Wine on tap is still relatively new in the restaurant industry, and something that sometimes earns a sideways look. There are a few misconceptions and myths about wine on tap, often stemming from a previous prejudice against its ‘relative’, boxed wine. Here, we aim to share some of the benefits of wine on tap, and how it can be fresher, greener, and more cost effective for everyone involved.
What is Wine on Tap?
Wine on tap is becoming more of a trend in restaurants across the US. Instead of receiving dozens of bottles, restaurants such as Old Town Pour House choose to receive deliveries of kegs of wine instead. Wineries will fill a keg, approximately 26.6 bottles of wine, or 120 glasses, with the same quality of wine that they use for their bottled wine, and then transport it to the restaurant. Upon receiving a keg, a restaurant will store the keg in a cool environment, similar to bottled wine, and wait until it is needed. Then, the keg is ‘tapped’ much in the same way a keg of beer is tapped.
The Benefits of Wine on Tap
Why choose wine on tap instead of bottles? Let’s break it down into three key benefits:
Good tasting wine will come down to two things: firstly, having a good quality wine. There is still a stigma lingering from a bad boxed wine experience decades ago, and sometimes people assume that wine on tap means a lesser quality wine. This is not the case at all, with more wineries making as much of their wine available on tap as possible. Secondly, the wine has to be fresh. That means it must be treated correctly to avoid over-oxidization or over-heating. Kegged wine actually makes this a lot easier, as the wine never touches air or gas until it is about to be served to a customer, and a keg is less susceptible to variations in temperature. Wine on tap eliminates bottles left sitting around already open, or being stored incorrectly.
“Most people get over the stigma really quickly once they taste the wine”, says David Gordon, co-founder of Richer Pour, a fine wine on tap purveyor.
Let’s say that a restaurant with one wine tap goes through 100 wine kegs in a year year, and we know that each keg of wine equals around 26 bottles. LYFE Kitchen estimates those 26 bottles would otherwise also involve 39 pounds of packaging waste from boxes, foil wraps, corks and labels. As you can see, even one single wine tap can start to make the process of serving wine much more efficient, even when accounting for the cost of installation and the process of distributors picking up empty kegs. Then you add in the factor that not every bottle of wine is completely used. Waste is almost 100% avoided when using a wine on tap system.
A secondary benefit of the ability to reduce waste translates into making wine more approachable, as restaurants can serve smaller tasting pours without worrying about waste, or offer a variety of carafe sizes to suite different customers’ needs.
We have already explained that a restaurant can make cost savings by being more efficient, and when combined with the fact that installation of a wine on tap system can be recouped within a year, this puts them in a strong position: it now costs far less to serve a glass of quality wine when compared to what it would be in a bottle. This benefit can then be passed on to the customer, resulting in financial savings for them and possibly a better value impression of their glass of wine.
Fresh, great tasting wine, with no waste, for a better price? Next time you see or hear about wine on tap, why not give it a try?