Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2019

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116 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2019 market spotlight owner Chris Panagakis. "This will allow us to have a sizable number of guest drafts, while increasing our in-house offerings." In this five-barrel brewery, beer stays on tap for about six weeks, which allows for seasonal offerings and popular brews to return. The operation touts more than 600 different draft beers being offered since its opening in April 2015. "We were one of the first brew pubs to keep taps rotating in our area," says Panagakis, who hires out his tap line cleaning every other week as required by the state. Container Conundrums Cans or bottles? Growlers or Crowlers? Container prefer- ences in the brew pub segment continue to evolve. "Half the size of growlers, the 32-ounce cans called crowlers have been around forever," says Simpson. These containers also are more portable than growlers, as the sealed cans can be used to transport the brews more easily and off the premises. Cary Ale House, located by the town's commuter train station, has plans to incorporate crowlers into its operation for riders. "We're hoping to incorporate a crowler machine, as many would prefer this method over a 64-ounce growler," says Panagakis. "We don't have growlers with our name, but we do fill these. If someone brings in a clean growler, they can purchase 64 ounces of the house draft." Forbidden Root started out offering both glass and metal growlers and added crowlers to its offering last summer. "Most growlers aren't filled quickly using the expensive counter-pressure filler that we have, which is Austrian tech- nology," says Finkel. "For us, a slight majority of our con- sumers seem to prefer crowlers." Due to the easier transport, many contend the industry is moving from bottles back to cans. Since Forbidden Root switched from bottling to canning its brews, there has been a bump in revenue. "The costs were negligible, and this is where the market is now," says Finkel. "The oxygenation levels are tighter and better in cans. We made the migration from bottles to cans, and that's the clear direction that most of craft beer is going. It is clearly the preferred choice by most craft beer drinkers who like the portability. Both formats allow for high-quality fills, but cans are perceived as higher quality by Millennials and these containers also provide an opportunity to express our brand visually." Edmund's Oast offers growlers and crowlers in its ad- jacent retail store, rather than the restaurant. "In the brew pub/restaurant, we have a guest tap list that accompanies our house-brewed taps, but we don't have a ton of room for guest bottles or cans," says Plyler. "We have a three-door cooler that sits underneath the beer taps and drip trays that houses a modest-size bottle selection." By volume and due to space limitations, Cary Ale House has more bottles stocked than cans, but both sell well. "We feel the quality is the same, but our draft sales are highest," says Panagakis. "We try to keep a sour available at all times and lighter offer- ings, like pilsners, along with dark beer, IPAs and higher alcohol content beer." Roll Out the Barrels? Though large stainless steel tanks often provide a visual rep- resentation craft beer, brewers and brew pub industries have recently latched onto a storing method long used by vintners and distillers — barrel aging. Fortunately, this segment is not contending with the same restrictions as spirits. For example, whiskey designated as "straight bourbon" must be aged for a minimum of two years in new American white oak barrels, according to U.S. law. Because these barrels can only be used once, this is a big expense for a bourbon distillery. Generally, it's the beers with higher alcohol content that age best in barrels. The amount of time depends on the brew. For bourbon and wood notes, the recommended aging time is one to two months, while floral and deep vanilla notes require six to 12 months of barrel aging. Like with wine and spirits, the wood influences the beer's flavor and aroma. Almost any type of wood can be used, including oak, cedar, chestnut, cypress, pine and ash. "There has been more barrel-aged beer at brew pubs, but mainly with larger brewers due to the space required," says Simpson. Still, it appears this beer-storing method is not yet wide- spread amongst brew pubs. Edmund's Oast has barrels on the bar, but one holds whiskey and the other houses a digestif; both are for sale. Rather than beer aging barrels, Forbidden Root may add draft wine lines in the near future. "Part of our ethos is trying to figure out how to be kinder to the environment," says Finkel. "While a draft wine system is an upfront additional cost, we would save lots on packag- ing costs and minimize waste. In parallel, part of what allows us to be philanthropic is making a fair profit, as well. Over time, all that waste adds up, and we believe it will be a good long-term investment." FE&S Like many brew pubs, Cary Ale House set up shop in a more afford- able, off-the-beaten- path location.

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