Showing posts with label bar supplies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bar supplies. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blendtec Commercial Blender Training Review

Blendtec Commercial Blenders Training at

Imagine a commercial blender so quiet, the sound melts away into the background.  Sound nice?  Well, this month, the reps at didn’t have to imagine. We heard for ourselves when Bryan Bonine, a representative of The Pinnacle Group, paid us a visit to pass along his knowledge of Blendtec blenders. Bonine came equipped with a brand new model aptly named “Stealth” — a machine Blendtec calls the “World’s Quietest Commercial Blender.”

During a demo here at the Marion Rapids location, we watched as Bonine placed one of the two jars Stealth comes with into a sound-dulling enclosure, on top of a 3.8 horsepower direct drive. When he started the machine and dropped the lid on the enclosure, the noise diminished from a screech-like whine to something more like a hum.

But quiet isn’t the Stealth’s only feature. With 42 programmed blend cycles — it can take on a wide variety of recipes.  And if the 42 blend cycles don’t meet your needs, you can also customize your own using Blendtec’s Blend Wizard app. In addition, the Stealth can handle 200 or more blends a day, at 20-25 seconds per blend — perfect for bars and coffee shops pumping out high volumes of blended coffee drinks or frozen margaritas and daiquiris. In Bonine’s words, “every coffee shop’s going to want that because it’s so quiet.”

Check out this video of his presentation.

It’s also great for restaurants making dressing, vinaigrettes, and spreads. In fact, the Stealth can handle very fine-tuned blending recipes, thanks to a feature Blendtec calls “capacitive-touch control surface.” This means the machine has a touch sensitive, illuminated slider control you can swipe like an IPad to carefully control the blender’s speed.

Here is a closer look at the user interface.

The Rapids reps gathered a wealth of information to share with restaurant and business owners about the Stealth as well as other new blenders in Blendtec’s line-up. The Q-Series, which is a step down from the Stealth, features a less-advanced — but still effective — sound-dulling enclosure, as well as 30 programmed blending cycles. Another model, the SpaceSaver, does much of what the Q-Series can do without hogging counter space.  However, it lacks touchpad controls — and only the Stealth has the illuminated slider control.

So, what happens if your Stealth breaks or malfunctions? For starters, Blendtec covers parts, labor, and freight under a three-year warranty. And the drive socket? That’s covered for life.

If you want to see Blendtec’s blenders in action for yourself, go visit Bonine at the 2013 National Restaurant Association show in Chicago in May. Or, for something on the zany side, check out Blendtec’s YouTube sensation called “Will it Blend?” featuring proof that glow sticks, IPads, and even Justin Beiber are “blend-able!”  

Or, if you’re ready to order or get more information, call 1-800-472-7431, or you can jump on our online chat!

Written by Holly Hines.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Manitowoc Indigo Commercial Ice Maker Technology Training Review

manitowoc indigo
Manitowoc Training at Rapids Wholesale

Here at Rapids Wholesale, we had the honor of receiving some sage advice and wisdom from the area's leading authority in all things ice-related, Gene Lind, territory manager for Don Stevens, LLC and an expert in Manitowoc ice makers.  Gene walked us through the super cool technology behind the Manitowoc Indigo Series Ice Makers.  These commercial ice machines feature LCD displays that will communicate the results of it's intelligent diagnostic monitoring system to you and your staff.

Here is our product spotlight video of the Indigo series ice makers from Manitowoc on our YouTube page.

Check out the highlights of Gene's presentation in this video.  Below it, we'll go over some of the key points and tools he's talking about!

These Indigo machines feature a 16-line by 4-line LCD display screen that alerts the user on the condition of the equipment.  This gives you the ability to monitor it's status and set reminders for scheduled maintenance and cleaning.

Service Technicians will have the ability to upload machine status to a USB thumb drive for analysis.  

The menu is easy to navigate and provides users with pertinent data like machine status as well as serial numbers and production functions.  The menu can be displayed in different languages as well.  

Manitowoc Indigo Display Demo CLICK HERE!

For a "live" demonstration of the Indigos menu Navigation CLICK HERE and select the DEMO tab.

Through the menu on the Indigo machines, users get to select the clarity of their ice, also.  If you select a clearer cube setting, the machine will cycle and purge more water to obtain a clean, clear cube.  This is beneficial to businesses where plating and appearance is very important, and definately useful for those involved in food and beverage photography who prefer shooting natural ingredients.

