Commercial draft beer equipment refers to the systems and components used to serve and dispense draft beer in bars, restaurants, pubs, and other commercial establishments. This equipment allows establishments to store kegs of beer and tap them while maintaining proper carbonation and chilled temperatures for serving high quality draft beer.
Commercial Draft Beer Equipment Guide
The main types of commercial draft beer dispensing equipment include:
- Beer towers – Freestanding stacked draft towers holding multiple kegs
- Walk-in coolers – Large refrigerated rooms to store kegs
- Glycol chiller systems – External cooling systems to keep beer lines cold
- Draft towers – Wall-mounted towers to mount beer taps
- Beer taps and faucets – Devices to dispense beer from kegs
- Beer lines and fixtures – Tubing to deliver beer from kegs to faucets
- CO2 (carbon dioxide) systems – CO2 cylinder rigs to pressurize kegs
- Cleaning equipment – CIP (clean-in-place) systems, brushes, caustic solution
Equipment Design and Customization
Commercial draft systems can be customized to fit the needs of any size establishment:
|2 to 100+ beer taps to match demand
|Tower height, walk-in dimensions, other equipment footprint
|Freestanding towers, wall-mounted towers, back bar integration, portable beer carts/trailers
|Beer line length
|Up to 200 ft from keg room to bar
|Logos, custom tap handles, branded tower shrouds
Experienced commercial draft contractors can survey a site and design full systems to meet precise requirements.
Top Equipment Suppliers and Pricing
Reputable draft system manufacturers offer a full range of towers, taps, chillers, cooling, plumbing, cleaning and CO2 equipment. Budgets can range tremendously based on the scale of the project.
|$2,000 – $100,000+
|$5,000 – $150,000+
|$10,000 – $500,000+
|$5,000 – $250,000+
Pricing depends on system size, customization, brand and features. Get quotes from multiple vendors.
Installation, Operation and Maintenance
Proper installation, use and cleaning of commercial draft equipment is critical:
|Performed by trained draft contractor/plumber. All lines must be cleaned, tested for leaks, chilled, balanced.
|Taps must be poured correctly to maintain carbonation. Monitor CO2 pressure and chilling temperature.
|Weekly: Lines must be flushed with cleaners. Faucets detail cleaned. Filters changed.
Monthly: Entire system deep cleaned. Lines and fixtures sanitized chemically.
Neglecting cleaning schedules leads to fouled beer lines, improper pours and health hazards. Partner with trained provider for ongoing maintenance.
How to Choose the Right Contractor
Factors to evaluate commercial draft system contractors on:
|5+ years designing and installing draft systems with references
|Full range of towers, taps, chillers from multiple brands
|Design services, fabrication shop, variety of finishes/features
|Maintenance contracts, cleaning, 24/7 support
|Licensed, bonded and insured in jurisdiction
Vet several contractors thoroughly and compare project quotes before selecting.
Advantages of Commercial Draft Systems
Commercial draft beer systems have many benefits versus bottles/cans:
- Freshness – Beer stored cold and tapped on demand
- Profitability – Higher profit margins on draft
- Variety – Ability to offer many brands on tap
- Presentation – Visual appeal of pouring and branded tap handles
- Portion Control – Adjustable taps dispense exact pour sizes
- Experience – Theater of watching bartenders pour from taps
- Quality – Proper systems maintain carbonation and chill
Potential Drawbacks to Consider
- Upfront Cost – Draft systems require major upfront investment
- Space Needs – Walk-ins and 25+ ft tower height may not fit smaller sites
- Cleaning – Labor intensive line cleaning regimen is essential
- Maintenance – Requires cleaning contracts and parts/service budgets
- Training – Staff need proper draft pouring and tower handling training
- Safety – Pressurized gas, acids and moving parts can cause injuries if mishandled
Be sure to account for total costs, space and operational needs when budgeting.
|How many taps do I need?
|Plan for 2x expected peak volume. Allow for future expansion. Have more capacity than lines to rotate product.
|What temperature should beer lines be kept at?
|28-42°F depending on style. Glycol cooling systems recommended.
|How often do draft lines need cleaning?
|Weekly light cleaning of faucets and tap lines. Monthly full system cleaning and line/part replacement.
|What are draft towers made out of?
|Powder coated stainless steel and aluminum. Wood and stone finishes optional.
|Can I buy used draft equipment?
|Not recommended. Previously damaged lines or tap components can spoil beer.