Don’t mess with the beer quality!

Hello to all tap beer lovers… venues and drinkers.

Business conditions for everyone are being smashed this year, and some areas are feeling the pinch harder than most at the moment. At time of writing Melbourne is in locked down again, Sydney is seeing some cases rise… whilst Clive is trying to gate crash WA’s secluded virus free world.

One thing that is common with venues we talk with, is that things are different, there is a ‘new new’.

With the surety of the Jobkeeper programmes ending at some point, it is a case of the survival of the fittest. Many businesses are conducting their own ‘branch and root’ analysis of how they operate so they are in a great position to ‘hold out’ the storm.

Beer line cleaning is an area we recommend requires analysis and is justifiably receiving. Our advice, is for the venue to first decide what quality of beer they wish to consistently serve, and then build a plan around to suit.

For some operators, beer line cleaning is seen as a cost (it has been described to us as an inconvenience) and for others it is an integral part of conducting business in serving high quality tap beer.

Our observation is, that venues have all ways had differing focuses of beer line hygiene. Some clean weekly (yes we still meet them) and others monthly and sadly we come across some that are several months between cleans.

What beer quality suits your venue’s brand?

We spend thousands of dollars each year carrying out laboratory testing of tap beer quality, our microbiologists inform us to understand how bio-film grows within the beer lines.

The short answer is biofilm found within beer line systems is regarded as one the strongest bonded adhesives known. Once a biofilm growth begins it is then an easy attachment for new bacteria to join and grow the bio-film party. When given sufficient time to grow, it becomes very very difficult to remove.

Illustration of single bacteria cells joining together, being held together by protein (in yellow) and becoming bio-film.

This why traditionally the industry has been encouraged to clean weekly and more recently with the inception of glycol, fortnightly.

Interesting fact, did you know the the US State of Illinois has legislated that glycol beer systems must be cleaned every 2 weeks maximum.

If a venues cleaning cycle is beyond fortnightly, they will be hoping that their cleaning method (and chemical and dilution rate) is sufficient to remove all of the bio-film at that cleaning instance. If just the majority of the bio-film is removed, it then leaves ‘anchors’ for the next bacteria party to quickly reassemble.

If the lines aren’t sanitised – 100% removal of all contaminants – at every cleaning occurance, then there is a compounding issue occuring.

A sanitised beer line inhibits the ability for bio-film to attach.

As an avid beer drinker and a industry partner, it’s surprising that the lure of savings can still bang louder than the desire to provide exceptional quality tap beer.

The adage “we haven’t received any complaints about our quality’, Aussies generally don’t complain, we’re polite. If it is a local they may move to packaged, but for most, I’m sure they just try the next pub.

There wouldn’t be a brewer in the land that would endorse monthly cleaning.

For the venues cleaning monthly, please hand on heart… “tell me honestly if the beer quality on day 28 is as fresh and delicious as it tastes and looks at day 1?”

From our experience and the science data we see, beer lines should be cleaned fortnightly as a minimum, in the traditional sense.

Special attention must also be applied to the quality of the cleaner and whether the dosing settings are correct if using a dosing pump. Check the manufacturers datasheets, many will provide a dilution rate, but no correlation to the cleaning frequency. One of the main products in use in the market has a recommended dilution rate only, I understand was initially set for weekly. So cleaning monthly with the same dilution is unlikely to remove the established bio-film.

In theses changing times, don’t change the quality… negatively.

Exceptional tap beer quality is not a fluke.

You can consider the financial benefits of our system in your venue below.