Indigo machines can be password protected to deter staff and residents or guests from disabling the machine or adjusting the reminders.  I can just see it now: the stock boy fiddling with the cleaning schedules to get out of dirty work, ha!

Here is a video that shows how to clean the machines.

Indigo machines can be outfitted with the Automatic Cleaning System or AUCS for hands off, pre-programmed cleaning.  Cleaner and sanitizer bottles are hooked to the machine, and when it comes time for cleaning, the process is automated.  Other reminders can be programmed to alert you when to change the air filter and water filters.

The LuminIce feature is also available on the Indigo line, which prevents yeast and bacterial growth in the food zone of the machines.  This is an important feature for any restaraunt or other establishment that has a bakery.  LuminIce will keep the unit cleaner for longer periods of time using UV light to kill off bacterial growth.

Another neat feature for lower volume restaurants and especially for hotels and motels is the ability to set a timer for production times.  Using the timer will allow you to set the machine to idle production during the overnight hours not to disturb sleeping guests!

To figure out what size machine you will need for your establishment, you can use this handy ICE MACHINE CALCULATOR and then order yours HERE!

Here is a cleaning check list if you already own one!

manitowoc indigo
Manitowoc Cleaning Checklist


Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day Liquor, Big Gingers and Irish Car Bombs!

Big Ginger in Collins Glass

Ok folks, we’re getting a bit closer to St. Patrick’s day and now it’s crunch time on ordering your bar supplies.  In the last story we went over proper Irish beer to stock.  If you missed it, go back HERE!  If you caught it . . . let’s move on to spirits, and the supplies you need to quench the forthcoming thirst!

There are few things Irish folk enjoy more than a cold pint.  Many would agree there is but one alternative or compliment to the beloved beverage . . . Whiskey!  As with beer sales, your whiskey sales will likely see a HUGE increase this St. Patrick’s day, especially those distilleries that call Ireland home.  

Leading the pack of Irish distilleries by distributing an amazing 32 million bottles a year throughout the world is the widely recognized Jameson brand, according to the wikipedia.  In the same article, we learn that John Jameson (actually a Scottish dude) established his distillery in Dublin way back in 1780.  Nowadays, Pernod Richard (a French company), owns the brand.   It's distilled in Cork, but vatting still takes place in Dublin and they pump out more than a million gallons a year.

Now get this!  There is a pub in Minneapolis called The Local that holds the world’s record for the largest amount of Jameson served averaging well over 20 bottles a day!  Wow.  Just . . . wow!  Apparently, their signature drink, the Big Ginger, was responsible for much of this unbelievable Jameson consumption.  

A Big Ginger is super easy to make.  Grab a Collins glass like the ones found here.  Fill it with cube or half dice ice.  Add two shots of an Irish whiskey.   Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale, and garnish with lemon and lime wedges from your condiment dispenser.  

Condiment Dispenser from Rapids Wholesale

The Big Ginger is a hugely popular drink in the twin cities, not surprisingly due to the influence of one incredible Irish born personality, Kieran Folliard.  He is the founder of The Local, The Liffey, Cooper, and Kieran’s Irish Pubs scattered throughout the metropolis.  Not only have these pubs garnished their own individual success, but they became the testing grounds for his next endeavor . . . 2Gingers Irish Whiskey.  Folliard committed to creating his very own Irish Whiskey.

In their own words, 2Gingers claims, “The award-winning spirit is smooth, malty, and slightly sweet to start, with a tingle of honey and citrus. The woody essence of this four-year-aged blend suggests caramel and vanilla to the finish.”  And I have to admit, I agree with their description.  It is a really a solid Whiskey!

2Gingers was just acquired by Beam Inc. last December, but will continue to be distilled and bottled at Kilbeggan on the River Brosna in Westmeath County, Ireland.  Kilbeggan along with New Midleton, Old Bushmills and Cooley round out the four major distilleries in Ireland.

Now, for the super cool part!  Rumor has it 2Gingers is currently outselling Jameson in the Twin Cities area and can be found in most of the upper midwest spreading like wildfire.  I was able to pick up a bottle at my favorite spirits provider (and Rapids customer) Benz Beverage Depot.   Word on the street is Mr. Folliard himself is on tour promoting his Irish success with his motto “Bring your own luck!”  And he is coming to visit my home town for St. Patrick’s Day!  

