What Drinks Can Be Served On Draft?

More than ever, guests are seeking out bars and restaurants that focus on the customer experience and offer different alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Since 2015, the low- and non-alcoholic beverage industry has grown by 506%, and it’s clear that this trend is here to stay. By offering more craft cocktails, low-ABV beverages, and non-alcoholic drinks, you reach varying clientele, increasing beverage sales, and customer satisfaction.

When serving craft cocktails, having your bartenders and waitstaff create cocktails and pour glasses of wine or other drinks can become time-consuming and unorganized.

By kegging different kinds of drinks, restaurants and other businesses can save time and money without giving up quality, all while creating a unique experience for guests.

Although some prefer the art of the bartender making a cocktail (think Tom Cruise in the 1988 movie “Cocktail”), many appreciate the timeliness of self-pour more. Draft drinks can help bartenders during busy times, save operators on labor costs, and increase the consistency and quality of beverages served.

As a sharp operator, you can depend on self-pour technology to increase efficiency and profits while allowing guests to sit back, relax, and keep a drink in hand!

If you’re curious about how to execute various beverages on tap, check out our webinar on How to Execute Different Drinks on Tap. We spoke with two industry experts who dive into how to keg cocktails, and they even provide recipes as well as tips & tricks when adding draft drinks to your operations.

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Drinks that can be served on draft

  • Wine, offers numerous benefits that you might not think about when kegged.
  • Cocktails, especially popular ones that your establishment serves on a regular basis. Fun fact: Margaritas are the top-sold beverage on tap at many of PourMyBeer locations.
  • Kombucha, a drink that started as a novelty, is now a standard for health food devotees.
  • Cold-brew, which is more flavorful and less acidic than hot brewed coffee.

Creating draft drinks is a craft, a work of art if you will. It is not as easy as finding a popular cocktail recipe. You must multiply all the ingredients and tweak the recipe to serve 100 people. There are key practices that will allow your business to serve delicious drinks on draft, which we will explore below. No matter what type of establishment you own, now is the time to make the move towards draft drinks!

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“PourMyBeer enabled us to open a taproom with world class cutting edge technology to bring a new way to enjoy beer, wine, cider, kombucha, sake, coffee or any liquid to Chicagoans. Couldn’t be a better company to work with!”

Wine on Tap

For many people who have never had wine on tap, their first thought is usually, “Is this anything like boxed wine?” Boxed wine, a staple of college parties and office celebrations, particularly during the ’80s and ’90s, has left many people with unpleasant memories. It was low-quality wine served in an untraditional way.

We are happy to tell you that wine on draft could not be more different from the boxed wine flavor and experience. Restaurants that serve wine on tap will receive deliveries of kegs filled with wine instead of dozens, maybe even hundreds, of bottles of wine. Wine kegs for bars contain 26.6 bottles of wine or about 120 glasses. This is the same wine used for bottled products, only stored in a keg instead of a bottle. Once the keg gets to the restaurant, it is stored in a cool environment until tapped.

 

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Benefits of Kegged Wine

  • Taste: Good wine is good wine regardless of how you store it. You can’t make bad wine taste better by storing it in a bottle. Quality wineries are increasingly storing as much of their wine in kegs as possible. Storing wine in kegs avoids overheating and oxidization. It also helps the wine to keep its proper flavor. That’s because the wine never touches the air until it is served. It is also less affected by variations in temperatures. When you serve wine on tap, you won’t serve your customers wine from half-empty bottles or bottles that have been stored improperly.
  • Efficiency & Environmental Impact: There are two ways that draft wine is more efficient and environmentally friendly than the traditional bottle. Let’s say a restaurant serves 100 wine kegs in a year. A keg contains about 26 bottles. Those 26 bottles include 39 pounds of packaging waste, including the boxes they came in, corks, and foil wrapping, not to mention the bottles themselves. Using kegs means less cleanup, less mess, and more benefit for the environment. It is also efficient because you only serve the wine when needed. When a customer wants to have a sample of wine to see if they want more, it is much easier to serve.
  • Cost: In most cases, you can recover the costs of installing a wine on tap system within six months. It can cost significantly less to serve a quality glass of wine on tap than from a bottle. Not only are you saving money, which means you can also buy a better quality of wine, but you can also pass some of the savings on to your customers, which helps ensure repeat business.

best cocktails on tap

Currently, draft cocktails are found most often in cities where customers prefer craft cocktails. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t put cocktails on draft in your establishment regardless of where you are located. For instance, if you are known for a cocktail, and your bartenders serve that multiple times during a busy night, preparing a batch of pre-made cocktails can make your bartenders more efficient. Your customers will wait less time for their drink, and you will save money, leading to you serving more of the cocktail.

Listen below to hear what Beasts & Brews’ best-selling beverage on draft is (hint: it’s a cocktail)! 

Common cocktails that can be served on draft

You can use any combination with our cocktails on tap system, but the drinks with pieces of fruit or pulp in them need to be strained, otherwise, they will get clogged in the flow meter and the draft line.

Why serve cocktails on Tap?

Some of the benefits of serving cocktails on tap include:

  • More consistency to the cocktails.
  • Bartenders can serve many drinks faster than making each one individually.
  • Cost savings on packaging and storage.
  • Easier for a customer to try a sample of a cocktail.
  • Creates a unique experience for your patrons.

