There has been a bit of good news for the trade this month the alcohol duty freeze announced by the Chancellor in his Autumn budget has been implemented from 1st February. However, with competition in the on-trade as fierce as it has ever been, it is more important than ever to make sure that your customers are happy with the quality of the beer, cider and soft drinks they are served. Your reputation and ultimately your long-term future depends on it!

Your business may enjoy a fine reputation for food, live sports, warm and friendly service, but if your cellar, often referred to as the engine room is not up to scratch then you will be losing money in wastage, and lost profits. Simon Gray, dispense manager at Heineken UK, says:: “There are many factors involved in creating the perfect pour, but a good cellar management routine is essential to any bar’s success.

Last summer was an absolute boon for the hospitality and on trade sector. Beer sales in the third quarter of 2018 increased by 4.4% compared to the same period in 2017. UK pubs saw beer sales grow 0.9 per cent year on year from August to October, with around 941.5m pints changing hands over the bar, or 3.27m barrels of beer.

Cellar Management technologies

Jerry Shedden, Category and Trade Marketing Director at HEINEKEN UK, says “With a recent study revealing that 2% of drinks served in UK pubs don’t make it through the till, due to wastage being poured in the drip trays – equivalent to £230m – and almost one-quarter of pubs serving beer at the wrong temperature, there’s never been a better time for operators to review their draught dispense system and make the transition to more sustainable technology.”

In 2019, HEINEKEN will be celebrating five years since the launch of its revolutionary beer and cider dispense system, SmartDispense. Which was the first green, draught beer & cider cooling system, offering a combination of improved quality serve, significant energy savings, improved environmental impact and reduced wastage.

Born from a “Passion for Quality and Sustainability”, SmartDispense delivers consistently better draught beer and cider by keeping it cold and away from light. SmartDispense uses green cooling (hydrocarbon) technology to cool beer towards OºC and gives 3ºC in glass, a refreshing temperature preferred by consumers. SmartDispense is also extremely well insulated, meaning more energy efficiency.

“By cooling and insulating the system from keg to tap, this allows us to extend cleaning to every four weeks on the larger MODULE system – not every seven days like standard systems” adds Jerry.

CLH News spoke with leading industry suppliers and experts on maintaining a ‘clean and healthy cellar’.

Maintain your cellar

Beer is classified as a food product and is covered under the Food Safety Act 1990. Thus, it’s not only good practice to instigate and maintain a proper cleaning and maintenance schedule it’s your legal responsibility.

Furthermore, if you fail to adequately maintain your cellar, you’ll also:

  • Waste money. Poor cellar management results in lost money in two ways: firstly, through wastage by throwing away product, and secondly, you’ll lose customers. Ultimately, what you serve to your customer is what’s making you money, and the best service in the world won’t make up for poor quality beer and/or or dirty glasses. Therefore, it’s just as important to focus on your cellar as it is on the front of house service.

  • Reduce the quality of your product. Poor Cellar Management, particularly cleaning and maintenance will impact the taste, appearance and aroma of your product, failing to clean and maintain your beer lines can be subject to wild yeast build up and bacterial infections and could result in a sour, vinegary pint.

  • Encounter further issues such as fobbing pints, off tasting or hazy beer it might be because you are lacking a proper cleaning routine.

  • Be at risk of pest infestations. Poor cellar management can increase the risk of a pest infestation which can be hazardous to human health and safety, create problems with environmental health departments, and can result in a lot of wastage.

At a time when British hospitality owners have to watch the pennies and meet strict targets, reducing beer waste and keeping a good pint can be crucial to success.

Beer Piper, established in 1988, provides a second-to-none service and the most advanced technological systems in the world to ensure that customers can reduce waste and save money. Jeff Singer, Commercial Manager for Beer Piper, explains how: “Our data shows that the average landlord or bar manager can reduce loss by 16 pints and save around £56 per week if their beer lines are cleaned quickly and effectively, so it makes sense to use the very best systems on offer.

“Beer Piper technology makes cleaning beer lines much less time consuming, less costly and less impactful upon operations, giving bar operators and hospitality owners real time data on their dispense systems using the latest in cloud-based and mobile tech.

“Our systems use powerful, new generation detergents that are manufactured from environmentally friendly ingredients, and our unrivalled technical expertise means we offer an exceptional service to our customers.”

As footfall increases in the coming summer months inevitably bringing fresh faces through the door all the more reason to ensure that standards remain high, and the key to converting these new customers into regulars is quality. Steve Lakin, key account manager with Innserve.

“Great beer, served in a clean, branded glass, will be remembered; on the other side of the coin, so will a poor pint. Statistics show that beer quality is important to nine out of 10 drinkers, with around two thirds saying they would not only complain about a bad pint, they would tell their friends about it as well.”

