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July 22, 2020

The Perfect Commercial Draft Beer System Set-Up

Craft beer sales account for $29.3 billion of our nation's $116 billion beer industry. A commercial draft beer system allows breweries, taphouses, and casinos to provide quality beers.

 A quality draft beer setup's enough reason for folks to return to an establishment. Having a quality draft beer system keeps you competitive with other beer serving businesses. While offering customers a great experience.

 Read on to see how a draft beer system can make your business stand out.

 Draft Beer System Benefits

Goodlife Brewing Pint of Beer

 Craft beer's exactly that—a craft. Having the right temperature, level of carbonation, and restriction set up in the system will make beer pour perfectly.

 The good news is that great draft beer systems can do that.

 Before you decide on a draft beer system, consider the following things:

  • How many taps do you want? 
  • What draft system fits your property best (Direct Draw, Remote and Air Cooled) ? 
  • Are there special types of beers you’ll be serving, such as  Guinness? 
  • Dispense beer Hundreds of feet away from the beer cooler 
  • Commercial draft beer systems are a smart investment in your business.

Number of Taps

 Before choosing how many taps you want, consider the benefits of less versus more. Then look at how many taps can you support?

 To answer this question you will need to look at the size of your beer cooler.

 Hypothetically, let's say you are interested in 20 taps. The cooler will need to fit 20 kegs and have room for back-up kegs. Another key is there needs to be enough room to roll in new and cashed kegs too.

 If the cooler is tightly packed removing and adding kegs can be a nightmare. Trust me.

Types of Commercial Draft Systems

 There are three kinds of draft systems: remote system, air-cooled, and direct draw.

Diagram of remote beer system and parts
Image showing a direct draw beer system
Diagram showing an Air Cooled Beer System

 Each system varies in how far away the beer cooler lives from the draft beer tower. These systems also have their own pros and cons as well.

 The remote system can pour beer great distances away from the beer cooler.

 Direct-Draw are like under-counter kegerators or wall mount systems you would find at a growler station.

 Air-cooled aren’t used as much as the previous two, but are a hybrid of both.

 A direct draw—or kegerator—has refrigeration below the tap.

 Remote systems deliver beer through chilled lines and are common in bigger facilities, restaurants, and breweries. Usually these properties will have one main beer cooler or a few and need to send beer to different bars on property.

 Consider your space and the role beer plays on property. This will help determine which system is best for you.


Are There Special Types of Beers Pouring Like Guinness?

 If your establishment is pouring ales and lagers carry on.

 Yet, if your beer system includes Guinness or nitrogenated products. Additional dispensing equipment like a gas blender, or Nitrogen Generator will be needed. Guinness is poured with mixed gas.

 It’s a mixture of Nitrogen and C02. For Nitro beers, a proper mix of 70 percent Nitrogen to 30 percent C02 is ideal for Nitros, draft wines, and coffee.

Picture of Nitrogenated Coffee


Dispense Beer Hundreds of Feet Away

 This answer will determine which system is best for your establishment. If you can serve beers off of a walk-in cooler with a direct draw system I would recommend that.

 However, if beer needs to be poured at another or other locations other than where your kegs are a remote beer system is best .

 These systems can pour draft beer hundreds of feet away.

 I’ve personally installed beer systems pouring beer over 600 feet away and worked on one approaching almost 800 feet.

Picture of a custom beer tower


Commercial Draft Beer Systems Are Worth The Investment.

 This is one of the biggest points to get across to customers. Beer systems are an investment for their businesses. You don’t want the cheapest beer system out there. You want the best that’s right for you.

 Trust me, it’s not worth finding the cheapest guy to put in your system, because it can cost you dearly if the system is set up wrong.

 I personally saw this happen and was on the other end of an install where I helped redo some work of a bad  install. The point is to take the time to set up a commercial draft system with the help of an expert and do it right.

 Yes, it will cost some money, but it’s an investment and a revenue-generating stream for your business.

 I never understand how commercial companies spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on bar tops or light fixtures to create the right mood. Then look like a deer in headlights when told the price of a professional beer system...in the long run will make them plenty of money.

 Still trying to wrap my head around that one.


System Maintenance

 Cleanliness is a must for all establishments, but even more so for those serving beer. A fermented product's more likely to create bacteria, especially when it's run through lines...beer is that.

 To avoid bacteria, resin, yeast, and other customer health hazards, it's best to clean your lines every 2 weeks. Caustic solutions flush residual particles and prevent beer gone bad.

 Acid solutions are added every 3-4 months on top of the caustic cleanings to ensure a clean beer system.

Picture of a Cleaning Keg
Picture of a re-circulating pump


Beer Me!

 Nothing's worse than having a keg kick mid-pour. To avoid turning down customer requests, get to know your kegs! The following tips can help you pour your best beer.

  • Know how much beer's in a keg to keep tabs on your taps
  • Test the gas pressure 
  • Check the temperature of your cooler and beer routinely
  • Get feedback from customers 
  • Uphold cleanliness

 Enjoy serving great tasting beer to your customers. The best draft beer systems come from taking care of them.


Delight in Draft Beer

 If your customers order draft beer, they have an expectation. Commercial draft beer systems ensure quality beer and a quality drinking experience.

Picture of People saying cheers with beer

 Plus, nothing sports being cool like pouring from draft beer system. Make draft beer your best business decision yet.

Contact us today for any more questions regarding commercial draft beer systems. For more information dispensing beer and beer products check out my blog here. Lastly, for recommended products approved by a draft beer professional check out the link.


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About the author

I've been a draft beer technician for over 10 years  building, designing, and installing large commercial beer systems. Through the years I've worked on breweries, tap houses, casinos and stadiums around the country.

I enjoy sharing my passion for draft beer dispensing by talking about it, recommending dispensing equipment I've used in commercial installs, or private settings. 


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  1. Hey man, I really appreciate your insight and knowledge. A buddy and I are thinking about buying out a bar, and we both agree that it needs a draft beer repertoire of good, local craft beers. Being a beer snob, and been a few places in the western world, I have an affinity for good beer, and appreciate good beer dispensers. Haven’t understood why a local spot that has good local beer doesn’t have a good draft system that’s maintained well. I enjoyed your insight, and if we move forward with our idea, sure may hit you up. We’re down in West Texas, and most draft systems suck out here, and not knowing anything about draft systems, I’ve been trying to figure out that angle. Who can we get to help install and manage an exceptional draft beer system? You inspire us. So until next time, thank you.

    ~Brandon McMorries

  2. Feel free to give me a call anytime Brandon. We can talk about systems and set up. I don’t have recommendations in your neck of the woods, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. My phone 541-639-6838


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