Two keys to a successful bar business are driving traffic and increasing sales of high margin drinks, like draft beer. Bar and restaurant owners are finding the answer to both in Beer Tubes beverage dispensers. Beer Tubes were conceived as a “fun way to drink draft beer,” and while the fun aspect is still there, Beer Tubes have developed into a sales booster for bar businesses worldwide, getting credit for increased draft beer sales and sparking the “Beer Tubes Experience” – the chain-reaction that sweeps through the bar when the first Tube is carried to a table.
“Beer Tubes have helped increase our draft beer sales,” said Robert Snelson, owner of Wings-N-More in Houston, TX. “The guest reaction is always fun to watch. When a Tube is delivered to a table other patrons immediately take notice, and others order one as well.”
David Pascual, brewmaster at the Chicago Brewing Company in Las Vegas, agrees. “It’s like the bar begins to sprout Beer Tubes. The first Tube goes out and several tables follow suit. Customers seem to be intrigued by them, and that’s been reflected in our sales – we’re currently up 13.6 percent in beer production over last year.”
Created in 2005 by entrepreneurs David Stein and Jason Drum, Beer Tubes took the “beer tower” concept to the next level, placing the tube in a sports-themed base and increasing the quality of the tube components. The original design was set in a bowling ball base, and the clear 100-ounce dispensers are now available in more than 25 base designs, including patented football helmet, basketball, baseball and hockey.
The company recently debuted a new racing helmet base for motor racing fans and the establishments that cater to them. Further evolution, and popularity of the initial designs, led to production of customized conic wrap bases, allowing bars and restaurants to order Beer Tubes with branded messaging and graphics that can be 360 degrees around the base in full color. “We’re continually looking at adding new base designs as well as giving our customers the flexibility to use the Beer Tubes for their own branding,” said Stein.
Beer Tubes, made of state-of-the-art BPA-free Eastman Tritan co-polyester, keep beverages cold longer than pitchers and allow patrons to serve themselves at their table. A 128-ounce Super Tube is also available. The simple three-piece design of Beer Tubes (tube, base, tap) makes them easy to fill, clean and maintain, and the parts are all modular – all tubes fit all bases and all taps fit all tubes. The company has developed a complete “system” for bars using Beer Tubes, including specially formulated cleaning powder, brushes and drying racks, making it easy for them to implement and maintain a Beer Tubes program.
Mel Martinez, Area Director of Texas-based Ojos Locos has enthusiastically embraced the Beer Tubes concept, making the Tubes a signature item in his four locations. “We’ve got about 60-70 Tubes per location. They are a featured item in all Ojos Locos and have become a main driver of repeat business,” said Martinez. “On any given night there are 30-40 Tubes on tables throughout the bar.”
Martinez took advantage of the customization services offered by Beer Tubes, but also sees the advantage of having various sport bases. “We have a lot of football and soccer fans, so we have both of those models, and when the Rangers went to the World Series we got some baseball Tubes as well. Our customers come in and order by sport.”
While the Tubes are capable of holding up to 100 ounces, Ojos Locos also offers a 60-ounce Tube. “Groups love ordering Beer Tubes because they’re not only cool, but a really good deal,” said Martinez. “We do a 60-ounce domestic Tube for $11.95 and imports are $15.95, while the 100-ounce domestic Tubes go for $17.95 and imports are $21.95.”
Beer Tubes also help reduce impact on staff by allowing servers to see when guests need a refill and reducing trips to the table, while the “up sale” helps increase the average ticket size.
“The Beer Tubes have made a difference during tight service times, like game nights,” said Lena MacIver, Oil City Hospitality Group in Edmonton, AB Canada. Oil City currently has 120 Beer Tubes divided amongst its three locations – The Pint, The Hat, and The Rack. Oil City, like many Beer Tubes users, is also using the Tubes as a branding vehicle. “We took advantage of the customization services offered by Beer Tubes,” added MacIver. “The Beer Tubes have become part of our brand and it’s reflected in our sales. Our patrons, managers and shareholders all love the Tubes.”
Major brewers are also on board with Beer Tubes’ branding power. MillerCoors distributors have been ordering hockey helmet, football helmet and baseball tubes and using them in promotional programs with their customers. “We set up promotions around relevant sporting events,” said Sean Britt, Director of On-Premise Sales; Superior Beverage Group, “We’ve got about 300 Beer Tubes in market and the success of Beer Tube accounts versus non-Beer Tube accounts is staggering. During hockey season, for example, we had accounts that increased sales of Molson Canadian draft in the triple-digit range.”
Anheuser-Busch is using Super Tubes as a customized branding vehicle and to anchor promotions for major league sports. AB now has thousands of Tubes throughout the U.S. and is planning to expand the program with several brand specific initiatives in 2011.