We have a decision to make in the next couple of weeks on how to hold and cool our kegs. We’re planning on offering 6-8 craft brews from tap, and then back them up with bottles of the “regular” stuff. The location we’re coming in to has no draft service currently and I’m exploring all options.
The one style of service I’d like to have some experienced opinion on is using a “glycol chiller” system. I’ve located a couple that can be purchased relatively correctly, and from what I’m reading one chiller unit can service nearly as many keg lines as you opt to run through it. It all “sounds” too good to be true, b/c it would save purchasing additional walk in space for kegs or purchasing a couple three keg coolers with service towers.
Anyone have any real world experience with a glycol chiller?
Just a question… How much volume do you anticipate doing since you are planning on 6-8 different kegs going at any given time. As I do not know how large your restaurant is… I am hoping you have a 150+ seat operation with a bar. That seems like alot of beer to have sitting around going old if it is not selling. As far as what type of set-up to go with. If you can justify the volume and have the capacity…talk to your local distributor and most will install and maintain the complete system for you. You might have to invest into a small part of the system, but if they see the potential volume, they will make back their investment on keg sales. So I guess I would say…spend their money first if you can and go from there. Good luck.
I use a regular Keg cooler for our 6 handle drafts… i would highly suggust NOT doing all 6 Crafts. You will at LEAST need 2 regular movers, i.e. Miller Light/Coors Light/Bud/Bud light/MGD
like i said, i have 6 handles, Only 3 are Craft. and only 15% of draft sales are from the Craft
Good points, we will have the seating for 120-130, I sincerely appreciate your comments on numbers of kegs live at any one time btw, the Pub side of this adventure is totally new to me. Putting at least a few of the macro-ish brews up on the handles too is not a bad idea I’m sure as far as profits go.
What I am really curious about is the chiller system I am reading about. I’m thinking if this is as great as I read…why does anyone bother with anything else?
I always thought glycol systems were meant for refrigerating the beer lines going from the keg to the tap. Some restaurants/bars keep their kegs a long distance from the taps so keeping the lines chilled is necessary. Is this not the purpose of a glycol system?
That is true…you have a trunk line that is made up of a recirculating glycol cooling line and then individual supply lines for each of your other beverage items. Most systems are for runs of 50’ average but they can run for 500’ or more if done correctly. It is just a way to keep you beverage chilled “in transit” not really to be used as the primary cooling system. I think the first couple of beers would be cold but then you would just be pouring warm beer and that’s not going to help sales. You are still going to need a keg cooler or a space in your walk-in for the kegs. With seating for 120 or so…have you thought about just going with a keg cooler base that has a built-in tap? You could get one that has room for 4 kegs and offer 2 regulars like bud and bud light or miller and miller lite…which ever is the preference around there…and a couple of crafts to get started? Gives you a little better control of the whole process and not alot of set up to worry about. Keep extra kegs in your walk-in and if things progress you can always run lines from the walk-in to the keg cooler base and expand the taps as needed. Just another thought.
Thanks guys, I’m sure the cooler route will be what we end up with, at least till we get our legs under us. I wasn’t familiar with the chiller system at all then saw an episode of “Beer Nutz” and there were a couple of brew pubs using them. They simply had their kegs stacked in the basement “under” the bar area and the lines fed through a chiller umbilical line set up, I’m sure my local distributors will be able to set me straight.
enjoy your Monday!