Showing posts with label beer equipment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beer equipment. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to Install a Rapids Home Refrigerator Kegerator Conversion Kit
Hey folks, I thought I would take a moment here to walk you through the process of converting a standard home refrigerator into your very own kegerator unit using Rapids kegerator conversion kits. It’s really quite simple, and in no time you’ll be enjoying your own draft beer from your very own DIY kegerator. I'll walk you through my last conversion, but first . . .

Why People Convert Fridges to Kegerators

There are a lot of reasons why people buy these kegerator conversion kits. They make for a really inexpensive solution for a home brewer to share their passion with friends. A lot of people buy these for use in their garages and man caves; serving up domestic commercially brewed beers to their pals. Many are purchased by fraternities and other social groups with thirsty folk, and it’s not uncommon for a bar our civic organization to install them as an inexpensive satellite beer dispenser, away from their main bar – maybe on a patio or down by the dock. Whatever the reason, I’ve found these Rapids kits are the most complete and are really simple to install.

Why Use a Rapids Conversion Kit?

Harry Ribble of Rapids Wholesale
Harry Ribble
Rapids knows beer. Especially beer dispensing!

Rapids founder, Harry Ribble, was a former Pabst Brewery employee who actually designed and patented the first direct draw beer dispenser the world has ever seen. He left Pabst and started Rapids Wholesale way back in 1936. Rapids has built on that tradition of consistently ensuring full pint glasses for thirsty folks ever since. They work with brewers, distributors, bar owners, parts machinists and manufacturers nationwide. And now they’ve brought that expertise home to you.

Beer Dispenser Tapping Kits for Commercial Beer Dispensers

Commercial Kegerator at Rapids Wholesale
Commercial Kegerator
Rapids offers seven different kit configurations to help you hook up whatever kind of beer dispenser you have. If you have purchased a commercial beer dispenser and only require the addition of a CO2 system, the Rapids Beer Dispenser CO2 Kit is likely all you need. It has the CO2 cylinder, dual gauge regulator, and air line to attach to your commercial beer dispenser. Rapids Deluxe Tapping Kit includes a sankey keg coupler and a handy beer line cleaning kit.

Kegerator Conversion Kit Options

If you are starting from scratch with a home refrigerator, the Deluxe Kegerator Conversion Kits are the perfect “everything you need - one stop shop” solution. They come with either a dual gauge or single gauge regulator. For the little extra loot, I strongly suggest springing for the dual gauge regulator. The extra gauge lets you know when you are running out of gas. Invaluable information if you a planning a weekend get together with friends.

The Deluxe kits also include a beer line cleaning kit with all the tools you need to keep your keg fridge serving the best tasting beer with perfect pours. A clean beer dispensing system is essential to accurate taste and aroma as well as pouring dynamics. Dirty lines and faucets can cause huge heads and skunky flavors. Deluxe kits also have drip trays to save your floor when you over pour.

Super Kegerator Kits do not include the cleaning kit and drip tray. They come with a single gauge regulator and all the essential components needed to dispense along with a faucet brush and spanner wrench. The other configurations assume you already have a CO2 supply or faucet plumbing in place.

Rapids Kegerator Kit Installation Procedure

Kegerator Installation How-To Video

In this video, I'll show you the quick install of my latest conversion. Below the video you will find more information and tips and tricks for your installation.

Selecting the Donor Fridge

Fridgeman Concept
Now for the fun part – installing the components. The very first thing you need to do is track down a donor refrigerator. Make sure you get one big enough to hold the keg type you wish to use. For Cornelius kegs (corny kegs) and Sixth Barrel kegs (log kegs), you can often get away with using a taller dorm sized fridge.  They are only about 9 inches in diameter leaving room inside for both the keg and your CO2 tank. Keep in mind though, these kegs are still nearly 2 foot tall, and you’ll need to fit a coupler on top of that, so choose wisely.

For Quarter Barrel kegs (pony kegs) and traditional Full Sized kegs (actually called half barrel), you’ll likely need to opt for a full size refrigerator. You should budget for a 17 inch diameter for the keg and add the diameter of your CO2 cylinder (about 5-1/2 inches for a 5 lb. tank). Mounting the cylinder outside of the fridge and running a line through another hole in the side is an option, but obviously a little more engineering would be required.

Stripping Down the Refrigerator

Rapids Keg Fridge Build
Stripping Down
Okay, now that you have your donor fridge in place, you need to make room inside to fit the keg. This means you’ll have to pull out all drawers and shelving to make space. In some cases you will be able to throw a shelf or two back in the fridge on the top after the install. But for starters you’ll want to remove everything to give you working space.

Some refrigerators are not flat on the bottom. If there is a drawer unit, be sure to pull it out and look behind it to see if the floor extends all the way to the back wall. If not, you may have to devise some sort of platform to fit the keg on. I used a milk crate and plywood to get over the hump in mine. Putting a sheet of plywood down on the bottom is recommended even if you do have a flat bottom. It will prevent the floor from getting too banged up from moving the kegs in and out. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll want to sell this bad boy . . . might as well keep it pretty!

