DRAFT – How Many Taps Should I Have? Part 3 of 3

Why Is Eight The Maximum? FRESHNESS: You need to ensure that you are selling at least a keg per month of each brand. Large domestic kegs are good for 60 days, imports about 180. By the time they get delivered and then tapped, you need to sell them within a month, generally speaking. Out of all of the draught system audits we do, past-code kegs are one of the major issues. LINE CLEANING: You will lose about 3/4 of an ounce per foot when you clean your lines. Pouring from 20 taps with a walk-in that is 85 feet away will cost you about $2,000 per year in lost beer just from line cleaning. An 8 tap system will only cost $730. in lost beer. Also, an 8 tap system will be less work for your line cleaner, so they will charge you less. BRANDED GLASSES: You need to have branded glasses for each brand. Yes, you do. My next post will be on branded glasses, so just trust me for now. Unless you have a bar with unlimited storage behind it, branded glasses for 20 brands takes up a considerable amount of room. TRAINING: You staff should know each brand’s style, description, history, and what other brand it is similar to. It would also be nice if they knew which of your menu items pair best (and why) with each brand. This is the easiest way to increase sales, by the power of suggestion. WALK-IN BEER FRIDGE: When designers plan restaurants they try to get the greatest number of seats in the footprint of the space. This means that the back-of-the-house is typically cramped and smaller than it should be. When it comes to the beer fridge, it’s usually the first to be made smaller when space is needed elsewhere or it’s just too small to begin with. Trying to fit 20 tapped kegs plus 20 back up kegs in a walk-in that is 10 x 10 just will not work properly. Your staff will curse you every day as will your draught service technicians who service your lines. Inventory will be a nightmare. WSIB claims will go up from your 22 year old bar back who throws his back out trying to lug a 160 pound keg into a dark, damp, cold beer fridge. EQUIPMENT: The maximum number of beer lines in a trunk line with one set of cooling lines is eight. Put ten lines in and you need two sets of cooling lines and a larger glycol deck to chill the trunk line. You will need a FOB and a regulator on each line. Don’t forget to add in extra couplers, faucets, and towers. This all costs money. More moving parts means more maintenance and a greater chance of downtime. We don’t clean lines at places with 16+ lines any more, but when we did, they accounted for almost all of our service calls; almost every second day. We rarely get service calls on 8 line systems, maybe 2 a month now, with even more accounts than before. PEOPLE ARE NOT DRINKING DRAUGHT LIKE THEY USED TO: This kills me, it really does, but since we’re being honest, check out my other posts on declining draught sales and the new 0.05 law. Footnote IMHO: Peoples tastes are changing. They are trying different brands all the time, they are expanding their “circle-of-brands”. One only need to look at The Beer Store or LCBO product list to see that there are many options available to consumers. However, I believe it is not changing as fast as some people think. The majority still prefer mainstream macro brands, love it or hate it, it is true. Just look at national sales. I’m not suggesting that Johnny Budweiser will never enjoy a full-bodied craft beer, but they are not going to completely change brands overnight; it takes time. Having a draught brand line up of all full-bodied, dark, craft-styled beer will hurt your sales. Last Sip Draught will always be around. It is a great way for brewers to showcase new brands and it helps get their brands into more people’s hands. People can’t get draught at home and when it’s poured fresh and served properly, it is 100 times better than bottle. However, the days of consumers buying trays of draught and 8 hour shifts sitting at your bar are over. Several years ago you probably moved 20 kegs a week, now you move 12-15. The key point to remember is: EVERY BRAND MUST SELL AT LEAST ONE KEG EVERY MONTH