Logistics and handling letting brewers down: Publican

No more than 10 per cent of draught beer is cold when it arrives at one of Australia’s leading craft beer venues, whose owner has called for greater education on the impact of logistics, handling and service on beer quality.

The Grain Store Craft Beer Cafe in Newcastle has invested a lot of money in a huge coolroom that will soon be further expanded so it can accommodate a total of 200 kegs, owner Corey Crooks told the recent Brews News Q&A in Melbourne.

“Anything that someone’s made the effort to get to our door cold, will stay cold,” he said.

“But to put a figure on it, I’d say less than ten per cent of the beer that turns up to our place is refrigerated.”

Crooks said brewers are often under the impression that their beer has been transported cold, only for the supply chain to break down on the final leg of the journey from Sydney to Newcastle.

“It could have been on the back of a truck on a 38 degree day,” he said.

“There’s certainly a market out there for someone to grab hold of – refrigerated logistics specialising in craft beer – because it’s something we witness daily.

“I might have a bit of a reputation of turning some beer away, but if it’s not fit to serve, we won’t serve it,” said Crooks.

He believes that many quality issues associated with beer when it arrives at the venue can be attributed to a failure to ensure cold transportation.

“Being a food product, we’ve had some issues with certain beers at different times, some of them are beers that are well-accredited,” he said.

“But I’d struggle to try and remember a time that we’ve had an issue with a beer that’s arrived cold. I suppose that answers how important it is.”

Venues should know better
And the fifth generation publican said the new breed of bar owners that have entered the industry often do not understand the importance of ensuring beer stays cold when it arrives at their venues.

“I cringe when I see kegs sitting behind bars… these venues should know better,” he said.

“They probably do know better. I think it’s time that probably a bit more pressure goes on to setting some better standards,” he said.

He said inadequate cleaning practices are also an issue, with bar owners cleaning their lines but neglecting keg couplers and taps.

“Half the time it could be the brewers that cop the earbashing about their beers tasting like shit, but… it’s not their fault.

“If you’re choosing to come into this industry… then do things right. I wouldn’t go and set up a 3D printing company that I know nothing about, just by going to buy the printer,” said Crooks.

Episode 91 of Radio Brews News, covering the issue of Draught Quality, is available to download here.

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