Craft brewing is just that: a craft. Opening a brewery requires passion, hard work, and beer that people love and can’t wait to come back for.
But to ensure that every pint is as perfect as the one that spurred your business initially, there’s a lot of consistency and process that you need to have in place. With the help of your brewery POS system, here’s how you can ensure superb product quality for every thirsty guest who walks through your door.
Back Of House: Standardized Cleaning, Software, & Accurate Reporting
There’s a lot of work that goes into a beer before it meets the lips of your satisfied guest. And it all starts in the back of house!
Clean Kegs + Standard Processes = Tasty Beer
Believe it or not, the perfect pint starts before you even lay a finger on any hops, grains, or yeast. It starts with the big ol’ tank you put it in!
Kegs must be pristinely clean and in tip-top shape before you put any of your masterful brew in it. This involves considering what was in the keg prior, ensuring there’s no residue or scents from previous brews, as well as ensuring all of the valves and seals are working properly. You don’t want your flavors tainted nor your pour affected from dirty and faulty equipment!
Besides relying on your five senses to ensure a keg’s cleanliness, it’s imperative that you put the necessary processes in place. SOPs are standard operating procedure documents that clearly outline processes step-by-step, and they’re highly recommended for all brewery BOH staff. Laying out standard procedures for how to clean a keg and check all of its bells and whistles is what will ensure every keg is perfect every time.
With every keg clean and checked the same way, your processes ensure that every pint tastes the same every time. That means a guest that fell in love with your Saison last summer will be thrilled to knock back another few when they make the trip to your brewery the following year! Using SOPs and other standardization processes also makes training easier for new hires, because they have physical documentation to refer to.
Production Software That Works With Your Brewery POS System
Because your brewery is handling goods for consumption, it’s a good idea to use a production software system that works with your brewery POS system. Softwares like this offer several advantages:
- Beverage safety: You can track the freshness of your brews with organized batch numbers. This is helpful for inventory management purposes, maintaining a production schedule, and, knock on wood, if there was ever a recall, you know the exact keg to pull off the tap.
- Tracking ingredients: Brewing is a science, and requires the appropriate amount of every ingredient to be available when you need it in the back of house. Being able to track exactly what you have on hand and what you should forecast for helps you price your pints to maximize profits, too.
- Aging profiles: When does your beer taste the best, and how long is it good for? This is great information to have for each of your unique brews, because they all will vary.
Using a production software with your brewery POS system helps ensure that you’re serving up the best pint every time.
Rely On Reporting
You can tell if customers like your stuff by the smile on their face. But in the back of the house, a much more efficient and accurate way is with DATA!
Thanks to the robust reporting tools of your brewery POS system, you have clear insights into what beers are being ordered the most, and which ones may not be your customers’ cup of tea.
For example, an ounce-level tracking tool can tell you where every drop of beer is going, thanks to the best brewery POS systems. If you’re selling a bunch of Porter pints but only tasters of the Sour, perhaps your consumer base prefers more malty brews and less pucker! This informs what you should brew more of, and what kind of new brew should be on the horizon.
Reports from your brewery POS system can also tell you about keg turn rates. You can track what you’re brewing, what sizes of kegs you’re using, and how long it takes to kick, all in one comprehensive online data dashboard. Data like this inherently helps your brewing business grow: Should you expand a product line or install more draft lines? If you’re making beer that’s flying off the tap, make more of it!
By being organized, efficient, and data-driven in the BOH, you ensure that every visiting guest has the beer they want available to them, and it’s at peak freshness!
Front Of House: Atmosphere, Community, Service, & Perfect Pours
Now for the customer-facing elements that go into ensuring superb product quality!
Taproom Ambience Matters
First impressions count. And if guests walk into a space that’s welcoming, unique, and, for my Millenial comrades, oozing with good vibes, then they’re already enjoying themselves before they even order.
And this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need an Instagrammable backdrop or a playlist from the Hot 100. Creating a fun, comfortable atmosphere for your guests is all about leaning into what makes your brewery special and a place that people can’t wait to come back to and tell their friends about.
Here are some examples of brewery friends that are making their taproom experience memorable and unique:
- Heliotrope Brewery isn’t afraid to rock out to some ‘90s shoegaze dream pop in their Lexington taproom.