You can join Kieran, and likely me, for a Big Ginger at Cedar Rapids’ very own Mahoney’s Irish Pub St. Patrick’s Day Street Party, Saturday March 16 through the 17th.  Mahoney’s, in the Irish district, has been one of our favorite local Irish pubs and a valued customer for years!

Image courtesy of Mahoney's Pub

If you’re not in the area, or working the holiday, be sure to support the little and independent guys in your area when making your holiday plans.  There is nothing as charming and as real as the passion these guys have for their craft!

Now onto the dirty stuff, the Irish Car Bomb.  It’s a love/hate thing.  To some the name is offensive, which isn’t surprising.  But people buy it, especially on St Patrick’s day.  You need to be prepared for it and be careful, this one is tricky.

The problem isn’t the ingredients, it’s the technique.  All you need is Guinness, Bailey’s Irish Creme and an Irish Whiskey.  Unlike a lot of other bomb shots --cherry bombs, Jager bombs and saki bombs, for example-- you can’t easily get away with using a Bar Maid Bomb Cup.  The foam from the Guinness would be problematic.

So, first grab a regular pint glass or frosty mug and fill it 2/3 full of Guinness.  While the head is settling, fill a 1oz shot glass half full of Bailey’s Irish Creme.  On top of the Bailey’s, in the same shot glass, layer an Irish Whiskey.  The customer should then suspend the shot glass over the pint glass and drop IMMEDIATELY BEFORE chugging it in it’s entirety.  If dropped prematurely, or not consumed instantly, it will start to curdle.  This will stimulate a gag reflex in many, and soon you’ll be calling for the mop bucket.  Avoid this catastrophe, and be prepared!

Happy St. Paddy's!



Friday, March 1, 2013

Thoughts on St. Patrick's Day Beers and How to Make Green Keg Beer

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and the Irish in me is thirsty in anticipation.  The pubs, the pals, the beers and belly laughs will soon be here.  And here at Rapids Wholesale, we want to make sure your bar is ready for the rush.  There are a few “must have” items that you gotta have in stock to appease the masses of green clad Irish and “one-day honorary Irish” that make it through your door.  Like me, they’re going to be thirsty!

Thirsty for BEER, and lots of it.  So get with your distributors to make sure you’ll have an ample supply.  Just to put things in perspective, Guinness reported selling 3.5 billion pints on St Patty’s day in 2011.  A normal day for them is around 600,000 pints.  So stock up heavy on beer and make sure you’re smart about your selection.

Guinness may be my personal favorite “readily available” Irish beer of all time, but they certainly are not the only player on St. Patrick’s Day.  As the craft beer movement continues to flourish, our tastes are maturing, and you may find yourself in front of a more “selective” crowd.

Since we already mentioned Guinness, let's continue with the stouts.  Other well known Irish stouts you may want to stock include Murphy’s, Beamish, and Mackeson’s.  And there are a ton of craft stouts that are worthwhile, too.  Although they may not immediately conjure images of the Eire, a couple of my personal favorite stouts would be Left Hand’s Nitro Milk Stout, anything from Founder’s, Bell’s Black Note, Old Rasputin Imperial, and luckily local to me, Millstream’s Back Road Oatmeal Stout.

Be sure to serve your stouts in the proper glass.  I prefer an English pub glass, but if you put it in an American Shaker pint, I’m not gonna turn it down! Ha!  And remember, if you’re getting a keg of Guinness for your home bar, they take different plumbing as well.  You need to get the right keg coupler and faucet.

For Irish Lager’s I would serve Harp.  As for Irish Ales and Red Ales, again there are a ton to choose from. Safe bets would include Smithwick’s, Samuel Adams Irish Red, Boulevard Irish Ale, Kilkenny Irish Creme Ale, and George Killian’s.  Sure there may be better tasting and better reviewed brews out there, but these should be safe to move timely and have more of a universal appeal.  To get an idea for what’s hot and what’s not in the beer world, I would strongly advise folks to check out They’ve never let me down!

And then, of course . . . there is the green beer, ugh!  I know, I know, most of you are cringing at the thought of it, but we have to face reality.  Lots of folks like to drink green beer on St. Patrick’s day.  I’m not sure why, and I don’t know where this silly tradition came from, but here we are.  And if we ignore it, we may lose out on some extra St. Patrick’s Day green (in the till that is).

