All beers have a best before date label stuck to the top of the keg. When taking delivery of any beer it is of great importance, firstly that a best before label is attached and secondly that the date indicated will give you at least several weeks in which to sell it.
As in all food industries Brewers are required by law to indicate the best before date of their products. The label on the keg should indicate the product name and also the BB date. You will also see lots of other codes and numbers. Secret brewery stuff. The BB date is the important one.
Keg beers have quite a long shelf life, or cellar life in this case. This can in some cases be 8 weeks for keg beers and 4 weeks for cask ales.
So when the dray rocks up at the cellar door make sure of the following:
Keg beers make sure that the BB date gives you at least a month before it expires.
Cask Ale beers make sure the BB date gives you at least 2 weeks before it expires.
Make sure that all kegs and casks are sealed properly.
No label, no delivery.
As a good customer of the brewery you are within your rights not to accept beer that you think does not give you a sufficient shelf life.
Most brewers go out of their way to make sure you have good fresh beer, but it is up to you to check.
If you have beer in your cellar that has passed it’s Best Before date, even if the keg or cask is unopened, most breweries or wholesalers will not give you any credit for your loss. So be warned.
To keep your beer fresh do not over stock. You should plan on selling a full keg of any product, beer or lager within at least a week. After that you could experience problems.
Cask beers should be sold within 3 days. It is better to have no beer to sell than sell beer that gone off. Your customers will remember.
Best advice, make your local technician a nice cup of tea and he will give you the best advice for your particular business.