Setting Up Your self-pour Beverage Wall

Now that you’ve decided to proceed with the magic of self-pour tech, one of your biggest questions is probably: How exactly should I set up my beverage wall? This is one of the most important things you will want to tackle as you plan the layout and structure of your new location. With several considerations ranging from spacing and visibility to sections, there can be a lot to keep track of. Lucky for you, we’ve gathered some great ideas to help you sort through it all, so your self-pour beverage wall will be executed to perfection, increase profits and drive a positive return-on-investment for your bar or restaurant.

With many projects under our belt, we have seen a variety of build-outs, from self-pour tech in a train car, at a venue track, mobile units, to our favorite and most popular, the self-pour beverage wall. Using insights from our 270+ and 7,000+ taps worldwide, we’ve crafted the following guide of Do’s and Don’ts when implementing beverage walls in your business to help you get set up the right way!

Download the guide below!

Although starting with a great location in a neighborhood where your desired market is will ensure you get a good amount of foot traffic to your business, a proper self-pour setup will increase word of mouth and discoverability. You should keep these main categories in mind when it comes to planning your self-pour wall layout:

In this guide, we’ll give you all the info you need for each of these points! And if you need quick inspiration, feel free to take a sneak peek at our installation gallery or check out the video below! 

What could your beverage wall look like?

Where to Locate the Beverage Wall

Where to locate the wall will be one of the first parts of the planning process for your self-pour establishment. While this will largely depend on the structure of your venue space, you will want to make sure the beverage wall is as prominent as of feature in your establishment as possible. Self-pour is fun, new, and interesting, so you should make it a central highlight rather than an ancillary feature.

Generally speaking, there are a few good location guidelines to try and hit with your beverage wall. While you won’t be able to check all of these at once, you should plan to have your beverage wall meet as many of these as you can (within reason):

    • Near Windows – Try and make your beverage wall as visible as possible to people walking outside as a way to entice them to check your place out!
  • Front of the Establishment – It’s a generally good practice to place the beverage wall at the front of your business, to show it as a primary feature. 
  • Multiple Floors/Spots (if available) – If you have multiple options for the placement, consider splitting your self-pour set up across the different areas to maximize the opportunity of beverage sales while ensuring no one in your place stays thirsty.

PourMyBeer Tip: We have seen great success with some of our customers that have their main beverage wall located upfront for more visibility. Also, adding just 10 or so more taps in the back of your business in the gaming room, pool room, arcade, etc. This might be the right call to boost your beverage sales even more.

  • Outside Beer Gardens (if available) – It’s never a bad idea to use your outdoor space if you have it, as it will allow your customers to spread out and enjoy some self-pour fun in the fresh air.

PourMyBeer Tip: This is of course not possible in every climate, but we have seen some customers in California and other warmer climates having great success with it! Just make sure you have a great draft line system installer to ensure your beer temperature is on point.

  • Near Check-In Stations – This is a good idea to make your customer flow as efficient and easy as possible. You want your customers to be able to step inside, check-in, and get to the beverage wall relatively quickly, without having to travel too far. 

Finally, you should consider setting up your beverage wall in a way where you can replenish glasses from behind it; this way your staff won’t have to get in the middle of customers as they restock. We have customers that replenish their glasses from below, such as Flourish in Oak Park or Tapster in Chicago. Check out the examples below.

Visibility

So you just got (or are getting) this awesome new toy to show off and bring more customers in. Now what? First you will need to ensure that your community knows about it and can see the taps and touch screens when passing by. The beverage wall should be the first thing a person sees when they walk into your establishment. Better yet, it should be visible through the windows so the random passersby can see your self-pour setup and even see your customers having fun with it. This will not only make passersby curious but also tempted to come and experience it for themselves.

Don’t put the self-pour wall somewhere isolated in a way that makes it invisible to customers. You would be missing out on a significant opportunity for visibility that can be very valuable.

