Beer Line Cleaners
The NYSBA Draft Quality Program is the first of its kind in the country and helps ensure that beer quality integrity is maintained throughout distribution at retail establishments. A Certified Establishment adheres to a strict set of guidelines so that the beer consumers receive is just as the brewer intended.
Why is line cleaning important?
When beer leaves a brewery, it’s fresh and ready for consumption, however, by the time it gets to the consumer, it’s shipped, stored, transported, moved, and finally tapped. All of this, combined with temperature changes throughout the process, can have adverse effects on the beer. Though many breweries and distributors take great care to maintain beer quality, tap lines at an establishment can create a bad consumer experience and hurt sales.
A properly maintained tap system should be cleaned every two weeks to ensure the beer being poured is not contaminated by bacteria, mold, and other undesirable elements that can leave off-flavors in the beer. Not only can the beer taste terrible but can actually make consumers sick and that kind of thing can significantly damage an establishment’s reputation. Regular line cleaning helps ensure that your customers have a good experience that they happily share and return again and again.
What is the process to be a certified establishment?
There’s no cost for an establishment to become certified and there are two groups of retailers that qualify:
- Restaurants, bars, draft pouring establishments (e.g. supermarkets)
- Licensed breweries with a tap room
Establishments that fall into the first group can get certified by contacting a certified line cleaner or by completing the Quality Seal Application online. Restaurants, bars and draft pouring establishments can only be certified by a third-party line cleaner.
Licensed breweries often do their own line cleaning and have a vested interest in the quality of the beer they produce and serve. Therefore, breweries can be awarded certification even if cleaning is conducted by an in- house person.
What do certified establishments receive?
Establishments are encouraged to promote their certification. As such, certified establishments receive the following promotional items at no cost:
- The use of a high-quality sign announcing they are Draft Quality Certified.
- 250 coasters.
- A front door sticker.
- Recognition on the NYSBA website.
Certified establishments stand out to beer enthusiasts and draw first-time as well as repeat business. For more information, visit www.NewYorkCraftBeer.com/draft-quality-program
Tell me if this has ever happened to you:
You go out to a bar or restaurant, you order your favorite draught beer or a bottled beer that was then poured into a nice tall pint, but you are completely disappointed with what you are drinking. You think to yourself, “This doesn’t taste right at all…”
There are a few reasons why this could be, but one unfortunate corner cutting technique is how glassware is cleaned. Some bars and restaurants use oil based detergents to clean glassware such as Dawn dish soap. Using oil based detergents will leave a film on the glassware after it is rinsed and dried. That film left behind from the soap will destroy the taste profile of the beer that the brewer has intended. This is penny smart, but dollar foolish.
Glassware can sometimes be the most overlooked component to delivering that quality beer from brewer to consumer, but is arguably the most important. The Brewers Association’s “Draught Beer Quality Manual” describes a beer clean glass is one that, “forms a proper foam head, allows lacing during consumption and never shows patches of bubbles stuck to the side of the glass in the liquid beer.”
The most popular detergent and sanitizer are the brand “Beer Clean”. These are available online or at Restaurant Depot:
Hey, believe me I get it, cutting costs is something everyone tries to do, especially in the bar and restaurant business. Beer and specifically draught beer, is one of the most profitable offerings in your entire establishment. Something as important as that needs the proper attention in all facets.
I am including a link to a digital version of the Brewer’s Association. This is my Bible. It is extremely informative. All the major breweries around the world come together and AGREE on everything in this manual. Please take some time to look through this as a point of reference for anything draught beer related because it will be in here.
Starting on page 47 you will see the proper procedure to cleaning and handling glassware:
Draught Beer Quality Manual
Draught Quality Manager
Saratoga Eagle Sales and Service
45 Duplainville Rd, Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866 Cell: (518) 339-1832
Office: (518) 581-7377 x852
Fax: (518) 581-7777
NYSBA link to certified line cleaners