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Improve Quality and Profitability: 10 Key Elements of a Draft Beer System

Micro Matic - pint of beer on bar

Quality draft beer is the #1 factor for customers when deciding where to enjoy the freshest, most flavorful beer available. When a draft beer system contains all of the necessary components, the "Best of the Brewer's Art" can be poured. Customers seek it, and when they find it, they enjoy a great experience that will keep them returning for more!

When designing your next draft system follow these ten simple elements to ensure draft quality and maximize profitability for your customers!

1. Keg Storage Temperature

A walk-in cooler should ideally be dedicated to kegs only, at a temperature of 38 degrees. Allowing the temperature to get too cold may impact flavor and make it challenging to generate a "head of foam." A shared walk-in cooler for food and beer kegs typically requires more traffic, causing an increase in temperature. If the beer becomes too warm, foamy beer results in profits dispensed down the drain.

How Temperature Affects Retail Profitability

Increased temperature causes the CO2 in beer to expand, resulting in too much foam. Pouring off two seconds of foam results in a 25% service loss on a 16-ounce glass; equaling thousands of dollars of lost profit per year.

2. Gas Blender

A gas blender protects product carbonation in the beverage dispensing system. It ensures quality and maximizes keg yield, making it ideal for slower-moving beers. Additionally, on-site blending of CO2 and nitrogen (N) is less expensive than pre-mixed gas cylinders. Pre-mixed gas provides incorrect blend ratios for most beer systems, yielding little to no foam head in the glass. This can result in a loss of up to $720 per week at a volume of ten kegs per week.

3. Secondary Regulator Panel

Secondary Regulator Panels are used to manage keg pressure.  Different systems and beer varieties may  require different pressure settings ; the secondary regulator is calibrated to each unique product, resulting in ideal carbonation levels and perfect pours.

4. Stainless Steel Contact

Micro Matic - draft taps

Stainless steel contact improves service life and promotes hygiene to maintain product integrity no matter what beverage is dispensed. Known as the "Brewer's Choice," 304-grade stainless steel offers excellent corrosion resistance, reduces bacteria build-up, and makes the system easier to clean. 

How Stainless Steel Contact Affects Retail Profitability

Stainless steel contact ensures the brewer's taste profiles are intact. When the product tastes great, this will ultimately result in repeat sales. If five customers order one more beer daily, this can equal an extra $10k in revenue annually.

5. The FOB aka Profit Maximizer (Pro-Max™)

As its name implies, a Pro-Max™ (or FOB) provides increased earnings by eliminating the waste associated with refilling an empty draft line. When a full keg replaces an empty one and the Pro-Max™ is reset, beer can be dispensed immediately with no foam waste, reducing pour costs and increasing keg yield. A Pro-Max™ on every keg can save thousands of ounces of beer annually.

6. Power Pack

Micro Matic - power packs

A power pack (glycol chiller) maintains product temperature from keg to glass. The power pack is at the heart of a remote draft system. It circulates a non-toxic food-grade antifreeze (propylene glycol) mixture alongside the beer lines, holding ideal product temperature at the point of dispense. Having consistently chilled beer from the walk-in cooler to the faucet will ensure a perfect pint with the right amount of foam and a positive guest experience.

Designer Tip: Avoid locating the power pack on top of the walk-in cooler. Consider specifying a well-ventilated, easily serviced location for the unit.

7. Trunkline

Micro Matic - water-proof trunkline

In long draw remote draft beer systems, the trunkline provides a water-proof jacket that houses beverage and glycol lines. The trunkline is made up of insulated layers engineered to eliminate condensation and keep product cold from the keg to the glass:

  • Micro Matic's Black Diamond outer jacket is 15% more thermally efficient than standard tape and, with diminishing friction of trunk line during installation, reduces labor costs.
  • A 3/4-inch close cell insulation wrap prevents thermal loss or gain. 
  • An internal moisture barrier wrap prevents condensation from developing, and a foil cover keeps the bundle of product lines cool while reflecting away heat. 
  • The technologically superior Barriermaster Flavourlock™' beverage tubing keeps beer fresh and inhibits flavor migration when changing between products. 

Designer Tips: Size is important! When designing a draft system, use the correct beer line sized for the distance between the keg cooler and dispensing location. This can prevent thousands of liquid ounces (and profits) purged during system cleaning each year. 

If a beverage chase or conduit for will be installed for trunk line, specify at least an eight-inch diameter pipe with minimal 32" radius sweeps.

8. Kool-Rite™ Tower with Stainless Steel Faucets

The unique Micro Matic Kool-Rite™ cold blocks provide optimal tower cooling. Their modular design avoids internal connections and the risk of leaks. Each tower is constructed with 304-grade stainless steel beer lines, shanks, and faucets to maintain product integrity until it reaches the glass. Choosing a high-quality draft tower not only reduces service calls, but also ensures flawless pours, resulting in a great on-premise draft experience for customers.

9. Glassware Cleaning, Conditioning and Proper Training

Micro Matic - pouring beer

Properly cleaned glassware preserves aroma and taste and maintains both a perfect foam head and sparkling clear beer free of gas bubbles. The final presentation of correctly cleaned and sanitized glassware provides a positive customer experience and repeat sales. Remember always to use a glass rinser to condition the glass before pouring. Conditioning makes it easier to achieve a balanced pour. Finally, properly trained bar staff using correct pouring techniques and system operation delivers higher profits.

10. System Cleaning and Maintenance

Beer is a food product. Therefore, regular cleaning and service every two weeks, utilizing a recirculating electric plump, are essential to maintain draft beer quality. 

Pouring the perfect pint starts with a well-built draft beer system. Micro Matic commercial draft beer systems are designed and optimized to maximize taste, quality, and profitability. For additional information, visit our website or call us at (866) 327-4159 to speak with a draft system specialist.