Construction, Space and Layout

When bringing your self-pour concept to life, there are several things to consider when conceptualizing your space, layout, and design. Before you can start any construction, you must have a detailed plan and a solid design concept ready.

Research the market you’re trying to reach to get a better understanding of how your future customers think and what their needs and desires are. Once you conduct market research, you should look at your future self-pour establishment through the customer’s eye. Where will your customers enter? What will they see first? What should they see from behind the windows? What should the atmosphere feel like?

These are all important factors to consider when designing your space and layout. Remember that you can easily make changes to your concept while it’s in the design phase. However, once you start construction, you don’t want to make too many changes that will affect your budget. 

Below we’ll discuss different systems for your self-pour setup as well as factors to take into consideration when designing the space for your self-pour setup. 

Draft System

Our recommendation is to opt for direct draw rather than long draw if your space allows it. The type of draft system you have is usually dependent on your location, but a direct draw system (tap handles coming out of the cooler wall) is ideal if you can do it. However, a long draw system (where the lines run from the cooler to the tap wall) works well too.  

Long Draw Draft System

A long draw draft system will require a Glycol Chilling system, which keeps the beer at the proper temperature along its journey. Keep in mind that glycol is not cheap, thus if you want to keep the cost of your draft system to a minimum and give the least room for any error, we recommend you go with direct draw. 

Direct Draw Draft System

With a direct draw draft system, you may still want to opt for a small glycol system since there is a 4-6” gap between the cooler wall and the tap that could warm the beer if it is sitting for a while, which is not ideal. However, the amount you spend on glycol with a direct draw system will be very little compared to a long draw system.

Flow Controls

Flow meters needed for your self-pour set up (solenoid valve and flow meter) are placed into the beer lines in the cooler near the kegs.

Flow meters are going to be installed by your draft system company.

Foam on Beer Detectors

Foam on beer (FOB) detectors are important for the draft system, so when a keg is empty it doesn’t blow foam on the customer. For some reason, they don’t really like that.

Just like flow meters, FOBs will be installed by your draft system partner.

Trigger Taps

As most customers don’t know how to properly pour a beer, they often pour a full glass of foam. Trigger Taps eliminate this user-error. Since trigger taps are either on or off, they cannot be slowly opened by timid customers (which is what causes foam). 

Trigger taps will make your customers feel like they’re a bartender who’s been pouring beer for years! They’ll want to keep pouring, which will bring increased sales to you. PourMyBeer strongly recommends ordering trigger taps from your draft installation partner as they will really make the self-pour experience much more fun for your patrons. 

How do trigger taps work in action? 

Space & Layout

The space you’ll need for your walk-in cooler is about 2.5 square feet per tap. This is assuming that most of the kegs are half barrels, you have the one connected and a backup, and everything is on the floor. The reality is that kegs are different sizes and can be stacked or put on shelves, so the 2.5 square feet is an outside estimate.

PourMyBeer Tip: You want to avoid having a cooler that is too small to hold your bigger kegs. We have had PMB family members make this mistake, requiring them to buy smaller kegs, which tend to bring in less profits to their pockets than big kegs would (especially when these beverages are fast sellers).

The Space Around Your Beverage Wall

Self-pour beverage walls are space-efficient and often integrate into walls allowing you to optimize your space. Make sure to take into consideration that you might have customers tasting a variety of beverages, and thus, you will need some extra space between your beverage wall and the tables. This extra space surrounding your beverage wall will keep your customers safe and allow them to maintain proper social distancing. 

Here are some other factors to take into consideration when creating your self-pour setup:

  1. You’ll need a little more than one foot per screen to have them spaced out properly (13” on center between screens).
  2. Allow for at least six feet of space in front of the taps to allow people to socially distance and peruse what is on tap.
  3. Have a few displays above the wall showing what is on tap so guests can review before approaching the taps.
  4. Build shelving either below, above, or on the sides of the tap walls for glassware. Some beers are better in glasses rather than pint glasses, so you may want to have some smaller tasting glasses for customers who want to sample a variety of drinks.

If you have any questions regarding the construction, layout, and spacing of your self-pour setup, don’t hesitate to contact us below. We are here to help with all of your self-pour needs! 

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