The global COVID19 pandemic has turned everything on its ear. Most bars, restaurants and businesses are focused on one thing – saving money. Without regular traffic and sales to support expenses, it’s panic time for conserving cash and spending cautiously. Most bars have stopped routine beer line cleaning, regularly, but this could prove to cost you more money in the long run.
If beer is left sitting in your beer lines, it can stagnate and end up a costly expense to clean and/or replace on the other side. The Brewers Association recommends cleaning your beer lines every four weeks for proper maintenance and sanitation during shutdown.
The Brewers Association has created a guide to help bars and restaurants ensure their beer lines will be fully clean and functional after a long period of non-use. ‘It is important to take some steps to make sure your system stays healthy and you are not faced with an unexpected expense or quality concerns when starting it back up,’ says the Brewers Association.
If beer is left to stagnate in draft beer lines for an extended period of time, there is risk that irreversible bacterial contamination can develop in the lines. Bacterial contamination is something you want to avoid at all costs. Bacterial contamination can lead to gas leak hazards and expensive beer line replacement.
The Brewers Association guidelines outline 6 steps to repeat every 4 weeks during a shutdown period:
Have your beer line cleaning company complete a standard cleaning prior to shutdown
Request a chemical cleaning that includes fully disassembling all faucets for detailing and all couplers scrubbed clean
Leave lines packed with beer if cleaning every other week, otherwise with clean rinse water
Keep your cooler turned on
Turn off the system's gas supply to help prevent leakage
Clean and carefully dry the cooler to prevent development of mold
The guide also provides a key list of pitfalls to avoid:
Do not leave chemicals in beer lines. This can damage the tubing and create a safety hazard
Do not increase temperature of or turn off keg cooler
Do not leave couplers or any other hardware on the floor or any soiled surface. Do not leave couplers attached to kegs
Do not cap or cover faucet openings or keg valves
Do not shut off glycol power pack
You can find the Brewers Associations' downloadable guide here. It is worth your while to read through this and make sure that you are following their recommendations. It will save you potentially large expenses in the long run.
Stay in communication with your beer line cleaner. It is never too late to put these recommendations into practice. If you did not have your equipment cleaned before shutdown, better late than never. If you clean your own beer lines, remember the importance of safety. Safe beer line cleaning chemicals and strong, safe caustic products are always available from www.safebeerlinecleaning.com. Stay safe and sanitized!