Manager says ‘giant octopus’ reduces cleaning time and improves beer quality
WHEN McSorleys in Edinburgh was refurbished early in the year, it wasn’t just the pub building that benefited from the investment.
The live music bar’s cellar also had a revamp and a Heineken Smart Dispense system was installed.
David Doherty, who manages McSorleys – one of three outlets I@G Events leases from Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, said it has helped increase the quality of the pub’s draught beer and cider and ensured a consistent standard of pint.
I’m used to the traditional way of changing kegs and cleaning lines and this is far superior.
Doherty described the quality of drinks delivered by the bespoke cellar system as “clean, fresh and crisp”.
“Customers comment on the quality of their beer and cider all the time –unprompted,” he said.
“At first we had seasoned drinkers saying it is the best pint they have ever had. We explained about the new system and word has spread, so now we have people coming in actually asking about it.
“You can’t buy word of mouth recommendations like that.”
In a busy venue that regularly holds 100 people and serves around 27 beer and cider kegs a week, product wastage also has to be considered.
Before the installation of the system, lines had to be cleaned every seven to nine days. Now, they only require cleaning every four weeks, which Doherty said saves time, energy and money.
“I’m used to the traditional way of changing kegs and cleaning lines and this is far superior,” he said.
“It looks like a giant green octopus, but it’s the simplest thing in the world.
“It is much easier to use as you don’t have to mess around so much and maintenance is easy. It’s so simple – it’s a case of plug and play.”
Foster’s lager, Caledonian Three Hop, Strongbow Dark Fruit cider and Symonds cider are all served through the Heineken Smart Dispense system, which maintains drinks at a consistent temperature.
Customers comment on the quality of their beer and cider all the time.
The cellar system works by chilling the beer when it leaves the keg, which Heineken said cuts energy use because the product doesn’t have to be cooled constantly.
It claims the system can save the average pub around 12,000 pints of water and £2300 of wasted beer every year.
Doherty said: “We go through a power of product here and with the system we are able to save vast amounts of time, but even more important is the dramatic saving in wastage as it produces next to no wastage.”
Formerly William McEwans Alehouse, the Star Pubs & Bars venue reopened earlier in the year as McSorleys after a £155,000 refurbishment.
Six months after opening, trade is said to be up 30% and growing, which the team reckons is partly down to the Smart Dispense system.
Doherty, who previously worked for Edinburgh operator Montpeliers, said customers are demanding higher standards when it comes to drinks.
“If customer satisfaction is at the core of your values then offering the best product available is essential,” he added.
“The only way to do that as far as I am concerned is to go with the Smart Dispense system.”