When draft lines are properly maintained, few drinkers or bar owners would disagree that beer on tap is better than bottles and cans. From a customer experience standpoint, draft beer engages all the senses offering a crisper taste, better body, richer bouquet and more visual appeal. For the bar owner, draft beer offers higher profit margins through greater product yield, operational efficiency and repeat sales. These benefits have led many bar and restaurant owners to begin offering other kinds of drinks on tap.
A recent study by Future Market Insights reveals that keg sales are on the rise and projected to continue growing over the next ten years. So while draft beer is still the leading kegged beverage, it’s no longer unusual to find establishments offering wine on tap, coffee on tap and other kegged cocktails…and they’re reaping the rewards! For example, Dunkin’ Donuts recently began opening its NextGen stores offering drinks on tap, including eight signature cold beverages such as coffee, iced tea, lemonade, cold coffee and nitro cold coffee. Since the rollout, Dunkin’s sales have grown 4.6%, and David Hoffmann, CEO and President of Dunkin’, attributes a lot of this to the expansion of its beverage portfolio.
With so many operators upping their dispensing game to satisfy consumers’ need for variety and choice when they go out, every owner should consider drinks on tap as a functional solution that meets that demand.
Why You Should Offer Drinks On Tap?
Brewers, bar and restaurant owners have long known that draft beer provides some of their biggest profits. But today, it’s not really an option. With microbrew and craft beers growing in popularity, operators need to be able to promote seasonal beers on tap to offer variety to their customers. Draft beer is also an ideal way to sample new flavor profiles, which can often be sold at a premium. Offering multiple draft beers provides customers choice and it's not uncommon for an establishment to carry 16 or more selections.
When we think of cocktails, many of us will remember Tom Cruise and his partner tossing bottles through the air, putting on a show with every pour in the movie Cocktail. Although some establishments still offer this unique crafted cocktail experience, some customers just want their libation poured quickly and consistently—and that’s just what kegged cocktails offer. Pre-batched cocktails on tap, whether it’s a Manhattan, a Mojito, or a Mimosa, allow bartenders to serve drinks in a fraction of the time and it’ll taste the same to customers no matter who’s working the bar.
For example, at Polite Provisions, an apothecary-themed bar in San Diego, CA, customers can get tapped Gin & Tonics and Palomas, or originals like the Mr. Brownstone, a cocktail made with Irish whiskey, bitters and house-made cinnamon soda. While at Bar Charlie in Washington, D.C., customers can enjoy a full-throttle tiki cocktail poured and served in seconds, without all the bartending effort usually required to mix the laundry list of spirits and syrups. Check out more bars benefitting from cocktails on tap in this Food and Wine slideshow, and remember, when there are improvements to volume, speed of service and quality, profits are sure to improve too.
There’s a misconception among some bar owners and patrons that keg wine will taste like the cheap boxed wine that haunted the 80s and 90s. After perfecting equipment offerings and dispensing standards, one sip of wine on tap will change minds! Not only does kegged wine taste great it also maintains taste; just as the vintner intended. Over time, and sometimes just a matter of days, opened bottles shift from their original flavor profile. Sparkling wines become flat; white, sweet, and rose wines oxidize and lose character; and red wines begin to sour and taste “vinegary”. This is a turnoff to guests and can result in waste. In addition, with kegged wine, bar and restaurant owners don’t need to pay for the winery’s cost in bottles, corks, labeling and storage, instead saving money with each pour. Still not convinced? Check out this video from Try Wine on Tap.
Cold brew and nitro cold brew coffees are heating up business for restaurants, coffee shops and convenience stores, with the market poised to deliver a combined annual growth rate of nearly 30% by 2022. Forget the messy pitchers! Serving from a kegerator or a draft system, the same technology used for beer, wine, and cocktails, offers no-mess convenience and freshness at just the right temperature. Plus, with a nitro infusion, you can also add that wow factor to each perfect pour.
Ready For Drinks On Tap?
There’s one more benefit to drinks on tap that all of these have in common: sustainability. Kegs are the most environmentally-responsible beverage package in the beverage industry; they’re returnable, refillable, recyclable, and have an incredible 30-year life span serving approximately 27,000 glasses before they are retired.
But it’s not just beer! Consider keg wine for example. Wine on tap can reduce an operator’s carbon footprint by 96% compared to wine poured out of bottles over 20 years. This example from Pour My Beer is also a real eye-opener. Say a restaurant serves 100 wine kegs in a year, with a typical keg equaling about 26 bottles. Those 26 bottles would have introduced into the environment almost 40 pounds of packaging waste, including their boxes, corks and foil wrapping, and the bottles themselves.
Studies also show that millennials, the largest living generation in the United States, are very concerned about the environment, and businesses with sustainable practices are more likely to capture their attention and dollars.
So, do some good for the planet and your business, and serve drinks on tap to save time, increase consistency, and boost your bottom line!
Micro Matic is the leader in On Tap equipment solutions for beer, wine, water, coffee, cocktails and kombucha. For more information and to get pouring today, reach out to one of our draft experts: firstname.lastname@example.org