Back in January this year, before the word “lockdown” had even been invented, your council voted to implement the Heineken Smart Dispense system. This decision was taken to give members and guests the best possible quality and taste of beer, and is a major upgrade to the club’s bar infrastructure.
To cut a long story short, Heineken have developed an advanced beer distribution system that delivers keg beers (ie gassed lager-style beers) at absolutely perfect quality to the glass every time. The Smart Dispense system addresses with technology all the shortcomings of a traditional cellar in preserving the beer between the keg and the font. The reason for them putting so much effort into this is that beer is susceptible to deterioration due to the adverse nature of the environment (temperature, yeast contamination) within the infrastructure of pipes and coolers on its way from the keg to the glass. As brewers Heineken want the consumer to enjoy their product in its optimum condition, hence they have developed this system.
The key objective of the Smart Dispense is to maintain the beer in the pipes at -4 degrees all the time, which protects it from the undesirable consequences of temperature. Above +5 degrees beer is prone to a phenomenon called secondary fermentation, which pollutes the pipes with yeast, causing bad taste, foaming of the beer, and potentially unsettled stomachs and bad hangovers on the part of the drinkers. Keeping the beer at such a low temperature permits the beer in the pipes to be maintained in perfect condition irrespective of how long it stays in the pipes. This is a quantum leap forward in the serving of beer.
The benefits to SCYC and its members are as follows:
NB: The cask beer, ie the Timothy Taylors is not dispensed by this system. The TT lines will still need weekly cleaning but the work load to do this is greatly reduced. As part of the Smart Dispense installation the entire end-to-end plumbing for the cask beers has been replaced with brand new equipment.
To realise the benefits of the Heineken system, the club is now committed to selling beers supplied by Heineken, which means the beers are changing.
With the launch of the new system we will have:
Strongbow Cloudy Apple cider
This new selection as been made to cover the same range of alcohol strength as before.
It may be possible to connect “foreign” beers to Heineken’s system but there is a significant rental cost per pipe for doing so, therefore for the sake of the club’s business model operation of the new system will commence with beers native to Heineken.
At this point it will be natural for some members to query what the club is investing in this system, at a time when the club is closed, and beer consumption and revenue are nil. The answer is nothing, zero. The system is provided and installed by Heineken with no upfront capital cost, as a sweetener to get us to sell their beers. The price we pay for the service visit every 2 months is neutralised by the cost savings of the value of the beer we save from not “pulling through” every day and not cleaning the lines. The service contract fees have not yet started as the system is not yet operational.
The Cove cellar system has also been updated. A totally different system called DraughtMaster, designed by Carlsberg, which achieves the same thing as Smart Dispense but on a restaurant-sized scale, has been installed. This system has 2 draught beers available, and in the first instance the beers available are San Miguel and Shed Head IPA. This system is again free at the point of installation and is self-maintained so no service cost. It is paid for via a slightly higher purchase price for the beers.
The Council have made this decision in the interests of improving the quality of the bar offering for the members so that it is the best achievable, and hope that the members appreciate the higher quality and taste of the beers, and enjoy the new selection. This has truly brought the SCYC cellar and bar up to 21st century standards.