The Dangers Associated With Purchasing Illicit Gas Cylinders

In a bid to reduce costs, many licensees have looked to purchase their gas from cheaper alternative sources.  Unfortunately this has led to a rise in the number of “rogue” and illicit beverage gas suppliers.

Whilst keeping costs low, are at the forefront of every hospitality managers minds, they need to understand the dangers associated, with using a “back-of-the-van”, or illicit gas cylinder supplier.

There are a large number of beer gas suppliers, both nationwide and regionally, most are reputable, however some are not.

Hospitality managers that have changed over to cheaper “back-of-the-van” suppliers, will likely be enjoying a small cost saving, however they may be comprising on not only product quality, but safety.

There are a number of reasons, why purchasing illicit beer gas cylinders, are a false economy:

A single standard cylinder can dispense up to ten kegs of beer.  With each keg holding eleven gallons each, a tainted gas cylinder could ruin 880 pints!
Customers as a rule know when a pint tastes funny, so using a tainted gas cylinder could contribute to losing their custom
Any loss of beer will not be compensated, if investigations show, that non-food grade dispense gas has been used
By using illicit gas the hospitality business runs the risk of prosecution.  They would be in breach of the following laws: Health & Safety at Work Act, Food Regulations and Carriage of Dangerous Goods (CDG) Regulations
Illicit beer gas cylinders, can be, quite literally a time bomb waiting to explode.  Not only are hospitality businesses running the risk of damaging their premises, there is the possibility of killing or maiming both staff and customers

When sourcing a beer gas supplier, businesses need to check two main things.  Firstly, the gas that is supplied needs to meet EC food grade regulations.  Secondly, the gas cylinders themselves, must be regularly maintained to British industry standards.

Good dispense gas will be supplied in a cylinder that is “in test”, and in good condition.  It will be filled with food grade gas only, and will be labelled, stating that it meets all legislation and safety requirements.

Bad dispense gas on the other hand, will often be found in stolen gas cylinders.  These will likely be in poor condition, not tested, and lacking the necessary formal labelling.  They will be filled with industrial grade gas of poor quality, and will potentially be contaminated.

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