From brewers expanding their portfolios with brews from around the world to a growing desire among consumers to broaden their repertoires, packaged products appear to be enjoying a particularly buoyant period.
But for operators looking to get a slice of the bottled beer action, it seems it takes more than just stocking a broad range.
Ensuring packaged products are visible to customers at the bar and serving the brews at the optimum temperature are key if licensees are to boost sales.
That’s the message from suppliers of back-bar refrigeration equipment, who say premium bottled beers should be seen and served cold.
John Lilly, marketing director of True UK, said it’s important bottle coolers look the part too.
“Back-bar bottle coolers are essential for chilling, storing and displaying the range of international beers and lagers now on the market,” he said.
“Increasingly, back-bar design is integrated into the whole concept to present a seamless look throughout the entire operation, pleasing to the eye and user-friendly to both staff and customers.
“True Refrigeration has a range of cost-effective back-bar refrigeration units, including glass door merchandisers, bottle coolers and direct draw beer dispensers.
“All True’s back-bar refrigeration is tailored for energy saving.
“The merchandisers and bottle coolers have a double pane thermal glass door with extruded aluminium frames for effective insulation.
“The doors are self-closing with a positive seal torsion-type closure system that ensures no energy is wasted by them being accidentally left open.”
Energy efficiency is also high on the agenda at Lec Commercial (see story left).
The supplier advised operators to consider the size and capacity of back-bar fridge they require – as well as the footfall their outlet attracts and the resulting equipment use.
“Whilst cost is obviously an important factor, it is key that the purchaser understands that the product with the ‘cheapest’ initial cost isn’t always the most effective solution when it comes to running costs, for example,” said Jon Usher, marketing manager at Lec Commercial.
“Some refrigerant systems work far more effectively than others to keep running costs low and almost all Lec Commercial bottle coolers and catering fridges and freezers use the most energy efficient R600a refrigerant.
“The savvier operator will think longer term and do their sums, selecting a unit that costs less long-term by using less energy.
“The Lec EfficienC range is perfectly-suited for those operators wishing to purchase a ‘good value’ back-bar cooler, as the higher initial outlay is quickly recouped through reduced tax burden and lower running costs.”
Conceding there is no typical ‘shelf life’ for refrigeration equipment, Usher said licensees can help prolong the life-span of back-bar fridges by following a simple cleaning and maintenance routine.
“Basic steps, like cleaning correctly, not overloading and purchasing a unit with self-closing doors can all help ensure that units don’t break before they should,” he added.
“A user should also choose carefully when purchasing a unit and select one with a good manufacturer’s warranty for peace of mind.”
Refrigeration buying tips
• Buy British – after-sales support, servicing and spare parts will be reliable; and the carbon footprint for transport will be smaller.
• Buy ‘green’ – for the planet and because regulations in this area are going to get tighter.
• Buy stainless steel – it will last longer and is easier to clean.
• Buy a fridge on castors – it’s easier to move to clean behind and beneath.
• Compare prices – go for fridges with top quality specs then shop around.
Source: Precision Refrigeration