For bar and restaurant owners, serving delicious-tasting draft beer is a commitment to your customers, and proper beer line cleaning can be the difference between a good customer experience and a bad one. While regular line cleaning may seem like a hassle or just another expense, dirty lines can create a host of cleanliness issues for your business. Bacteria or mold growth, skunky beer and other problems arise from dirty lines and can lead to upset customers or worse, a reputation for bad beer.
At Stuever & Sons, the quality of draft beer systems is our highest priority for our customers. Although line cleaning is another chore for your business, it should not be viewed as an expense, but rather an investment. The return on investment (ROI) you can receive from proper line cleaning is much greater than any expense you may save from skipping it, and skipping line cleaning can end up costing you greatly in the end. In this blog, we’ll look at just how cost-effective and profitable line cleaning actually is, and explore how investing in proper beer line cleaning can be a game-changer.
Why Line Cleaning is an Investment, Not an Expense
Industry Standards and Guidelines
According to the Brewers Association Draft Beer Quality Manual, draft beer systems, regardless of size or complexity, should be cleaned every two weeks. This standard was established by master brewers and technical experts to ensure that beer is served as intended by the brewer. Keep in mind that local regulations for line cleaning do differ, and it’s important to check with your beer line cleaner to determine the required frequency of cleanings for your system.
The reason behind regular cleaning lies in what happens when lines are not regularly cleaned. Over time, if left dirty, contaminants like mold, yeast or flaky bits of beer stone can infect your beer from the lines, creating a sour, skunk-like taste and usually a foul odor. No customer wants that after a long day, and continually serving beer from dirty lines can result in profit losses.
Some business owners may skip a few cleanings because they fear the beer lost during the line cleaning process. Fortunately, the cost of beer lost during cleaning can be precisely calculated by adding up the service-related expenses, including time, labor and materials, and comparing this to the amount of beer lost. For most businesses, the cost of cleaning services ends up being much less than wasted beer from dirty lines. If customers continually ask for a different draft beer, or go for a bottled brew instead, this could be an indicator that your beer has been contaminated and that you are missing out on the ROI from your draft beer.
In the next section, we’ll cover how this investment in cleaning pales in comparison to the cost of missing cleanings.
The Real Cost of Skipping Beer Line Cleaning
Some bar or restaurant owners may decide to reduce the frequency of line cleanings to save a bit of cash on the front end. While you may have a few extra dollars at first, this decision leads to the proliferation of beer spoilers like bacteria, yeast, and molds, resulting in off-flavors. The consequences? Loss of revenue, dissatisfied customers and a decline in profitable draft beer sales.
Customer Reactions to Bad Beer
Customers faced with off-flavors in lighter beers may choose to stop drinking, complain for a refund or exchange, switch to bottled or canned beer or even decide to drink elsewhere. The financial impact of losing just a few pint sales outweighs the cost of proper line cleaning for most businesses, emphasizing the tangible ROI with proper, regular beer line cleaning.
The Payoff of Proper Commercial Beer Line Cleaning
We probably sound like a broken record at this point in regard to the terrors that dirty beer lines can cause. So, what are the benefits of regular cleaning and maintenance? You’ll see that the benefits far outweigh the risks of missing a few cleanings.
Regular Cleaning Prevents Skunky Beer and Promotes Happy Customers
Proper cleaning eliminates the four usual suspects behind skunked beer: yeast, mold, bacteria and beer stone. Regular cleaning dissolves proteins, hop resins, biofilms and more, ensuring a fresh and crisp draft beer experience.
Best Practices for Effective Cleaning
We recommend establishing proper beer system maintenance, using effective cleaning chemicals, flushing lines before cleaning and thorough rinsing after cleaning. These practices contribute to the longevity of your beer lines and the quality of your draft beer, preventing contamination and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Invest in Success with Stuever & Sons
For bar and restaurant owners, the ROI from beer line cleaning is not just about dollars and cents; it’s about maintaining a stellar reputation, ensuring customer satisfaction and securing long-term success. By following industry standards and adopting best practices, you can elevate your business’ draft beer service, driving profits and fostering customer loyalty.
Is your business in need of professional beer line cleaning or maintenance services? Stuever & Sons can help. We are draft system experts, and our service technicians understand how to properly clean your beer lines to ensure great-tasting, high-quality draft beer at every pour. If you’re interested in Stuever’s line cleaning services or looking for other dispensing solutions, give us a call. We can’t wait to help you rake in more profits with top-notch equipment and optimal cleaning procedures.