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Planning Your Tap Room Draft System for Success

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.


1. Keep the system short.


Long lines can pour great beer too, but short systems have definite advantages. For one, short lines don’t waste as much beer. Changing kegs and cleaning lines incur costs from dumped beer and the longer the lines, the more the waste. Shorter lines are also easier to keep clean. There’s simply less biomass that forms in short lines and cleaning is generally simpler and more effective. Finally, short lines are easier and cheaper to replace. Some beers can flavor-stain a line and when change out is cheap, there are few worries.


2. Consider pouring from a walk-in cooler.


Kegerators behind the bar can be very enticing when you’re in the planning stages. They’re often cheaper than a walk-in cooler, for one. And the short lines have lots of advantages, like detailed above. But storage is limited in kegerators. If you’re pouring any type of volume, you’ll find yourself running back and forth between the bar and your keg storage, loading kegs during your busiest time. And walk-in coolers don’t have to be far away. A strategically-placed cooler behind the bar can give all the short-draw advantages of a kegerator without the storage limitations.


3. Design the system for ease of cleaning.


One of the best ways to keep cleaning simple is to have a dedicated keg for each faucet. When you have a single keg feeding multiple faucets, it complicates the cleaning process and can make it less effective.


4. Keep any food in a separate cooler.


Food service coolers are often high-traffic. This can cause the temperature to fluctuate during your busiest times and warm temperatures are the leading cause of foamy beer. Keeping your cooler dedicated to beer only will ensure your beer is cold and pouring clear.

5. Hire a professional.


Draft systems can get complicated really quickly. It’s a delicate balance of temperature, pressure, gas blends, rise and fall, and line restriction. Bringing in a trained draft system professional will ensure your beer pours great every time, right from the start.


Keep these points in mind in your planning process. Doing so will help you showcase the fruit of all your labors. Good luck!

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Contributing Author

Neil Witte                             Owner, TapStar

 

Neil Witte is a Master Cicerone and 24-year veteran of the beer business, working for 19 years for Boulevard Brewing Co & Duvel USA. He is now the Lead Trainer for the Cicerone Certification Program and runs two businesses - Craft Quality Solutions, his draft beer consultation and install company, and TapStar, a draft beer quality certification program for retailers.

Tap Room Interior

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  1. How will you train your staff? Do not assume your taproom staff are naturals. It’s more important to have someone passionate about your brand and building experiences, than someone with pre-existing Craft Beer knowledge. Sure, it makes it a bit easier if your staff are already knowledgeable about the industry, but training includes a lot more than your beer list. Take the time to educate your staff on your story, your mission, your beers, and train them on the experience you aim to create.

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How to Properly Attach Your Tap Handle

Ben Weston, Hoptown Handles

One question we frequently get asked from our new brewery clients is: "How do I get my new custom tap handle to face forward?" Many people new to the world of operating a tap lineup mistakenly believe that how a tap handle is due to tap handle itself. In fact, it's a simple part of the tap called the collar that allows you to orient your tap in the desired direction every time.

1. Admire your awesome custom tap handle and decide which way it should face.
2. Screw the tap handle down to gently meet the collar. Do not tighten.

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Engagement is an essential factor in maximizing your guest experience. Staff have a greater opportunity to build this relationship during slower times; however, even during the busiest shifts, a bartender or server can create a memorable connection with your guests. Here is a formula to maximize engagement during these times.

The first part of your 30 Second Conversation begins with your greeting. This doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple, “Hi, I’m Andrew. Welcome to Andrew’s Brewery.” When staff introduce themselves, guests tip 13.6 

 

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Behind the Scenes in the Tap Room: Service Models

Nancy Trigg, Trigg Performance Collective

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.

As states and municipalities reopen their economies, many regulations remain in place for the safety of employees and patrons. There are restrictions on party sizes, table spacing, maskwearing, and more*. Many of these restrictions are forcing businesses to change their service models—but where do you begin? In this 

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ACT

  • 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

oPEN

  • 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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GrOW

  • Evaluate Outdoor Expansion

  • Consider Additional Food/ Merchandise

  • Create Additional Programming

  • Expand Staff Continuing Education

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