If I told you there is a piece of equipment that would make your life easier, make you more profit and save waste and energy would you bite my hand off? I think so. Add to the fact that 100% of the licensees who have put it in would recommend it, and you can see why Heineken are excited about the response from the trade to its SmartDispense System. They claim that it is a draught dispense system that will save you money on every pint. To identify your SmartDispense potential, Heineken has a team of dispense specialist who can calculate the your bars savings, as well as identify the potential of greater sales we know a great quality pint can bring.
I first heard about it on a trip to Amsterdam a few years ago, and the first licensee I came across who had put it in was Iain Pert who had just re-opened McSorleys in Edinburgh a Star Pubs and Bars pub. At the time he told me “It’s so easy and it is saving on wastage.”
Roll on three years, and the system has been steadily installed in bars and pubs across the country. But what makes this different from other cellar equipment?
Well it is innovative because it can be installed even Into the smallest cellars and the cellars don’t even need to be chilled.’
SmartDispense Integral provides cooler, kegs, beer tube and tap in one system. This helps with regard to infection. Previously the three key areas that were exposed – the keg couplers, cellar buoys and fount nozzles, were notorious for quality issues, but not now as it is all integrated.
In traditional cellar case study, Heineken identified that cellar cooling and standard dispense systems are less than 10% efficient in actually cooling beer and cider liquid. To improve this SmartDispense has better insulation and coolers which are 20% more efficient than a standard cellar cooling system and the SmartDispense coolers also have a significantly lowerglobal warming potential than the industry standard.
Licensees love the fact that they don’t have to clean their lines every week. The SmartDispense System reduces the need to clean your lines from weekly to to 4-weekly and this is carried out by a service technician, saving your time, water, cleaning chemicals and of course beer!
The SmartDispense range includes integral, under bar and module (max). The module (max) version can be installed on the wall or on the ceiling. Its flexibility means that it is scaleable for even the largest bars and pubs, and can also be utilised in restaurants which perhaps don’t have a beer cellar.
John Gemmell, Heineken’s Trading Director for the North and Scotland explains, “There has been no real innovation in dispense systems for decades, which is perhaps why licensees are so pleased with it. Not only do they get higher throughput per tap, reduced wastage and cost, but confidence in their offering, a better consumer experience and this in turn leads to repeat purchase and higher sales.”
He continues, “Research that we did with licensees who had the system in for three months showed that 100% were happy with the system and 89% highlighted the benefits which included consistently great quality cider and beer; a hassle free easy to operate dispense solution for staff; wastage reduction; cooler cider and beer temperatures. He concluded, “But don’t take my word for it. Just ask some of our customers.” So we did just that.
First up was Allan McGhie, Group Bar Manager at Costley & Costley, the Ayrshire-based hotel and Inn business which includes Lochgreen House Hotel, Brig o’ Doon, Highgrove House Hotel and the Cochrane Inn. He told DRAM, “We’ve had the SmartDispense system installed in five of our venues since August, and we noticed a difference in the quality and consistency that were offering our customers right away.
“Before I signed up with Heineken I was getting a lot of sales pitches from brewers but Heineken did shine through. Basically Heineken offered as a deal we couldn’t’ refuse. The added benefit was SmartDispense which clinched it for us. The Heineken Dispense Specialist came out and visited me, and he took me around a lot of sites that already had SmartDispense, clearly explained the setup and showed me how to look after the product. He also made sure
I understood everything. Six weeks later I signed up with Heineken and the SmartDispense and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
He explains, “For example take Lochgreen, due to the size of the venue we installed all three variations of SmartDispense – the Integral, under bar and module (max) systems, one in each bar, and of course they all work at different levels. We put the Module (Max) into our Function Bar because it can easily pour 100 pints per hour, all of which are perfect quality. The temperature of the delivered pint is between 2-3 degrees, and there is never any spillage.”
He continues, “We haven’t worked out the precise savings, but it is pretty obvious we are saving on energy. However the increase in sales is very noticeable. The fact that our customers were now willing to order a second pint was immediately noticeable and the number that do this continues to rise.
“I like the fact that it’s not just Heineken that we can offer through it, but we can also pour Amstel and Caledonian 80/- too.
Allan concludes, “As Group Bar Manager it has given me complete peace of mind with regard to hygiene and cleanliness. I know the lines are being cleaned every 4-weeks to a high standard.
Heineken have been very on the ball with regard to checking in with us. I am pretty certain that it is going to pour the perfect pint all year round in all sorts of different conditions. At the Lochgreen, especially in the function bar, we weren’t pouring the best pint. So this has made the world of difference to our sales, as customers continue to praise the quality of the pint, and as a result they buy more beer. Result.”
Another happy Heineken customer is Chris Aitken, owner of Cape in Stirling. He told DRAM, “There are a whole load of inaccuracies in the traditional method of line cleaning and there is a lot of opportunities to get it wrong. Everybody in the licensed trade strives to get the pint 100% perfect so anything at all that’s there to help you with that is great.
“I’ve had only had SmartDispense in for the last two months, but I have noticed a difference already when looking at my stock-taking and wastage. I think there will be a big financial difference within six months. The savings are obvious.
I am an independent licensee so another benefit is that it uses a lot less energy. It reduces wastage which is a another big factor when it comes to saving money. My cellar is also much more organised, which is another bonus. Heineken come and clean the lines every 4-weeks, so it is always someone very experienced that we see, and the reason it only requires to be done every 4-weeks is that it is chilling keg to tap, so there is no yeast growth.
He continues, “Already customers have been complimenting on the quality of our beer and working behind the bar I can see an obvious increase in sales. The average spend per head has increased – for instance if they had two pints before they are having four pints now. I feel that SmartDispense will help draught beer compete with spirits, which have been front of mind with consumers for the past couple of years.
I am 100% positive about it. There is nothing negative about it at all. I feel that Heineken are a step forward compared to some other brewers. If licensees get the chance to get SmartDispense I would certainly recommend it. My staff love it. It involves very little staff effort and there is a lot less human error. It is a lot harder to make a mistake when pouring a pint. In fact I have a bar in Tenerife too, and if I could install it there I would.”