So suck it up and order a keg or 5 of a green dyed domestic light pilsner from your distributor.  A marketing trick and general maintenance tip would be to use a separate portable beer dispenser or kegerator for your green beer.  That way your staff will obviously know which beer is dyed.  Your regular customers, and those with perhaps a more refined palete, will see that their selection and service isn’t being compromised by a passing fad.  To them you won’t lose face, and you won’t miss out on any beer sales.  And as a bonus, you don’t have to worry about cleaning your long draw lines the next day.  Try plastering your portable dispenser with advertising.  Set up a separate beer line and till away from your main bar to ensure nobody is left waiting with an empty pint.  Then compare your numbers to last year!

portable beer dispenser or kegerator

Don’t panic if you forgot to order “green kegs” from your distributor.  It really isn’t that hard to make beer green.  It’s pretty obvious that a drop of green dye in a pint glass will turn a lighter colored brew green.  But in a busy bar or club, that is simply not an option, right?  Logic tells us if we can get the food coloring “inside” the keg we can pour it green per normal.  So how do you do that?  I’ve heard of some people putting the dye on the keg ball as they tap it.  Should work, but how many of you trust your staff to pull that off without green spray completely covering your walk-in cooler in the process?  I can just see it plastering all your bottles and backstock with sticky green goo.  It’s like ectoplasm from the Ghost Busters movie in my head!

Here’s a trick that should work to inject the food coloring into your keg.

Somewhere in a drawer in the backroom you have a picnic pump.  If you don’t have one, you can get one here.  Grab that thing and PUMP the the dye into the keg without making a mess.  Check out this video to see how I think you should be able to pull this off.

WARNING: DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!!  Personally, I’ve never tried it, and am unsure of the actual results.  I drink Guinness.

It should work because the dye along with the air will be injected into the keg.  It shouldn’t be messy because the system is essentially sealed and the check valve in the picnic pump will keep it inside.  The amount of dye to use will be dependent on a handful of things.  Is your keg full?  How dark is the beer?  Obviously light pilsners work best for this.  You don’t have to leave the picnic pump attached once you’ve pumped the dye into the keg.  I would let it sit for awhile to properly mix in.  Hook it up to your keg dispenser and serve!

So there ya go, once again Rapids Wholesale saves the day!  Check back soon for tips on what Irish Whiskey and drinks to stock up on and tips on how to prevent a glass explosion with your next Irish Carbomb.



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Midwest Winter Cold, the Dawn of Commercial Refrigeration, Beer and Rapids Wholesale

Rapids Wholesale Marion Headquarters in Winter

Here at Rapids Wholesale we have a unique view on cold.  We have branches in the Midwest and upper Midwest, right off the prairie. Frigid winter winds can chill us to the bones but can’t bring us down.  We’re tough, hardworking folk, known not only for our willingness to share a cold pint with a stranger, but also for our keen ability to sniff out opportunity.  And over time we’ve come to discover that COLD certainly has it’s advantages.

Wintertime in the Midwest is one of the primary reasons the ice and and beer industries thrived in the early years of our nation.  Cold winters with thick frozen lakes produced all the ice we needed.  The earth provided us with limestone caves to keep it frozen for extended periods of time, even as the seasons changed.  Everything fell perfectly in to place for the beer barons like Captain Frederick Pabst whose Milwaukee brewery employed Rapids' founder Harry Ribble who later went on to invent the world's first direct draw beer dispenser.

Harry Ribble invented the Direct Draw Beer Dispenser 

As more and more immigrants were drawn to our little piece of paradise, they brought their own ideas of the perfect pint with them.  Collectively, our beer tastes eventually switched from English style ales and stouts to the Bavarian style lagers and pilsner beers which utilized a different bottom fermenting, cold brewing technique.  Eventually, our thirst for these new brews grew stronger and as the population continued to increase, we needed a more efficient way to continue production of lager beers long into the summer months.  

At the same time another challenge was facing brewers and other industries like the meat packing and dairy folk, who were becoming more and more dependent on prolonged cold for their production.  The ice we had been harvesting was increasingly being found to be tainted and polluted; an unpleasant side effect of the industrial revolution.

The first known demonstration of refrigeration is accredited to William Cullen at the University of Glasgow way back in 1784.  He proved the theory, but was lacking at that point a practical purpose.  After nearly a century of experimenting with and tweaking the designs we now have stumbled upon a viable commercial use of refrigeration.  To keep our beer, beef and cheese from spoiling.

