relevant Government Gazette shows all Cylindrical Beverage Containers imported and used in South Africa that must comply with the German Standard of DIN 6647.

In the near future the DoL will be organising regular meetings to ascertain from the main stakeholders how much compliance they presently have to this standard and also establish a time frame for 100% compliance with the PER by 2018.

While this standard only covers refillable cylindrical beverage containers, the stakeholders will continue to work with the DoL after a joint meeting in October 2017 to obtain standards for this use of non-refillable plastic cylindrical beverage containers, which are also covered under the PER.

Courtesy of John David Cluett