Space

Make sure that you keep ample space between the tap wall and restaurant seating. Leave plenty of space for customers to taste and serve themselves while giving way for folks dining-in. There should be enough space so people can browse around freely without creating tight crowds that make it hard for other customers or staff to get by. The extra space by the wall should allow your customers to hang out for a bit while sampling a couple of beverages before going back to pour their full drink from the wall. 

Part of achieving this will come down to exactly where you place your seating. If you have mobile tables and chairs only, this will be easy and more flexible as you can move things around as needed. However, if there is any bolted/permanent seating such as booths, you will need to be careful in terms of planning the wall. Be sure to draw or use software to map out your floorplan. 

The plan should account for the size of the beverage wall and the desired space in front for customers to walk around.

Choosing the exact placement of the beverage wall at your specific venue will also be important. You want to ensure that neither end of the wall is too close to any sharp corners that will make it difficult for guests to access drinks on the ends. We also recommend placing the beverage wall against one of the shorter sides of a rectangular room, thereby giving you more space to spread out seating across the length of the room.

PourMyBeer Tip: You can also consider having a few bar top tables or big kegs which customers can utilize as temporary tables while they are tasting and sampling their self-pour beverages. 

Access to Glasses

Ensuring that customers have quick and easy access to glasses will be an important part of the planning process for your beverage wall. As this is integral to the setup of the wall itself, you should have an exact idea of how this will look before you start the build-out process with contractors and the PourMyBeer team. 

The best (and perhaps, only) way to do this, that we recommend, is to have a glass rack: a proper shelving station to house glasses. You can build this directly below the taps, off to the side, or even directly above the taps. Having glasses directly above or below the wall would likely require an integrated design into the beverage wall. Some customers who choose the side option have their own, separated shelves. Both are perfectly viable options, but make sure that any separate shelves that you use are sturdy, heavy, and easy to clean. 

In any case, the most important consideration is to make sure you avoid forcing customers to walk through any crowds to get glasses. Grabbing a glass to start the self-pour experience should be just as easy as enjoying self-pour itself!

PourMyBeer Tip: Try to make the position of your beverage wall such that you can replenish the glasses from either the back to make it the easiest for your crew. You want to avoid forcing staff to walk through crowds of customers with glassware. Take at our example from Flourish below.

Easy Set Up For Replenishing Glasses
Add New Glasses by Pulling Up the Rope

Untappd Menu Display

To go along with any self-pour beverage wall, we strongly recommend placing two large TV screens above your beverage wall, tapped into an Untappd feed, to show which beers are currently available on tap and which craft beers are coming soon. Once you plan the location and the size of your TVs, your PourMyBeer team can help you get the Untappd-PourMyBeer realtime feed to show up for your customers. Taking advantage of PourMyBeer and Untappd’s integration is something we always recommend to get the most out of your beverage wall.

Also, PourMyBeer’s software has an administrative feature for the operators, which can use the Untappd database to upload new beers onto your beverage wall. Taste notes and ABV will appear on PourMyBeer screens.

Listen below to hear how PourMyBeer’s integration with Untappd is helping Tapster increase sales and provide benefits to both the operator and customer! 

Name or Differentiate Beverage Sections

One of the first decisions you will make regarding your beverage wall is exactly how many taps and screens you will have to offer. The right number of taps depends on the space you have available and how many different beverage selections you plan to offer – these can range from craft beer, wine, and cocktails, to kombucha, cold-pressed coffee, and more. No matter what you’re offering, it’s always good to have a great blend of domestic creations as well as local craft ones. 

To give your beverage wall more personality and make things easier and more efficient for your customers, we recommend planning your beverage wall to be split into sections and adding signage to indicate them to customers. This can go a long way in making your customers’ self-pour journeys easier and more enjoyable, and it can be a great way to make things more approachable for self-pour first-timers.

