Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wine on Tap – Your New Favorite Thing

Wine on TapDo you like saving money (who doesn’t right)? Do you enjoy great tasting wine (ditto)? Are you environmentally conscious (or at least trying)? Then you already love wine on tap. This new trend is really starting to catch on in a big way. However, wine on tap has been available at watering holes across Europe for quite some time now. The West Coast was the first area to jump on the wine keg bandwagon and since then it has sparked intense debate amongst producers, suppliers and consumers alike.

Why Not?

The dispute is similar to the apprehension felt towards screw top wine bottles. Many wine experts have a strong preference for the cork. They argue that corks oxidize the wine for better flavor and well, that’s just how it has always been done. We’re all for traditions, but there are many instances of wine going bad because of the cork. Not only does it shorten the wine’s shelf life once it’s opened but some wine can spoil before it’s ever even opened and enjoyed! This leaves two options - either distributors lose money throwing out wine that has gone bad or their customers get to drink unpleasant tasting wine. Neither option is desirable.

Wine from a kegSo why wouldn’t you go with an option that ensures great tasting wine, every time? This is the resounding argument from those in favor of wine on tap. Wine kegs are pressurized with a flavorless gas such as nitrogen to prevent any oxygen from seeping in. This completely eliminates any opportunity outside air or other adversely effecting elements to spoil the wine. Sure you should still let the wine breathe a little once you get your glass but that’s not any different than opening a bottle of wine at first. In the words of Elizabeth Mendez, wine director at Vera Restaurant in Chicago “I think the craft beer industry has helped us prove that you can get wonderful quality from a beverage on tap.” Divinity Systems can definitely vouch for that! And tasty wine is just the beginning of the benefits associated with a wine tap system.

Who Loves Money?

One of the best aspects of wine on tap by far is saving money. With the recent economic downturn many people are demanding a high quality wine at an affordable price more than ever. Wine tap systems allow consumers, wine makers and venue owners to all save money. Every time you buy a bottle of wine, you are paying for more than just the wine itself. You’re paying for the bottle, cork, foil, cardboard crates, the wine label and distribution. These costs really start to add up for wineries and distributors resulting in an inflated cost for the consumers. When you order wine from a keg you are essentially only paying for the wine and shipping and everyone wins!

A Word about Our Environment

Since wine kegs are reusable this not only has financial benefits but it’s better for the environment too. Instead of tons of glass, foil, cork & cardboard being discarded in local landfills, the only pollution comes from the actual transportation of the wine itself. But it’s still significantly less costly to the environment and your. Scott Carney, concept manager at Eno Wine Rooms estimates that since they’ve switched to a wine on tap system they've "eliminated about 5 tons of glass and cardboard waste a year." A huge difference!

Keg WineHowever, wine kegs do have their limitations. Consumers can’t purchase a keg themselves, they can only buy a glass from one and it will take a while for a wide variety of high quality options to become available. Wine Kegs are also unable to produce aged wine due to the lack of oxygen entering the bottle and let’s be honest, vintage wine is delicious. We’re definitely not saying to get rid of bottled wine altogether; just allow wine kegs to join the party.

Once you evaluate all of the pro and cons it’s safe to say we're really looking forward to the wine on tap movement and we’re definitely not the only ones.Everyone’s keeping an eye out for the first venues to start serving wine on tap and our bets are those first few will be jam packed with business. You can be sure this trend is about to take flight so if you own a restaurant, bar, winery or any other type of establishment that serves wine, we recommend you hop on the wine on tap movement as soon as possible. Cheers!

Friday, June 1, 2012


A commercial draft beer system can be an extremely worthwhile and profitable venture for almost any establishment if approached correctly. The first step is to ensure that your establishment acquires a draft beer system that achieves the highest possible profit margin. In order to do this, it’s essential that your beer dispensing system installation is performed by a qualified draft beer technician. Hundreds of factors must be considered when designing and installing a quality draft beer system.

More often than not, many bar and restaurant owners elect to install the cheapest priced beer system they can find, only to later realize that they have purchased an inefficient system that will cost more money to maintain than it is actually generating. Typically, the cost to profit margin on draft beer sales is approximately 30%. However, realizing a profit margin of 70% can depend upon a number of different factors, including but not limited to: the distance between the keg and the dispense point, draft tower design, temperature consistency along every inch of the beverage tubing, proper beer line bundle insulation, exact pressure regulation and the overall quality of the draft beer equipment. The company you hire for your draft beer system installation should take the time to explain the importance of these factors, as well as all possible design options and how they affect the system’s overall efficiency.

One of the most important tasks after your draft beer dispensing system is installed is to ensure that the beer lines are routinely cleaned. Routine beer line cleaning is often over-looked and can have disastrous results if not conducted correctly or on a regular basis. On average, beer lines should be cleaned every two weeks in order to prevent unwanted tastes that may possibly drive customers away. Beer contains hop resins, yeast and dissolved minerals that have a tendency to adhere to the inside of the beverage lines. If these materials are not cleaned on a regular basis, the beer poured through these lines will have a distinct butterscotch flavor that severely degrades the intended flavor of the beer.

As a general rule, every beer line should be cleaned at least once a month. Proper cleaning should include pumping a caustic beer line cleaning solution through the lines as well as disassembling each faucet and scrubbing the individual components with a faucet cleaning brush. Beverage line cleaning is usually performed by beer wholesale distributers or draft beer technicians. A tell-tale sign that your lines require cleaning, is to look at the vinyl (should be clear tubing) lines inside the keg cooler. If you can visually see a chalky substance coating the inside of the line, then it is of the utmost importance that the lines be thoroughly cleaned as soon as possible by your local draft beer technician.

Alleviating excessive foaming issues is essential when preventing product loss (beer) in a draft system. While this problem can be caused by a number of issues, temperature is usually the primary culprit. In any draft beer dispensing system, it is of the utmost importance that the beer line traveling from the keg to the beer faucet is kept at a constant and precise temperature.

When even a small portion of the beer line changes temperature, whether it’s due to ambient air exposure, compromised beer line insulation or refrigeration flaws, the beer traveling through these lines will become extremely foamy. This occurs, because the warmer the beer becomes, the more carbonation is released which fills the line with foam, resulting in foamy and wasted pours. However, a qualified draft beer technician can get you back on track and pouring all of your beers exactly how the brewer intended.

It is important to remember that draft beer systems should be making your establishment money. When owners and managers dismiss little inefficiencies in their system, they fail to achieve their full profit potential. Wasted ounces add up to gallons; and gallons quickly add up to big losses. Dirty beer lines produce unwanted flavors in your beer; and that beer leaves a bad taste with your customers. Whether you are considering a new draft system or evaluating one you already have, always look closely to make sure you’re realizing its maximum profitability.

Monday, May 21, 2012