The cask ale drinker is the highest spender of all beer consumers, spending over £1,000 a year in the pub. Not only is the cask aficionado the one who decides which establishment to visit, he or she is also willing to spend more on a big night out!

Lager remains the most popular drink in the sector, accounting for around 65% of all sales compared with real ale’s 29%. However, lager drinkers are beginning to get a taste for real ale; figures in the 2018 Cask Report show that its popularity is rising sharply, with 65% of outlets surveyed reporting an increase in sales.

Cask Marque director Paul Money has said the organisations researcher has shown that there is room for improvement when it comes to managing cellars. He said, “We’ve been talking about beer quality for 20 years, but not everyone is listening. Our beer quality report shows that pubs are losing £300 million of profit through poor beer and Cellar Management, a well kept cellar increases beer sales by 3%”.

One such company doing their bit to reduce waste are professional beer line cleaners, Clear Brew. They have recently been given a huge thumbs up for the quality of the service they provide, from major UK pub group, Revolution Bars. The Revolution Bar Group is continuing to grow and Clear Brew are delighted to be part of that growth, as they assist them in ensuring they reduce waste, improve quality and save money, whilst facilitating the arduous group task of cleaning the beer lines for each establishment across the UK.

Stephen Trezona, MD, is delighted with the response, especially as it validates everything he has always enthused about when promoting the benefits of the service. “We have numerous individual testimonials that praise the quality of the repeat service which demonstrates how we can cover the entire UK using our eco-friendly, standardised and effective cleaning methods. Clear Brew said having a clear cellar routine in place, backed by staff training and pre-emptive maintenance of the cellar, “is always a good thing”. “Make sure you have a routine, e.g. a set day for beer line cleaning and general cellar management tasks – make sure this is scheduled and not just ‘when we get the chance’,” said Trezona. “These are critical tasks and letting them slip can be costly, both in terms of time you won’t have on a busy night and in terms of wastage from poorly maintained products,” he added.

Cutting Costs

In these highly competitive times for the on-trade sector cutting costs is vital says Eugene Durkin managing director at LineClenze International who pride ourselves on their ability to help licensed premises save money. With a range of innovative products, which provide cost saving and quality improvements for venues up and down the country.

Line cleaning typically takes place once a week and is responsible for high levels of beer waste every month. LineClenze offer a solution! By installing a Lineclenze is device, customers have reported that line cleaning can be reduced to once every 28 days or less, providing a quick return on investment and additional income that goes straight to the bottom line. This clever piece of technology helps bar managers save money by reducing the frequency that they have to clean their beer lines. This means less beer poured down the drain and more to sell. Paul McManus director of McManus Managed Pub Company says: “The idea is simple and effective, saving a substantial amount of time and revenue…way more than the initial investment. The LineClenze device works by reducing the frequency of cleans, not only do I save pouring good beer down the drain but my staff are freed up for other tasks by not having to clean every week. I am very impressed with what LineClenze has achieved and would recommend the device to anyone in the industry.”

Stay cool

The cellar itself should be kept at the right temperature – between 11°C and 13°C – to preserve product quality, and particularly that of cask ale. Too cold and the beer will be flat and have a chill haze; too warm and it may develop a fob.

StayClean, who also provide digital ultrasonic devices that extend the period between beer line cleans up to once every 4-6 weeks, strongly make the case for monitoring and maintaining optimised cellar conditions.

Carolyn Daniel, director of StayClean, says: “Cellars have to be kept at a consistent temperature. If the cellar’s too warm it creates the perfect environment for the bacteria and pollutants that spoil beer to thrive. Each StayClean system treats 4 beer lines and is equipped with a temperature sensor, which displays on the screen and stores ‘threshold breach’ data on the device for download via our App.”

Carolyn continues: “This means that we can monitor local temperature around the cellar, rather than just at one point – and therefore identify areas where the cooling system is less effective.” BY doing so, we can ensure that all areas in the cellar are within temperature thresholds, allowing beer line cleaning to be extended to six weekly intervals.

Essentially, the cellar is a food preparation area and should be treated as such. This means mopping up spills immediately, keeping drains and sump pumps clear and washing the walls and floor thoroughly every week. It should never be used as a general storage area as the volume of items kept there will impact on the cooling system, making it work harder to stay at the right temperature. In addition, food should never be kept in the cellar as it not only attracts vermin but it can impact on the taste of the beer itself.

For every pint of ale served, a pint of air from the cellar is drawn into the cask. Therefore, a dirty or badly managed cellar results in contaminated air entering the cask and potentially spoiling the beer. Strong-tasting snacks, if stored in the cellar, are at risk of affecting the taste of cask ale, while damp cardboard, for example, can also impact on beer taste.

Good practices include having a wall-mounted thermometer, clearly displaying the cellar temperature, and keeping cooling equipment regularly topped up with water. The area around the cooler itself should be free from dust and blockages, while grills should be cleaned regularly. A planned schedule of maintenance will help avoid costly breakdowns.

