It’s great to see the rise and rise of pubs with a great variety of tap beer. I’m a big fan of tap beer, on the assumption it is fresher than the bottled stuff.
But the combination of good variety and freshness can cancel itself out. More taps means a slower average turnover, which means less freshness. This led me to do some back-of-the-coaster number crunching…
Let’s assume draught beer is best consumed within two weeks of tapping the keg. A pub with 40 kegs on tap must sell 40 x 50 litres in two weeks to keep that minimum turnover. That works out to a minimum of 1000 litres per week, or 2000 pints per week.
But of course, the entire range of 40 draft beers is not going to sell at the same rate. So let’s make another assumption: 20% of those taps account for 80% of turnover. So the remaining 80% of the taps (=32 taps in a 40-tap bar) account for 20% of turnover – and should be selling out within two weeks.
So, (32 taps x 50 litres)/2 weeks = 800 litres per week accounting for 20% of sales. That indicates total weekly sales of 4000 litres. That’s about 8000 pints per week, or more than 1000 pints per day, every day, all week.
Now I know I’ve made many assumptions in these sums, and they inevitably affect the conclusions.
First, smaller kegs would reduce the minimum turnover needed.
Secondly, the 80/20 rule might not apply, especially if staff have the confidence and beer knowledge to encourage drinkers to try something different.
Third, brewers may well expect a faster turnover – if you assume a keg should last a week, then double the figures above.
Fourth, don’t assume the beer is stored in a cool room. Some bar systems flash-chill the beer while it pours, and kegs are stored at (summer) room temperatures. I don’t know how long that beer can be expected to stay good enough to sell.
So question the figures, add your own assumptions, and let me know what you come up with. But either way, there’s an argument to be made for a small-but-perfectly formed craft beer range – provided, of course, you have what I want when I want it (and a surprise or two).
© Martin Craig, October 2011. Reproduction with permission.