Draft Beverages 101: The Best Way to Serve Your Libations
John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi… All iconic duos, but no match to the greatest duo of all time: self-pour technology and draft beverages. Not only are Table Tap self-pour experts, but we are also experts on draft beverages and draft systems. While beer is the king on tap seltzer, wine, cocktails, cold-brew coffee, and kombucha are all great options as well. Many people don’t realize that there are several factors affecting how each of these beverages is served. The type of gas required, pressure, and temperature all come into play. Below is a little bit more insight into the basics of draft beverages:
Not only is draft beer easier to drink and leaves you less bloated, but it also tastes better. Bottled beer is pasteurized. This means it is heated at very high temperatures to kill off bacteria. When beer is exposed to heat, the quality of its flavor is reduced. Draft beer, on the other hand, is unpasteurized equating to a much fresher taste.
Kegs are more environmentally-friendly and sustainable as one keg can be reused for over 30 years. One 1/2 barrel keg contains 1,984 ounces which prevents 165 cans or bottles from ending up in a landfill. Operationally, transporting kegs is easier than trying to move around crates full of cans and bottles.
Long Draw: A long draw draft system means kegs are remotely stored in a refrigerator or walk-in cooler away from the taps. The beer leaves the kegs and travels through beer lines until it reaches the taps. Table Tap always recommends glycol for a long draw system. Glycol is a coolant that circulates as a liquid at below freezing temperatures keeping the beverage lines cold from keg to tap. Glycol gets pumped through its own tubing which touches the outside of each beer line conducting cool to ensure ice cold beverages at the tap. A Glycol Power Pack is the machine that circulates this coolant and maintains its temperature.
Direct Draw: A direct draw draft system is one that circulates cold air to keep beer at the proper temperature. Kegs are stored in a direct-draw refrigerated cooler, AKA kegerator, then the beer is dispensed through taps on top of the unit. Table Tap always recommends kegerators that contain a blower hose to continuously blow cold air up into the tap tower. A blower hose makes sure each pour will come out ice cold. Without that blower hose, the beer inside that tower will warm. If time passes between pours, the next pour will likely be warm and foamy. Table Tap carefully selects the best direct draw units to guarantee a perfect pour every time.
Gas: CO2 or a CO2/Nitrogen blend
Temperature: 35 degrees
Serving wine on tap is more advantageous than serving bottled wine. Draft wine is less labor intensive and a venue can save significant money on transport costs and wastage. An untapped keg of wine can last 12 months while a tapped keg can last 3 months. Once a bottle of wine is corked, its shelf-life is 3-5 days. Speed of service is also increased. No need to worry about training your staff on how to open bottles or pour the exact right amount. With self-pour draft wine, customers can easily pour the perfect glass to their liking.
There are thousands of quality kegged wines. A ⅙ barrel keg of wine contains 660 ounces or 132 5-ounce glasses. A 750mL bottle of wine contains only five 5-ounce glasses. The rate of replenishing and restocking is significantly reduced when you serve wine on tap. This is especially important in apartment complexes that offer self-pour wine as an amenity. The last thing the property management team wants to do is constantly restock their system. Check out this TikTok showing how easy it is to pour your own glass of wine:
Gas: Inert gases such as Nitrogen or Argon
Temperature: Red = 55 degrees; White = 45 degrees
Like beer and wine, pre-mixed cocktails can also be served on tap. Kegged cocktails are much more cost-effective and time-efficient than hand-made cocktails. With pre-made cocktails, operators don’t have to worry about their bartenders making cocktails too strong or too weak. Bartenders also don’t have to waste time meticulously crafting each drink. Micromatic’s SpinStick technology ensures that kegged cocktails are continuously blended so that the recipe’s consistency is maintained.
Also revolutionizing the concept of kegged cocktails is Craft Standard. To help venues capitalize on the advantages and popularity of craft cocktails, they have curated a product line of craft cocktail recipes and proprietary kegging technology. With their technology and recipes, operators don’t have to be expert mixologists, but they can still create perfectly blended cocktails time after time.
Gas: CO2 or a CO2/Nitrogen blend
Temperature: 35 degrees or warmer if served over ice
50% of millennials prefer their coffee served cold rather than hot. Cold brew coffee is a refreshment that can be enjoyed throughout the day and anytime of the year. Cold brew is also a much smoother and less acidic alternative to regular coffee. A glass of premium cold brew can be sold at the same price as an alcoholic beverage. Being that cold brew does not contain alcohol, the cumbersome process of obtaining a license to sell is not required.
Table Tap has recently developed a Pay at the Tap solution for non-alcoholic beverages. Through this solution, the need for an RFID card is eliminated. Our traditional RFID reader at the taps can be replaced with a credit card processor. A user can simply select their pour size (full cup or half cup), insert and pay with their credit card, and then tap a button on the screen to pour.
Temperature: 40 degrees or warmer if served over ice
*Be cautious of storing non-alcoholic beverages at temperatures any colder as it invites the risk of these beverages freezing.
Alongside cold brew, kombucha is becoming increasingly popular amongst millennials. Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from a mix of tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Kombucha can come in a variety of refreshing flavors and carries many health benefits including healthier digestion, improved immune system, and helps with detox and weight loss.
Marin is a kombucha brand out of San Francisco that is rapidly sweeping the nation. It is preferred and endorsed by numerous well-known athletes such as Steph Curry. For more information on how to get Marin Kombucha or any other self-pour beverage on tap at your venue, please contact us today!
Gas: Nitrogen or CO2
Temperature: 40 degrees