When choosing beer and wine dispensing systems, it helps to be educated on how the different types operate, cost considerations and maintenance requirements.
With beer systems, there used to be an average of 6 to 8 different brews, but due to the rise in popularity of craft beer, many bars have moved to 12-tap units instead of kegerators to accommodate a larger variety of offerings. Operators can store the beer kegs for these larger systems in a remote walk-in cooler, which helps save space in the bar area. This type is available in direct draw with shorter runs and air-cooled systems, or remote/glycol-cooled types, which require a tower.
Beer dispensing systems have come a long way in terms of design. There are new technologies that have enhanced the continuity of product from keg to faucet. For example, chilled faucets reduce foam, which is straight profit going down the drain.
Although direct-draw units can accommodate up to four kegs per unit, these systems require more handling than remote-draw systems.
Remote systems offer increased flexibility in terms of the number of brands that can be offered at one time, but also require a greater initial investment. Still, these systems tend to pay for themselves over time.
On a per keg basis, wine tends to be more expensive than beer, so it is mainly served with direct-draw systems, which are more easily managed. Operators should confirm wine will be utilized in less than three months, or kegs changed out every two to three weeks, otherwise a dispensing system may not be worthwhile.
Operators can choose direct-draw wine dispensers that are 24 inches wide and breathe in the back or 36 inches wide that breathe out the front. Either way, there must be adequate space for proper ventilation.