Food & Wine Thursdays and The Mystery of Too Many Taps

You’ve been there before, right? You’re excited. You see row after row of shiny beer taps topped with handles ranging from the simply informative to the downright whimsical. The beer world is at your feet. You can order whatever your little heart desires! And you do.

“Sorry, we’re out of that.”

No problem. That happens. Must’ve been popular that night. You move down to number two on your list. Hey, you were going to have that one next anyway.

“Sorry, we’re out of that.”

Huh. Bad luck I guess. Number three.

“Our of that too.”

Alright, now it’s getting annoying. Finally, at number 5 or 6 on your list you finally get a beer you kinda want. You settle in to your chair. You sip. It’s skunked.

Simply put, in the craft beer gold rush of the early Twenty-Teens, bars are installing too many fucking taps.

And, really, do you need more than 12 taps, even if you’re a really big bar? I don’t think so. When you have more taps, you lose track of your beer. Sometimes, a beer isn’t so popular and it just sits there for weeks. Months. When you finally pour a pint, it tastes old and stale. If you have 30 taps, but a quarter of them are out and another quarter are skunked you’re not doing your bar or your customers any favors.

(Of course there’s also the added costs of storage and staff to support all of those kegs moving in and out. )

Hopefully with beer programs we’ll see that same trend we saw with wine lists–moving away from massive leather-bound tomes in favor of smaller, more versatile, and ever-changing wine lists. The goal is to encourage exploration, not to always have something for everyone.

About ten taps, give or take, should be able to facilitate the representation of a broad range of styles and breweries. You can devote half your taps to popular favorites and staples and the other half to introducing new beers and pouring special kegs and one-offs.

I’m sure there are some bars and taprooms that are very on top of their 50 tap beer program just as there are restaurant which maintain an excellent 500-bottle wine program, but they are, in short, few and far between.

What are your thoughts on massive and mis-run beer tap progams?

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About David D.

I'm a wine professional. Like a real one who makes most of his living in wine and have for most of my adult life. I also write, but you can see that.
This entry was posted in Beer & Meat, Wine & Cheese and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Food & Wine Thursdays and The Mystery of Too Many Taps

  1. Erik says:

    I can’t imagine what inspired this article…

    No, wait, I can.

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