A Party Ball® or beer ball is a spherical container that is used instead of a traditional beer keg. Introduced during the 1980s, it usually has a capacity of five gallons (about 19 liters), which is one third of the usual capacity for a keg. Designed to be a disposable device, the first Party Ball® types were equipped with a tap to allow easy distribution of the beer within the device. Although sometimes used generically to refer to any beer ball or similar container, Party Ball® is a registered trademark of the Coors Brewing Company.
Usually constructed of lightweight but durable plastic, the size of the device means the ball can normally be transported with greater ease than the standard keg. This makes it possible to load one into the back seat or trunk and transport the ball to beaches, campsites, or parties in private residences with relative ease. The Party Ball® is also made of disposable materials, so it can be placed into the trash once it is empty.
To cool the beer contained in a beer ball, some manufacturers include a specially designed box to hold the device. The interior of the box is lined with plastic, makes it possible to surround the ball with crushed ice. At the same time, the plastic prevents the box from weakening due to exposure to melted ice.
While the Party Ball® was initially meant to be a disposable container for beer, it was not long until several manufacturers began to offer refillable containers. While the simple spherical design with the addition of a tap is still the norm, some manufactures today include an electrical base that allows the liquid within the bowl to be cooled without the need for ice.
Collecting beer ball designs from years past has become a popular craze. Various online auctions feature bids on designs issued by one beer company or another over the years. In addition, some online retailers also offer older beer balls, less the beer, for sale. While the Party Ball® was once considered ideal for use by college students, many adults today choose to use one for get-togethers in the home.