January 18, 2022
With the weather warming up and days growing longer, we all want to be out and about enjoying life and good beer. Unfortunately, lugging around several six-packs or dragging your kegerator around with you isn't the best way to do that. Also, while a growler is a good choice for a small group, it doesn't work if you want to serve a large party. Luckily, there's a way to take your party on the road and it's called a jockey box.
What is a jockey box?
It's essentially your classic ice chest or cooler, converted into a kegerator system! Is it magic? No, it's engineering! Using an aluminum cold plate or metal coils with ice, a jockey box flash chills your beer and using carbon dioxide (CO2) beer is dispensed, just like a draft system. The beauty of a jockey box is that it is much more portable than a kegerator and can serve more beer than a growler. Learn more about growlers in our detailed blog post, here.
Why use a jockey box?
A jockey box is designed to be used on-the-go and is lighter than a kegerator. Additionally, it is more affordable than a kegerator. Designed for outdoor use, a jockey box is much more affordable than an outdoor kegerator. Jockey boxes can be placed on concrete without affecting the beer's temperature and due to its highly insulated design, it can withstand extremely hot temperatures and direct sunlight.
With no access or limited access to electricity, a jockey box is a great option for getting draft beer without a kegerator. Jockey boxes are the underrated secret for those who want to drink draft beer on-the-go.
Here are just some of the ways a jockey box can be used:
- Beer & Beverage Events or Festivals
- Farmer's Markets
- Backyard parties
- Beach parties
- Pool parties
How to choose a jockey box
There are a variety of features and components to consider when selecting a jockey box for your next event or party. We'll go over several of the major options and features available to help you get the perfect pour wherever you are.
Check out our range of jockey boxes here and pick out the perfect one for you!
Types of Jockey Boxes
Depending on the volume of beers or beverages you'll want to serve, will determine the number of taps and size of the jockey box you'll need.
- Single Tap - If you're serving one type of beverage, a single tap will serve you very well. Ideally, you will want to ensure you have a keg big enough to serve the volume you want throughout your event or party but this single tap will serve you well.
- Dual Tap - If you're looking to serve two different beverages simultaneously, you will need a dual tap jockey box. This allows you to connect, chill, and serve two kegs simultaneously. Many jockey boxes don't increase in size from a single to a dual tap but an additional tap is just added for the ability to serve an additional beverage.
- Conversion Kit - If you're looking to serve multiple beverages simultaneously, you'll want a custom jockey box. Luckily, this can be easily achieved through a conversion kit. Using a conversion kit, you can take or make an insulated container for your coils and serve up even more goodness! This also allows you to create a customized and unique container for your brand or to suit your personal style. Keep in mind this takes a lot of technical skills to assemble.
Jockey Box Cooling Systems
There are two common means of cooling beer using a jockey box, a coil or a cold plate system. Both of these require filling the cooler with either ice or ice and water to fully submerge the cooling system and ensure the rapid cooling of the liquid. Both systems serve different purposes depending on your beverage cooling needs.Coil
Jockey boxes using a coil system run the liquid through the coils, which is submerged in ice and water. It has a greater surface area than a cold plate and allows for back to back cold pours.
- Provides a greater temperature change in beer from the keg to the faucet, getting the beer colder than using a cold plate
- Can maintain cold beer even with continuous pours
- Limits beverage options by the number of coils available in the system
- A more demanding assembly process
- More consumable parts in this system that need to be replaced over time
- Depending on the length of your coils, you will need to balance the psi in order to properly dispense your beer
When using a cold plate cooling system, ice must be in constant contact with the metal plate in order to maintain a cold temperature. As the beer passes through the tubing inside the cold plate, it chills the beer. The aluminum gets colder than stainless steel, allowing for more efficient chilling.
- Can serve a large variety of beverages with one cold plate with multiple inputs
- Not as many consumable parts to replace
- The temperature change of liquid from keg to faucet is not as great, will require a chilled keg
- Not ideal for continuous pouring because it will not maintain temperature with each consecutive pour
There are a variety of coil lengths available for jockey boxes and if you are expecting to pour continuously, you will want a longer coil because it will maintain the temperature of your beer and increase the temperature change from the keg to the faucet.
The general rule is that the longer the coil the better the more efficient the cooling of your beverage will be but keep in mind that you will need to balance your CO2 PSI to match the length or your coils. The longer the coil the more pressure you will need to dispense your beer but a dramatic increase in pressure can cause you to over carbonate your beer, causing issues.
You will find coils starting at 50ft going to 120 ft and it is recommended that you get the longest coil your jockey box and contain because the more beer will be submerged in the chilling ice water, delivering you the coldest beer every pour.
Jockey Box Features
There are some additional features that you may want to consider when purchasing a jockey box that doesn't affect the function of the system but will affect your overall experience when using a jockey box.
- Capacity - This is the capacity of the jockey box container itself. This will really only affect how much ice or ice water you'll need but some larger sizes may be able to accommodate extra bottled or canned beverages inside the cooler.
- Container Finish - The cooler comes in a variety of finishes for your aesthetic preferences but they also prevent tarnishing and rusting from being exposed to outside elements. You will most commonly find a plastic exterior or stainless steel exterior, which is easy to clean and prevent tarnishing.
- Custom Wrap - Exclusive to Beverage Factory, we offer customizable wraps and decals. Apply your logo, branding, or personal design to any jockey box, keg, or kegerator.
- Wheels - If you plan on moving your jockey box system about or traveling a long way to your location, you may want to consider a jockey box with wheels.
The Only Way To Tailgate
The only and best way to tailgate is with draft beer! A jockey box is the ideal solution for serving up brewery-quality draft beer. Easy to assemble and even easier to enjoy, our experts at Beverage Factory can help you choose your perfect jockey box and offer up advice on how to expertly assemble it for any occasion! Contact our team at 800-710-9939.