A fatal alcohol-related car crash involving two UK football players a week before the 1998 contest prompted the end of the barrel exchange. Kentucky athletic directorC. M. Newton expressed the idea that the ongoing use of an alcohol container as a trophy would be inappropriate under the circumstances. The ceremony was cancelled for the 1998 game, and the two schools mutually agreed to permanently discontinue the tradition before the 1999 game.
The actual barrel was in UT's possession when the schools ended the exchange, but its current whereabouts have not been made public. It has not been displayed since 1997, and it was not transferred to Kentucky when the Wildcats broke the Volunteers' long series winning streak in 2011.
That's understandable though. I'm 10 years older than Jauan and I didn't know that the Beer Barrel was even a thing until maybe about 10 years after it was discontinued. When they did away with it in 1998, I was 11 and I guess didn't know about the trophy.
The timing of that wreck had everything to do with it being discontinued. If the wreck occurred any time other than the week before that game in 1998, the Beer Barrel is probably still awarded.