When fresh and properly dispensed, draught beer tastes the way the brewer intended—clean, flavorful, and enjoyable. Draught beer is susceptible to damage from a host of factors, such as age, heat, and air. But the number one factor affecting the quality of draught beer flavor and aroma is poor hygiene. Improper cleaning of beer system lines and components from the coupler in the cooler to the faucet at the bar can lead to significant changes in beer flavor, all of them unwelcome. Over time, poor beer line hygiene will inevitably result in revenue loss due to pour waste, customer dissatisfaction, and to replacing beer lines at great expense. Staying ahead of these potentially costly outcomes is key to serving great tasting draught beer.
What is line build-up?
In addition to alcohol and carbon dioxide, finished beer contains proteins, carbohydrates and hundreds of other organic compounds. Yeast and bacteria routinely enter draught systems where they feed on beer and attach to draught lines. Minerals also precipitate from beer, leaving deposits in lines and fixtures.
Within days of installing a brand new draught system, deposits begin to build up on the beer contact surfaces. Without proper cleaning, these deposits soon affect beer flavor and undermine the system’s ability to pour quality beer.
When undertaken using proper solutions and procedures, line cleaning prevents the buildup of organic material and mineral deposits while eliminating flavor-changing microbes. Thus, a well-designed and diligently executed maintenance plan ensures trouble-free draught system operation and fresh, flavorful beer.
What are the cleaning guidelines?
TABC considers line cleaning a marketing activity performed by the beer distributors, however, not all distributors and delivery persons have the time in their rigorous schedules to perform detailed cleaning on a regular basis.
Industry best practice dictates the cleaning and sterilization of your couplers every two weeks, the removal and cleaning of your faucets every two weeks, acid based cleaning every quarter, and regular caustic line cleaning. As a retailer, you have a vested interest in making sure the cleaning is done properly. Clean lines make for quality draught beer that looks good, tastes great, and pours without waste.
But the Distributor already cleans, why pay for this service?
Cleaning performed by a distributor is often performed by rushed drivers. The result is a quick soak of the lines, but nothing more. A short, 5 to 10-minute soak will not clean the bulk of bacteria, yeast, and organic material that builds up in the lines and affects the taste and quality of the beer. Drivers are also not concerned with other issues you may be having with your draught system. Austin Draught Tech takes a comprehensive approach to our cleaning. We take our time to clean your lines, couplers, and faucets properly and address any concerns you may have.
How much do services cost?
Austin Draught Tech cleaning services are scheduled and priced through a year-long contract that is customized to your business’ draught systems. We will not quote per-beer line costing. We provide you with an estimate for what it will take to provide our package of services for one year then prorate that cost monthly. It is not our goal to just clean systems, but to manage and maintain them as well!
All other one-off repairs, upgrades, and build-outs are priced according to your business’ specific needs.