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Pound for Pound:
Why Tap Handle Weight Matters

Tap handle weight is an often overlooked feature of custom tap handles. "Yeah, let’s do a cool wrought iron welded handle!" Sounds great, right? If you care about your taps, your draft accounts, and your bottom line, you might want to rethink that idea. Tap handles that are too heavy can cause serious problems.

First, a heavy handle can cause significant wear on the internal joints in the tap itself. Wear can cause leaks and beer loss as well as having to replace your taps frequently. Second, a heavy tap handle can cause damage to itself. For example, if you have a tall and heavy resin handle, and the person pouring doesn't know to pull the tap handle gently from the bottom, they may wrench on it from the top where the most torque is going to be applied. *SNAP*, you just broke your tap handle. Now, a well-made resin handle will be light enough and sturdy enough to withstand this. Lastly, a heavy handle makes a tap easier to open, so if the bartender accidentally knocks it when pouring the tap next to it, boom, you've got beer pouring, and nothing to catch it. Over time, that's gonna cost you.

We've found that you generally want to keep the weight of a tap handle under 1 lb, however, if you can get closer to 1/2 to 3/4 lb, you'll be sitting pretty. The less dense the material you're using, the more flexibility you'll have in terms of design. Here's how different materials measure up in terms of their density:

Material and Density
• Wood (Hard Maple): 720 kg/m3
• Wood (White Oak): 770 kg/m3
• Polyurethane Resin: 1000 - 1300 kg/m3
• Aluminum: 2,710 kg/m3
• Stainless Steel: 7,980 kg/m3
• Acrylic: 1,163 kg/m3

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Various Material Densities


Material Notes

• Wood is a great choice if you want a lightweight and durable handle. When dropped, the wood is just going to dent as opposed to chipping, cracking, or breaking. Just because the handle is made of wood, doesn't mean it has to look like wood either. There are some awesome metallic paints out there, and if applied right, you can get a handle that looks like metal, but is as light as wood. Check out some wood tap handle ideas!

• Metal tap handles can be very heavy for obvious reasons (see density chart above). If you are going for a completely metal tap handle, you are either going to want it to be very thin, hollow, or made with aluminum which is lighter than most other metals.

• Cast Polyurethane Resin, one of the more common materials for highly sculpted custom tap handles can be heavy if they are completely solid all the way through. Some manufacturers have the ability to make the pieces hollow, thereby reducing the weight significantly. Be careful with resin handles though, a good drop and they're likely to chip or break.

• Acrylic tends to be similar in weight to resin. It is less impact resistant, and you don't get quite the design flexibility.


Contributing Author

Ben Weston                                                                                                         Head Honcho. Hoptown Handles


Ben Weston is the founder and Head Honcho at Hoptown Handles, an American manufacturer of high quality, durable custom tap handles. He is also the co-founder and Director of Direction at SeaThirst Creative, a design firm that specializes in working with craft breweries of all sizes.


10 Tips to Motivate Tap Room Staff

Andrew Coplon, Secret Hopper & Craft Beer Professionals

It's tough to find quality workers, and once you do, it’s even tougher to find brewery staff as passionate as you are. However, when you make strong hires and build a positive company culture, you are well on your way to building an army of advocates for your brand. Here are 10 strategies you can use to motivate your brewery staff to get them on your level, create a more enjoyable workplace, and to ultimately make your business even more successful.

Draft System
Waitress Tap Room Scene
Tap Room Interior

Planning Your Tap Room Draft System
for Success

Neil Witte, Tap Star

When you’re planning for your brewery taproom, there are several things to keep in mind. Making the right decisions now can keep you from having headaches later. Here are a number of things to keep in mind for your draft system.

Behind the Scenes in the Tap Room:

Service Models

Nancy Trigg, Arryved

The country is starting to reopen, but things aren’t going back to “normal” anytime soon. Adaptation is the name of the game and implementing a floating service model maintains a top level of hospitality while keeping staff and guests safe.

Your Oyster - Nice Vibe

Tom Hennessy, Colorado Boy Brewing

I want to talk about probably one of the most important things you can do for your brewery that will impact your sales, but really, won’t cost you a dime. It’s a lot to go over, so I won’t even get into why I call it the oyster, but for this article let’s just say it’s your breweries “vibe”. I don’t think there is anything in the brewing business I’m more passionate about.

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  • Determine Layout of Tap Room

  • Buy/Install Equipment/ Furniture

  • Design/Decorate Interior

  • Interview/Hire Tap Room Management

  • Integrate/ Train on P.O.S.

  • Staff Training Beer/ Food/ Service

  • Organize Food Options/ Kitchen

  • Determine/ Purchase Merchandise Options

  • Set Up Online Purchase/ Ordering

  • Coordinate Grand Opening


  • Establish Daily Staff Routine

  • Experiment with Service Options

  • Hire/Train Additional Staff

  • Communicate with Brewery Team

  • Streamline Merchandise/ Online Purchasing

  • Review Reporting/ Accounting Daily

  • Coordinate with Marketing Team

  • Execute Programming/ Events

  • Maintain Draught Lines/ Equipment

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  • Evaluate Outdoor Expansion

  • Consider Additional Food/ Merchandise

  • Create Additional Programming

  • Expand Staff Continuing Education