Until this point, the technology was primarily used for cooling sickrooms.  John Gorrie developed a cooling system to help in the treatment of those unlucky enough to catch the yellow-fever.  Gorrie went on to be granted the first US patent in 1851 after switching gears to experiment with ice making.  And according to the same article we found on the wikipedia, from1870 to 1891, nearly every brewery in service was using commercial refrigeration machines.  All resulting in the birth to commercial refrigeration!

Things have changed a bit since then.  Check out the newest designs in commercial refrigeration and how to order the unit you need from Rapids website in this cool little video.  We even braved the winter cold to bring it to you!  What devotion, Ha!

It's mind-blowing to see how far we have come!  Today's refrigeration technology is truly amazing and here at Rapids Wholesale we supply all the best brands including TRUE and BEVERAGE AIR to name just a couple.  Apart from bar refrigeration equipment to keep your brew cold, we also carry a huge supply of walk-in refrigerators, refrigerated display cases, commercial kitchen refrigerators, glass and plate chillers and ice machines.

If you need any help choosing equipment for your place, give us a buzz!  We're here to help!

Remember, at Rapids Wholesale, Your bottom line is our top priority!



Monday, February 18, 2013

Condiment Caddy Bar Advertising Trick from Rapids Wholesale

Click here for Rapids Wholesale Bar Supplies

Is your bar properly stocked?  Here at Rapids Wholesale we understand that a properly stocked bar has more than just a large selection of beer, wine, liquor and mixers.  Profitable bars owners make sure their staff is equipped with all the proper tools necessary for slinging drinks and pushing pub grub.  When assessing your new bar’s needs, the sinks, washers and blenders are obvious.  But the small-wares like bottle openers, proper cutlery and the often overlooked condiment caddy need to be addressed as well. 

A bar is not a bar without the little things like the condiment caddy or condiment rack.  It’s a simple storage and organizational device that allows for you to keep together and easily transport utensils, ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, salt and pepper and all the other bits your customers will likely request to enjoy their meals!  If your bar is going to serve food, you need to provide your customers with these essentials.  But while you're at it, why not have it be your silent salesman and spokesman as well?  While customers are waiting for your staff to take and prepare their orders, more and more of them are pulling out their smart phones to pass the time.  Put YOUR message on that phone!  And use a condiment caddy to get it there.

Though designs of condiment caddies differ, consider caddies that allow for a little table side advertising.  Many will allow for you to attach postcard sized ads right on top of them.  Check with your food and beverage vendors to see if they can help you design and produce these powerful little marketing cards with or even FOR you!  Likely they’ll want their product name on your table, but make sure it benefits your establishment as well.  This is prime advertising real-estate.  Use this space to promote an up-coming event, new dish, or special in the kitchen.

If your establishment has a website or uses social media like Facebook, this is an awesome place to print off a QR code linking your customer's smartphone to your bar or restaurant!  A QR code is a lot like a bar code that can be scanned by smartphones and will direct that phone to a place on the internet, like your online menu or facebook page!  Consider a promotion where if they scan the QR code to direct them to your social media site and then "check in," they can get a discount off their tab.  Not only will this point their friends toward your store online, they might even show up in person, knowing they'll find good company at your bar when they do!  Its a win - win - win!  All you have to do is "search" the interwebs for "QR code generator" to create your own custom code and copy your code to your advertising card.

Rapids Wholesale QR code

Please be careful when selecting a condiment caddy.  I’ve seen a few bars that use empty cardboard six pack cases to hold condiments.  This is okay (I guess) if you have zero budget, but these aren’t built for everyday use and abuse.  One table spill, and the next time your staff (or God forbid a customer) picks up the caddy, everything will end up on the floor.  Also, it’s often difficult for your customers to fish the salt and pepper shakers out of them as the sides are too tall.  And, in all honesty, they can make your bar look cheap!  Do you want your customers thinking, “well heck, if they’re skimping on getting me the ketchup, where else are they cutting corners?”

Find the selection of condiment caddies along with all the other Bar and Beverage supplies you need, and how to order them from Rapids Wholesale’s website in the above video.  Grab a condiment caddy and with this little QR code marketing trick, increase your bottom line!

For tips be sure to subscribe to our little blog here or punch in your email on the right to receive updates as we create more awesome content.


Paul at Rapids Wholesale