- The first thing you see when you walk in the Lady Justice taproom is a mural of badass womxn that continue to inspire the all-female owners and their customers.
- Beers aren’t the only thing handmade at Montclair Brewery. Using donated wood and paint, Montclair’s owners built their own furniture, giving the taproom its homey, heartfelt aura.
From music, to decor, to the very chairs your guests sit in, you have ample opportunities to tell part of your brewery’s story from the very second a guest comes in the door. Use them!
Being Involved In The Community
Another impression you make on customers before they have a chance to taste your beer is how involved your brewery is with the surrounding community. Being integrated with the people and other businesses around you is not only good for building a positive reputation in your neighborhood, it also inherently establishes your product as high quality.
Here are some ways your business can build and encourage community with the help of your brewery POS system:
- Collaborate: Is there an awesome empanada spot next door? Throw a collaboration event with them, where you supply the brews and they cover the grub. Their customers become yours, and vice versa!
- Charitable Events: Doing good is core to the craft community. Getting involved in charitable causes, or throwing an event yourself, is a great way to establish your business’s values and support the people you serve. (Your brewery POS system can help with handy features like donation at checkout!)
- Loyalty Programs: Supported by your brewery POS system, programs that incentivize and reward your biggest fans not only solidifies them as lifelong customers, it also creates FOMO for other guests and builds your brand!
- Support: Put your own dollars where your Shop Local mouth is! Visit the new bottle shop across town, shake the owner’s hand, and personally invite them to your taproom.
You know you’re going to wow people with your product once they have the chance to try it. These are all great ways to establish yourself in the community and get them in the door!
Knowledgeable, Friendly Service
Time for your FOH staff to shine! We don’t have to tell you that your staff should be greeting and dazzling guests, because we know they already are. Especially with a savvy brewery POS system, your service superheroes are equipped with all the tools they need to take orders efficiently and deliver them quickly.
Here’s something that your staff may not be doing that makes all the difference when it comes to ensuring superb product quality: educating guests. Staff telling guests not only about the beers themselves, but also about your brand’s story, is a surefire way to engage them. Encourage staff to tell guests where you started and what makes your brewery unique—it could be a story they retell to their friends at home!
Perhaps you have a table with some beer-curious, or even beer-shy, guests. A few quick questions about what flavors they like or what they typically imbibe can help staff make good recommendations, and will likely keep the table around for longer. Plus, who doesn’t love introducing a soon-to-be-superfan to their first DIPA?!
(Psssst! If you’re thinking “My staff doesn’t have time to storytell in our bustling taproom!” you may be using the wrong brewery POS system. Tools like QR code ordering are offered by the best brewery POS systems and save your staff time on tedious admin tasks, so they can schmooze with guests instead!)
Pouring The Perfect Pint
Alright, it’s about time we finally talk beer. Your BOH staff has completed all of the necessary processes on the backend, your FOH staff has created a warm, special atmosphere in the taproom, and your trusty brewery POS system has been there every step of the way. Now to pour the pint!
This may be eye roll-inducing to a seasoned brewing pro like yourself, but this kind of information is the stuff that gets skipped in training and makes all the difference to the quality of your pint. Make sure that every staff pouring in your taproom knows the following:
- Check the temperature of the keg you’re tapping from. It should be nice ‘n cold. Always.
- Pull from the bottom of the tap handle instead of the top.
- Make sure your draft lines are balanced if carbonation levels appear wonky. Pouring and dumping beer just to get the right amount of foam doesn’t make staff look very professional, and it also causes an unnecessary loss of your precious beer.
- Lastly, pour at a 45 degree angle! Not all of us were a part of Greek life in college, so this may not be as obvious as you think to newtime servers.
Aaaand voilà! From start to finish, you’ve ensured the perfect pint. Now serve it up with a smile!
Big thanks to Andrea Bullard from KegID by Hillebrand, Jon Humerick from Solace Brewing Company, and Ian Purcell from BarTrack for all of their incredible industry knowledge and helpful tips for ensuring superb product quality with the help of your brewery POS system. If you’d prefer this information in video format, please check out How to Ensure Superb Product Quality from Arryved POS’s Dream Taproom Webinar Series.