The question of automated beer line cleaning systems.
R Young, August 2018
Have you ever considered changing your beer line cleaning processes in a bid to reduce wastage and save time? Recent cleaning trends have seen the introduction of several automated beer line cleaning systems. Often promoted as being a substitute for the traditional weekly manual line cleaning, these systems promise to reduce waste, save costs and maintain beer quality at the dispense taps. In reality, is it possible for automated systems to ensure that dispense quality is sustained, especially when there are a number of other variables to consider.
Draft beer quality can often be inconsistent, frequently exhibiting faults in clarity, taste or aroma. Many of these issues are immediately attributed to unclean or poorly maintained beer lines, however there are several other elements that need consideration. These include, but are not limited to, dirty nozzles, unclean couplers, poor glass cleaning equipment and cross contamination.
If we consider the nozzle at the dispense tap, a primary contender for contamination, which can be highly problematic when these removable items are not cleaned correctly. When returned to the tap, it is highly likely that infected nozzles will contaminate the dispense system. The situation is likely to be of even greater concern when considering such things as cross contamination, the environment and bar staff handling (especially after coming into contact with such things as catering equipment, money and worktops), all elements that are outside the remit of automated line cleaning systems. This is the type of thing that is often overlooked as many bar staff are inadequately trained in these aspects of beer dispensing.
The use of a hybrid cleaning system, combining technology and manual input is an alternative means of addressing some of these issues. Clear Brew UK, one of the leading independent beer line cleaning companies, have adopted this exact approach. Trained technicians use technology in the cleaning process, thus enabling them to implement a three weekly cleaning cycle and in doing so allowing the client to enjoy the similar reductions in waste and costs that automated systems promote. They also pride themselves on taking a hands-on approach in your cellar by cleaning: backboards; keg couplers; beer connections; coolers; nozzles; and identifying potential problems before they arise and most importantly talk to you about your cellar and bar! Your very own technician will arrive at your establishment, carry out their role and leave you safe in the knowledge that the beer you dispense tastes as it should do.