One Blog |September 21, 2017 | Line Cleaning Software

Tracking Draught Line Cleaning Even If Done By A Third-Party

Mark Fullerton

Why It’s Important To Digitally Track Draught Line Cleaning

Draught Line Cleaning and Tap Handle Survey SoftwareDraught beer lines, and increasingly draught wine lines, need to be cleaned on a regular basis, if for no other reason than to make sure your products taste as fresh as possible. 

The truth is that it’s more expensive not to clean your lines than it is to make sure they are cleaned consistently.

So regardless of who does the actual cleaning, it’s essential to have a system in place that allows you to accurately track and report compliance to either supplier or local health standards.

Industry Standards

The industry standard schedule for cleaning beer tap-lines is at least once every two-weeks.

Wine lines typically can be cleaned less frequently. According to several sources, wine lines require cleaning either when the wine being drawn through them changes or a maximum of 90-days, whichever comes first. 

As the number of craft beers has proliferated, and as the number of on-premise establishments continues to grow, it is safe to say there continues to be a strong and growing demand for beer or beer and wine line cleaning companies’ services

Who Does The Line Cleaning and Who’s Responsible?

In many states, distributors provide line cleaning services for their customers. 

In several states, distributors are not permitted to provide these services. In these states, distributors may choose to outsource to third-party line cleaning companies who perform the line cleaning services for the distributors’ customers. But even in states where distributors are allowed they may still use a third-party.

In some cases, retail establishments are expected to maintain their own lines.

Regardless of who actually performs the line cleaning activities, ultimately the beverage alcohol suppliers consider it the distributor’s responsibility to “ensure clean tap-lines” — even in states that do not allow the distributor to provide these services.

A Good Time To Be A Line Cleaning Service Provider

In short, it is a good time to be a beverage-alcohol line cleaning services provider.

Here are a few good reasons for this:

  • State and local regulations may require regular and documented line cleaning and will inspect to determine compliance. 
  • Suppliers may require documentation to determine compliance of line cleaning as a condition for a distributor’s on-premise customers to continue to receive the supplier’s products. 
  • All suppliers, especially craft suppliers, are very sensitive to even the possibility of “bad publicity” about the taste of their products — and taste will deteriorate when beer and wine is drawn through dirty draught lines.

Reporting The Work That Was Done

Cleaning companies typically do not provide much reporting on their customers’ line cleaning events. Usually a clipboard hanging in the cooler indicating the date of the cleaning and the initials of the cleaner. 

Such limited and potentially unreliable “reporting” is easy to overlook when the line cleaner is hurrying to pack up and get on to the next customer.

In some states, the alcohol beverage control board (ABC) or the board of health may be involved in monitoring compliance. Lack of compliance often results in hefty fines. 

Despite the fact that the retailer may be technically responsible to keep such records, it is certainly likely that the retailer may “rely upon” the line cleaner to update the compliance documentation, including line and faucet condition. 

Not to pile on, but it is possible that a distributor who is accompanied by a supplier on a “ride-along” may also want to at least be able to “audit” the line cleaning activities as part of the distributor’s overall “best-practices” audit.

How Best To Gain Control

Here’s the bottom line:

Whether you’re a distributor, retailer or especially a third-party line cleaner, you need to protect the flavor and reputation of the products that are distributed.

The best approach for all is a mobile line cleaning system to do scheduling, tracking and reporting and to keep you in compliance

Such a digital tool would virtually eliminate the possibility of any regulatory violation, a supplier-related agreement, or customer dissatisfaction by drinking “chunky-skunky” beer or wine.

To our knowledge there is only one product on the market today that does this — plus offers an integrated tap handle survey feature at no additional charge.

That product is LineTrakâ„¢ by OnTrak Software.
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