With beer being the UK’s most popular alcoholic drink, sales could help the hospitality industry bounce back after COVID-19. So, it’s no wonder pub and restaurant owners are seeking innovative ways to ensure this beverage is perfectly conditioned, whatever the physical challenges of their venue. Here, Phil Lacey, UK Specialty Sales Director at RWC, discusses how its pioneering innovation, John Guest PolarClean, can help improve beer and business performance.
We British love our beer. According to reports it’s the country’s most popular alcoholic tipple, with over 8 billion pints sold in 2018. Over recent years, there’s also been a real surge in interest, with craft beers and micro-breweries adding new products to the mix.
Companies House records show that since 2008, the number of businesses registered as beer manufacturers has increased almost ten-fold. Beer drinkers are also getting more demanding, with a report by AB InBev finding that 34% of customers would change venues if the beer didn’t come up to scratch.
Here lies the challenge. Quite simply, beer isn’t easy to get right. It needs conditioning in order to be kept and served at the right temperature. The equipment also demands regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent bacterial build-up, which can affect product quality and even be dangerous.
With evidence suggesting that on average, pubs waste up to 20 pints a week because of factors such as these, it’s clear there are challenges. Beer also has a finite life, as we know from the scenes of pubs throwing away beer during lockdown, with landlords suffering great losses.
Looking forward to better times
Hopefully we’ve seen the last of such events, and hospitality owners across the UK can start looking forward to better times, including a hot summer and a boom in beer sales. With so much at stake, they’ll all want to make sure their beer tastes great to keep the punters coming back. They’ll also be focussed on keeping waste down to a minimum.
However, as we know, this is easier said than done. In many cases, temperature is at the heart of the problem. If it’s too low, the result is chill haze and cloudy beer. Too warm, and excess foam can result. Both issues can affect taste and increase waste, and nobody wants either.
Of course, there’s plenty of equipment out there to tackle this problem and ensure beer is served at the correct temperature. ‘Contact cooling’ is the most common and traditional solution. Here, beer from the barrel is carried into a cooler where it is flash chilled in stainless-steel coils before making its way to the font.
This technology is widely used but isn’t always a perfect solution. It demands significant investment and lots of equipment, all of which has to be located together in one place. For venues with large cellars that’s fine, but many have crowded and limited space, while many smaller venues don’t have a cellar at all.
Additionally, the tubes transferring the beer from cooler to font aren’t insulated or cooled, and so can collect heat along the way. The longer the line or dwell time, the more significant this becomes.
Maximising taste, minimising fob
A simpler and more cost-effective solution is to follow the example of many leading breweries and invest in tube-in-tube cooling, such as John Guest’s PolarClean, a revolutionary technology to achieve great results in beer glasses – and in profit margins.
Here, the pipe that delivers the beer from keg to tap sits inside another tube, which contains coolant that circulates around the beer at temperatures specified by each brand.
As well as ensuring the right conditions, this prevents heat transfer and keeps the beer at a reliably consistent temperature to maximise taste and minimise fobbing.
As the entire length of the beer line is kept cool, the risk of microbiological activity is significantly reduced while carbonation control is improved and product waste minimised.
Importantly, unlike contact cooling equipment which has a large footprint and requires very specific configuration – typically in one location – PolarClean is self-contained and allows much greater flexibility.
It can be installed in tight spaces, at a fraction of the cost, and without actually needing a cold cellar or secondary cooler at all. Delivering extra cold beer direct from the keg coupler to font, it’s an efficient and cost-effective solution for any venue, including smaller bars, cafes and restaurants.
Making life easier
Like many pioneering ideas, PolarClean originated from a very different technology. Part of the RWC family of brands, John Guest was established in 1961 and would go on to invent the push-fit concept in the 1970s to create easy, reliable leak-free seals for compressed air systems. Before long, the same core technology was adapted to make life easier across other industries, including hospitality.
As a result, PolarClean’s ease of installation and efficiency of service build upon John Guest’s original Speedfit push-fit concept, while adding the additional benefits of the innovative tube-in-tube technology that this specific solution is recognised for.
This means it can be easily installed and maintained without specialist tools, while maintaining the right temperature for each beverage dispensed via the system throughout. And finding such improved ways of doing things is part of John Guest’s DNA.
When it was first introduced in the 2000s, PolarClean was a revolutionary concept in the hospitality trade, and it remains just as unique and innovative today. As well as serving a great pint to keep people coming back, it delivers more revenue per keg – a vital consideration in these competitive and cost-conscious times.
Backed up with rigorous quality testing and expert technical service and support, PolarClean can add real value to an industry that’s in need of a little extra cheer right now.