Monday, June 12, 2017

Draft maintenance the focus of new North Texas company

Image credit: Texas Draft Services.

For many breweries, there was once a time when a single person served in the capacity of owner, brewer, salesperson and delivery driver all in one. Today, though, there's a call for more specialized services as breweries expand and the number of accounts they service continues to grow. It's seen with distribution, but also in the realm of things like on- and off-premise sampling events. It's the natural order of things, as breweries look to free up employees to focus more of their time on the production of quality beer.

That's one reason why David Herrera created Texas Draft Services, the area's first full-service draft maintenance business. Yet, while his firm's work helps lighten the load for brewers, it's just one aspect of the company's overall mission.

"Draft maintenance plays a vital role in the on-premise beer scene, and many accounts are not fully educated on the importance of clean beer lines," says Herrera. "At Texas Draft Services, we hope to provide a reliable, quality control solution, but we also want to help educate the North Texas market on the finer points of proper draft maintenance."

It's a subject that needs to be addressed, Herrera believes, based on things has seen in his time working for Andrews Distributing and, more recently, Full Clip Craft Distributors.

"True line cleanings are not being done in today's market," explains Herrera."What I mean by that is faucets are not being broken down during each cleaning, the right amount of caustic is not being used, and those doing the work are not giving the cleaning solution enough time to do its job. Procedures are being rushed without enough attention to detail."

Even worse, some accounts are literally pouring profits down the drain, something Herrera's refers to as the "true cost" of what might otherwise be advertised as a free line cleaning.

"Instead of running water to clear out the cleaning solution, many people will use beer to flush the lines," says Herrera. "Not only does this waste beer and cut potential profits for the account, there's also no guarantee that the cleaning solution has been cleared from the line. Using water and checking its PH level before and after cleanings is a better option, and one that would save lost beer and profits."

The need for company like Texas Draft Services is all the more compelling if you consider the fact that no oversight exists in the State of Texas as to how line cleanings should be done. It's a surprising revelation, when you consider how active (or overactive, depending on your point of view) a certain regulatory agency is in policing other facets of the industry .

"In many states, there are legal requirements related to draft beer maintenance and who is responsible for it," says Herrera. "An example is Ohio, where establishments must go through a third party to have their draft systems maintained. In Texas, though, there are no regulations and anyone can perform a cleaning."

Recognizing this lack of direction at the state level, Herrera and his team work from a set of best practices derived from the Brewers Association Draught Beer Quality Manual. It's a guide that sets industry standards for the operation and maintenance of draft systems, such that operators can achieve maximum dividends from their investment in serving technology.

Of course, as Herrera is quick to point out, providing consumers a quality craft beer experience is equally important.

"We honestly want to make the Metroplex a better place when it comes to on-premise consumption," says Herrera. "That's something that will help small brewers as well, especially if we're talking about a customer's first impression of a beer or brewery. If we can make sure every beer tastes the way it should, then we've given that product a chance to be the beer of choice for a particular consumer."

More information on Texas Draft Services, including further discussion of the issues mentioned above, can be found on the company's website at In addition, those interested in delving into the dollars and cents side of things can click here to view a presentation produced by the Brewers Association entitled "Economics of Draft Quality."

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