Other Things to Keep in Mind When Serving Mixed drinks on Tap

If you want to serve fresh, enticing draft cocktails, rather than ones that come out slushy and bad tasting, follow these guidelines:

  • Strain the juices: This may be the most important factor in making sure that the cocktails you serve on draft remain in great condition. If you serve a cocktail that contains fruit juices, strain the mixtures before storing them in a keg. A daiquiri, for instance, may include lime juice or grapefruit juice, so you’ll need to remove the pulp. If you do not, the pulp will settle at the bottom of the keg, and the drinks poured when the keg opens will taste different than those poured toward the end of the keg.
  • Shake the keg: This goes along with the previous step. Mixed cocktails can separate, so it’s important to shake the keg every day before you begin serving drinks. That way, if anything has settled toward the bottom, it will be redistributed more evenly.
  • Perfect the recipe for a cocktail before you put it in the keg: Take your time and make sure you get the recipe correct. You’re not serving one drink at a time but instead preparing a recipe for a large number of people. Remember that about 1/5 of every cocktail is actually water that comes from the ice or the way the cocktail is prepared. So in order to keg your cocktails you’ll need add ⅕ of water to nail the taste and consistency. This process may be tedious and take a few times but it is well worth it for you and your customers in the long run!
  • Keep the lines clean: It’s very important to use the proper equipment when serving cocktails on draft. You want to use lines that don’t add taste to the drink and won’t corrode over time because of the sugar or fruit that may be in the drink. It’s extremely important to keep your lines as clean as possible, so regular maintenance is a must.
  • Pay attention to temperature and ingredients: Most drinks on draft are stored and served at a temperature of 34°F. This is why a drink like a martini, which is typically served at 29°F, does not do well on draft. It’s also why a Negroni is perfect to put on draft because it is made from fridge-temperature vermouth and room-temperature spirits.

NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS

Kombucha on Draft

For a long time, you could only find kombucha in hipster cafés as a unique beverage. Now, you’re just as likely to see it on your supermarket shelf. Kombucha sales have skyrocketed in the last few years and are only on the upward trend! The kombucha market is predicted to grow by $2,380 million by 2032. Cafés, grocery stores, bars, health and fitness gyms, and even restaurants are eager to offer their customers kombucha.

Kombucha relies very much on the same kind of draft technology you can use for wine, as we noted above, or for beer. When you keep your kombucha in a keg, you receive similar benefits as you do with things like wine or cocktails. There is much less packaging than you get with bottles, and it takes much less time to serve.

It’s also easier for you to offer small samples to customers who have never tried kombucha before but have heard about it and want to give it a taste. Not to mention that it is great to offer non-alcoholic options for kids or those who opt out of alcoholic beverages at your establishment.

If you want to serve kombucha on tap, you have a couple of options. Smaller facilities like grocery stores or health and fitness studios can use a self-pour station, which is a simple and affordable option.

If you do a high volume of business in beverage sales of kombucha, or you need to store your kegs in coolers not connected to taps, you’ll want to get a more complex system. With a long draw system, you’ll need cooling lines to ensure kombucha temperature is maintained until served. You’ll also want to use a kind of tubing made of harder plastic that is more resistant to flavor stain.

Kombucha needs to be stored at a different temperature than cocktails on draft. You want to keep those kegs at 38°F. If the temperature gets above 40°, you will have problems with foaming when you serve it from the tap.

Cold Brew on Tap

Kegged cold brew coffee can save so much time and hassle. When you brew yourself a pot of coffee in the morning, it’s pretty simple. You set the coffee machine to “on,” and you make only what you need. That may work at home, but if you run a restaurant or a café, having your staff constantly tasked with brewing a new pot of coffee is time-consuming and keeps customers waiting.

A more efficient approach is to cold brew your coffee and then keep that on tap. Cold-brew coffee takes a little longer to prepare — 12 to 24 hours — than hot-brewed coffee but offers numerous benefits. First, cold brew coffee is almost 70% less acidic than brewed coffee. If you find it hard to drink hot brewed coffee in the morning because it upsets your stomach, cold-brew coffee is the answer.

PourMyBeer self-pour in office space

Cold-brew coffee also maintains its taste and flavor over a greater period, sometimes as long as three weeks. We all know what happens to brewed coffee if it’s left to sit in the cup. It gets stale after a day. However, the chemistry of cold brew coffee doesn’t change as it cools. It’s prepared at room temperature, so the flavor profile you get with cold brew coffee when you’re prepping it doesn’t change since the temperature doesn’t change.

Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee on Draft

  • Freshness: Once you’ve prepared the cold brew coffee and put it into a keg, its contact with air is restricted, slowing down the oxygenation process that changes the flavor of the coffee. This is part of the reason draft cold brew coffee can last up to three weeks.
  • Efficiency: By now, it’s obvious that regardless of the kind of drink served on tap, you can do it more efficiently than the traditional method. When you put cold brew in a keg, it allows you to serve large numbers of people more quickly and with less hassle. Kegged coffee is also much more space efficient than traditional brewing methods.
  • Nitro Cold-Brew: While not for everybody, you can nitro cold brew draft coffee. This is a unique style of cold-brewed coffee that is infused with nitrogen that creates a smooth and creamy texture. Nitrogen also adds a slight sweetness to drinks which works well with the bitterness of coffee. 

Don’t forget to share this post with others in your network so they can take advantage of the benefits of draft drinks as well!

Let US Give You More Great Ideas About Serving Drinks on Draft!

Interested in the idea of offering a variety of drinks on draft? We’re here to help serve draft drinks to your patrons in a more efficient way! Contact us today to learn more about our self-serve tap walls, or request a free quote for your business so that you can start embracing the benefits of self-pour. 

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