Stock rotation

Properly managed stock rotation is also vital for to that perfect pint. When selecting the next container for dispense, ensure that it’s been in the cellar for at least 48 hours, check the ‘best before’ date, remove the cap and make sure it is clean. A keg should be on dispense for no more than five days and a cask for no more than three.

Depending on the brand, most casks should be in position for 48 hours with a soft peg before the ale is put on sale. Insert a clean tap every time and under no circumstances return old beer to a new container – it will contaminate the fresh beer. If connecting a keg, check that the coupler is clean and that both washers are intact. Missing or damaged washers could result in leaks and wasted beer.

Gas dispense systems can vary but, regardless of which one you have, the same issues apply: health and safety, selecting the right gas and connecting the cylinder up correctly. Make sure that the cylinder is chained up vertically when you do this for obvious safety reasons. Similarly, check the washers to prevent any gas leaks and double check that you have selected the correct mix before turning the gas on. The wrong mix will result in sadly flat or frothing beers.

Understanding how food grade gases can deliver a great drink

Food grade industrial gases can help you to deliver a superior product to your customers, but it’s important to understand your responsibilities in utilising this important commodity, say industrial gas specialists Air Products.

Industrial gases are used in a wide range of manufacturing processes, but when using gases for drinks dispensing, it’s important to use food grade to ensure safety to the public from microbial spoilage. Reputable suppliers will only sell cylinders which are labelled correctly with the product and a food traceability label to ensure that premises don’t fall breach of the food regulations standards. Poor quality gases from non-reputable suppliers can also affect the taste of beers – one cylinder of bad dispense gas can ruin up to 10 kegs of beer and could put you at risk for prosecution for being in breach of health and safety regulations. Poor or damaged cylinders can also pose safety threats by contamination or corrosion, which could cause the cylinder to explode or to leak. Only accept food grade gases from a reputable supplier.
Have you got the right gas mix to achieve your desired product results?

The proper mix of food grade gases can enhance the flavour characteristics of your drinks, affect the after-taste, fobbing and haze and have an impact on quality.

Generally, there are three mixed gas types used in the UK market, depending upon the type of beer being dispensed. Your beer supplier will tell you which to use for your particular products.

30/70 – containing 30% CO2 and 70% N2
50/50 – containing 50% CO2 and 50% N2
60/40 – containing 60% CO2 and 40% N2

Safety tips:

There are numerous regulations and safety bodies that are designed to help keep you and your team safe in utilising food grade gases, such as The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations Act of 200, ISO 9001, the Health and Safety Executive and the British Compressed Gas Association.

• Ensure all your gas equipment is correctly installed and regularly maintained. Know what gases you have and
how to work with them safely. Understand the correct way to changeover a gas cylinder.
• Regulators, pressure systems and safety relief valves need to be evaluated periodically and proper ventilation is a must when using gases.
• Is there a safe and secure site for the storage of the gas cylinders or tank?
• Are your staff adequately trained in cellar safety, how to avoid injury from lifting heavy cylinders and the importance of ventilation and monitoring?

For more advice – BCGA GN 30, The safe use of gases in the beverage dispense industry.

BeerMode of supply can make a big difference

Some cellar systems make it easy on the landlord by eliminating the need for heavy cylinders. There are tank installations available that use remote fill points so that gas can be delivered without the need for on-site staff to accept the delivery and the manual handling of cylinders; saving time in change-overs, cellar space and providing the peace of mind that a securely monitored system can deliver. The system monitors the gas levels so that you don’t run out, you never pay for gas that you’re not using and that deliveries can be handled seamlessly, through external fill points.

Air Products friendly team of technical experts can help. We’ve been helping UK companies to capitalise on the value that gases can bring to the hospitality industry for over 60 years. We can discuss the benefits of different gas mixes, usage projections and the best modes of supply and can help you develop a system that delivers quality tasting products to your customers as well as helping you to meet the safety codes. Our fit and forget system is a tailor-made system to meet your specific cellar and safety needs with equipment to provide all your gas needs for drinks dispense and line cleaning.

Take pride in your pint

The above heading says it all! Create an effective cleaning regime and train your staff accordingly. A proactive approach to cellar management and effective training will ensure that staff really understand the product and the importance of cleaning and stock rotation as well as improving the bottom line through keeping waste to a minimum­

• Clean beer pipes at least once a week
• Maintain correct temperature 11c/13c all the time
• Keep the cellar floor clean and clear of spillages
• Keep the whole cellar tidy and rotate stock efficiently
• Make sure cask beer containers are sold through in three days
• Make sure keg beer containers are sold through in five days | Tel 01684 636261 | 01937 535000 | 01209 219889 | 0800 1701564