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Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by DMC, Jul 21, 2005.
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Makes me thirsty just watching.... It is worth the wait whatever time it takes
I'd heard about this 'Turbo Tap' thing, but seeing the real-time video is believing.
The guy's a genius.
that was fast, and whats the point to the turbo tap?
If you were selling a lot of beer, and could cut your time to pour by 1/4, wouldn't you buy one?
For This Inventor,
The Perfect Beer Is
All About the Tap
Mr. Younkle Creates Device
To Dispense a Fast Draft;
A Test of 'Foam Texture'
By JONATHAN EIG and BRYAN GRULEY
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
July 14, 2005; Page A1
CHICAGO -- Matthew Younkle was a senior at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when inspiration struck. What the world really needs, he decided, is a three-second beer.
He was not the first college student to dream of ways to get to his alcohol more quickly. What set Mr. Younkle apart is that he chose, soberly, to follow through.
Ten years later, Mr. Younkle, 31 years old, is president and chief technology officer of TurboTap, a company marketing a finger-sized nozzle that attaches to standard beer faucets and pours draft beer at least twice as fast as traditional systems do, and with less spillage. The company, based here, has installed about 1,000 TurboTaps at bars, restaurants and ballparks -- including Chicago's two major-league baseball stadiums and Cleveland's Gund Arena.
"I think this will change the way beer is poured," says Tom Geordt, director of training and business development for Micro Matic, a California maker and distributor of kegs, faucets and other beer-related equipment. If Mr. Geordt is right, pouring a draft could become as simple as flicking a light switch. Tilted cups and overflowing beer suds would be things of the past.
As an engineering student in college, Mr. Younkle concluded that gravity, not bartender incompetence, was to blame for long beer lines. Beer, like any liquid, accelerates as it leaves the tap. The force generated upon impact with the bottom of a cup causes the beer to foam. Too much force means too much foam. Too much foam means wasted beer and wasted time.
Mr. Younkle decided to create a nozzle that slowed the descent of the beer and reduced the force of its impact. He produced a prototype in college and won an inventor's prize in a campus competition. And after several more years of R&D ("research and drinking," he says), Mr. Younkle felt he had perfected his invention. The 4½-inch stainless-steel nozzle attaches to a standard beer tap and reaches to the bottom of a glass, like an extra-wide straw. Each pour produces a half-inch head -- or "collar of foam" -- Mr. Younkle says. TurboTap can pour 16 ounces in 2.5 seconds. Normal is about eight seconds.
Once he found a way to pour the beer faster and with just the right amount of foam, he had to make certain that the new delivery system did nothing to change the product's taste. To that end, he hired members of the Chicago Beer Society, self-proclaimed beer geeks who sample microbrews and dwell on their subtlest characteristics. The beer aficionados tasted TurboTap Budweiser and regular tap Budweiser in a double-blind study.
"Most of us are not used to tasting Budweiser," says Randy Mosher, a beer society member who participated in the test. "There was a lot of, 'Let's see if the foam texture seems better or worse,' and 'How's the hops aroma?' But ultimately we couldn't tell the difference."
Mr. Younkle first offered his invention to big brewers, hoping one would buy it outright. When they declined, he began offering the product to high-volume vendors such as stadiums and concert halls, places that operate hundreds of taps at a time. He leases each TurboTap unit for $99 a year.
TurboTap has caught the attention of some of the industry's big players, and they're waiting to see what sort of impact it will have. Rosanne Leake, director of draft sales for Anheuser-Busch Inc., says the nation's biggest brewer has had "several discussions" with TurboTap but hasn't yet evaluated the device's performance.
TurboTap also has some competition. SHURflo, a California company owned by Pentair Inc. of Golden Valley, Minn., makes an electronic beer pump that promises to deliver beer even faster than TurboTap does. SHURflo's Master Tap can pour 20 ounces of beer in two seconds, and it also allows bartenders to adjust the size of the beer's head and automatically monitor the volume of each cup poured, says Michael Saveliev, vice president for the company's fluids solutions group.
SHURflo says it has sold about 50 Master Taps so far. "It's a challenging sell," says Mr. Saveliev, noting that prices for the pump start at about $4,000. "We think it will catch on." Nine Master Taps are in use at Petco Park, home of baseball's San Diego Padres. The company also plans to start selling a simpler, manually operated beer system, priced at about $1,000, that might compete more directly with TurboTap. Dispensing Systems International of Madison, Wis., makes Mega-Tap, which operates in a manner similar to Master Tap and promises to deliver beer at the same speed. Mega-Tap so far has sold about 50 of the machines, which retail for about $20,000, according to Curt Dollar, president of Dispensing Systems.
Draft beer accounts for only 9% of the beer sold in the U.S., a number that has been falling steadily, partly because of competition from wine and hard liquor, and partly because of tougher drunk-driving laws. If TurboTap helps bars increase their draft-beer business, it could entice brewers and distributors. Michelle Semones, a spokeswoman for the National Beer Wholesalers Association in Alexandria, Va., says any product "that makes beer sales easier for retailers makes the wholesalers happy."
The draft-beer business has enjoyed little innovation in recent years. A pint of beer is poured today in most bars almost exactly as it was 100 years ago. Beer, powered by carbon dioxide, flows from a keg beneath the bar, through a tube and out a brass faucet, where a bartender tilts a glass at a 45-degree angle to help reduce the foam. There are still those who see no reason to change.
"I'm a bit of a romantic," says bartender Mike Miller, slowly pouring a Scottish ale at the Duke of Perth on Chicago's north side. "There are some things that are still nice to have the classic way."
Some naysayers wonder about sanitation. "That's kind of disgusting, the tap's in your beer," says Kevin Reichert, 21, of Oak Brook, Ill. "I worked in a bar, and I know they don't clean that every day."
But some people in the business of pouring fast and selling cups of beer by the thousands are more enthusiastic. "I've been looking for something like this forever," says Curt Radle, director of concession operations at Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play. Though he declines to say how much beer pours every season at Wrigley, Mr. Radle says the ballpark has one of the sports world's busiest beer-concession businesses. Since he installed TurboTap, he says, beer costs have fallen between 3% and 5%. In about half a season, the devices have already paid for themselves, he says.
For the moment, he's running the taps at about half their top speed. He says he might gradually ratchet up the speed by adjusting the pressure of the carbon dioxide, but he's in no hurry.
"People get their beer here fast enough," he says, adding that it was the increased yield per keg that persuaded him to install TurboTap, not the promise of a faster pour. Stadium vendors say they're getting six to eight additional cups out of each keg -- or $30 to $40 in added revenue -- since TurboTaps were added.
With a beer in each hand, the 22-year-old Cubs fan Ernest Walther stood in the centerfield bleachers on a hot summer night and said he was impressed with how quickly the beer had been flowing. "My sister's been getting them," Mr. Walther said, nodding at his cups, "and I noticed she's been fast as hell."
A few feet away, Mr. Younkle admired a concession-stand counter lined with 10 beers, each with a perfect head. He picked up one cup, held it high and commented on the "nice breakout" of bubbles floating from bottom to top. "This is the inventor's dream come true," he said before taking a sip.
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makes me want a turbo tap, and I don't even need one.
I will settle for the Guinness, or a Murphy's or Caffrey's in fact any beer the Irish brew for that matter
It might be sacreligious. But think it could be used to pour soda?
yeah you have to wait like 4 minutes to get those suckers. they pour my Kilkenny's like 1/4 at a time, let it settle, then pour, then settle.....
worth it though