You can have as many or as few sections as your beverage wall accommodates; they don’t need to be larger than 2 or 3 screens each. For example, if you’re offering a variety of beer, you can differentiate the styles with section signage: IPAs, Pilsners, Ales, Sours, Stouts, Lagers, and Ciders.

This Example Of Beverage Sections Is From Hop Thief, WA

Recently, we’ve seen a rising trend with cocktails on tap. Several operators using PourMyBeer self-serve taps to pour cocktails have seen great success. Noah, the GM and Executive Chef at Beasts & Brews, discusses their success after putting a margarita on tap, and how it quickly became their new bestseller! 

Spacing and Numbering Taps

In addition to thinking about all of your beverage offerings and how you can section them, you will also need to plan spacing between screens, which will depend on how many taps per screen you will be offering. 

Here are the general guidelines that we recommend for this: 

  • For a single screen/single tap portrait setup, you’ll need 7 inches from center screen to center screen and a total of 18ft, minimum, of wall space. 
  • For a 2 tap per screen, landscape setup, you’ll need 13 inches from center screen to center screen and a total of 16ft, minimum, of wall space.
  • For a 3 tap per screen, landscape setup, you’ll need 14 inches from center screen to center screen and a total of 13ft, minimum, of wall space. 

Once the beverage wall is set up, we also highly recommend numbering each tap. This makes it easier to identify which drinks are at which taps, and for customers, this can eliminate reasons to stand around the wall, which will speed things up as they enjoy the self-pour experience. For operators, the increased efficiency that comes with numbered taps will make maintenance much quicker, and the numbers even allow them to keep track of which taps (and their corresponding kegs) need to be maintained.

At Tapster, The Number of Taps Can be Visible Directly on Tap Handles

ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is a very important law that sets several standards requiring businesses to be accessible to customers with disabilities. Being ADA compliant is not something explicitly required for businesses of all kinds, but it is nonetheless always a good practice to have in place. 

It is a great way to ensure that all customers feel welcome at your establishment; you can even use it as a part of your marketing to reassure people that everyone is welcome.

For this reason, we recommend making sure your self-pour business is always ADA compliant. We’ve got a great rundown on which aspects of your draft beer system you will need to measure and adjust to maintain ADA compliance, which you can check out right here.

signage

Signage for your self-pour business will have two primary purposes and will be very important in both cases. The first purpose is to inform. You will want to place signs at critical locations of your venue to make sure customers are immediately aware of where they should go and what they should do. Self-pour will be a first-time experience for many, and signage can be a great way to make sure that they aren’t overwhelmed or confused. Place signs at the entrance to tell them to check-in with staff and get their RFID cards. At the beverage wall, place signage indicating the step-by-step process of how to use PourMyBeer technology, as well as the best method when doing so.

Also, consider playing videos around your wall like the two shown below. By having videos like these playing around your beverage wall, you will be more likely to grab customer’s eyes while easily explaining the process. 

Play this video next to your beverage wall to show customers exactly how self-pour works with this step-by-step tutorial! Not only will it help those self-pour first-timers but it’ll also add a great visual element to your wall!

And when adding signage to your wall, even if staff members don’t manage to communicate with every customer, there is still a salient place for them to look to clear up any confusion.

The second purpose of signage is to market. Signs of this purpose are more likely to be placed outside your establishment (unlike informative signs), but they are useful indoors as well. Place signs outdoors that grab attention, with messages stating how easy and fun self-pour is. Inside, you can place similar signs, but also ones that give customers reasons to return. Advertise loyalty programs, special events, or even popular/staff picks from the beverage wall.

For ideas and examples of good PourMyBeer signage we encourage you to use, check out the page below.

For other signage inspiration, visit our 79 Clever & Funny Bar Signs to Promote Your Restaurant

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful. Soon you’ll be on your way to building a gorgeous, unique, and innovative self-pour beverage wall! We can’t wait to see what you come up with. As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out. 

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