UNPLUG the refrigerator! Soon you will be drilling into it. Save yourself from potential electrical shock and an embarrassing trip to the ER . . . or worse. Don’t be an idiot, UNPLUG THE FRIDGE!

Drill Baby, Drill!

Rapids Keg Fridge Build
Drilling a 1 inch Hole in the Door for the Beer Shank

The beer has to come out of the fridge. It does our bellies no good staying locked up inside. To get the beer outside, we gotta get through the door or a sidewall. I’ve built conversions each way, but I prefer going through the door. There is a risk of drilling through a coolant line if you drill through the side of the fridge. So if you DO decide to go through a sidewall, do yourself a favor and first drill a tiny hole through the outer aluminum skin only. Stick a toothpick or something in there to make sure the path is clear to drill all the way through to the interior panel with no obstructions.

Door mounting is a lot easier but can have its own set of smaller challenges. Some refrigerators may have in-door ice and water dispensers. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid drilling through those and any wiring that may support them. Locate a wiring diagram or schematics for your model and inspect it carefully before deciding where to place your faucet. Most fridges donated for this purpose are usually not that high tech.

Interior door shelving is another consideration. You will need to locate a faucet position that will not be obstructed on the inside by a door shelf. Find a location that provides the least distance to drill through. In my latest conversion, I did have to remove the door shelving entirely to provide enough room for a full size keg and cylinder within. It was a pretty narrow unit that wasn’t very deep. The one piece plastic molded shelving unit I removed also secured the door gasket, so I chose to attach the gasket with the sheet metal screws from the shelving and sealed it with a bead of silicone. Plastic trim pieces around the gasket in place of the removed shelving unit may be a better idea. Less mess anyway.

48 inches up from the floor is supposedly the ideal comfortable pouring height. That’s the target, but obviously your fridge design may cause you to stray a bit from that height. Another thing to keep in mind when you select your faucet position would be the faucet tap handle height.

The faucet knob that comes supplied with the Rapids kits is going to stand about three inches up from the faucet. Add another inch for the lever bonnet and collar on the faucet, and 1/2 inch for the radius of the hole you need to drill for the shank. That means if you use the small supplied tap handle it will stick up about 4-1/2 inches from your mark. Now look at your donor fridge. Does it have a freezer unit on top? See where this measurement becomes important? And did you have big plans to get an awesome ornate hand sculptedfaucet tap handle that sticks up 10 inches?

If you place your faucet too high, it may prevent you from being able to open the freezer door without running into the faucet tap handle. No frosty mugs for you! This is one of the reasons why elected to use a “side by side” donor fridge on my last conversion. With the freezer unit on the side of the fridge, I was able to place the faucet pretty much wherever I wanted. Another advantage to the side by side is more room top to bottom inside the fridge. I can place more shelving on top and I’m even considering stacking two pony’s with a keg stacker spacer for tapping and running another faucet!

Okay, now that you’ve settled on your faucet location that’s as close to 48 inches from the floor as it can be, but still will allow you to open the top freezer without a mess, you are going to want to mark it off and drill baby, drill. I’ve found that a 1inch hole saw with pilot bit works best to drill the hole (pictured above). Keep the pilot bit from sliding around by punching a divot in the door it can start on with a hammer and an awl.

Installing the Beer Faucet Shank

Shank Diagram

Once you have created the hole and cleaned away any debris from the drilling process, it’s time to install the beer faucet shank. Slide the shank through the hole with the black plastic flange part on the outside of the door. On the inside of the door, you will attach the forged brass lock nut. If you have removed the inner door shelving panel on the door, you may want to consider putting up some sort of solid backing between the door insulation and the brass lock nut. If you try to tighten the lock nut to nothing but foam insulation, the faucet will likely just flop around on the door; a small piece of plywood or plastic works well for this purpose. Think of it as a really big washer. If you feel the need to further seal the door, you could run a bead of silicone around the shank in the door.

Installing the Beer Faucet to the Beer Shank

Attaching Faucet to Shank
With the beer shank secured in the door, the next step is to attach the beer faucet to the shank. There is a coupling nut on the shank that you will spin counter-clockwise with the faucet pressed up against it. Use a spanner wrench to snug it up, but be sure not to over tighten it. Periodically you will be removing the faucet to clean it. If you He-Man the thing on, you could be creating a future inconvenience. There are o-rings in the faucet to seal it from leaking.

On the top of the faucet you will attach the faucet knob or tap handle. If you get one of those fancy sculpted tap handles or maybe a branded tap handle, there is a neat little trick to make sure you have it front facing. What you do is spin the thing all the way down, then back it off until it is positioned the way you like it. Now if you spin the lever collar back to meet it, you can secure it in place facing forward.

Faucet Parts Diagram

Attaching the Beer Line

Attaching Beer Line to Shank
To the beer shank on the inside of the door, you will attach the beer line. Be sure to place the washer inside the hex nut end of the beer line before you do this. Failure to do so will likely result in a leak of both beer and CO2. Snug it up with a wrench.

The opposite end of the beer line will attach to your keg coupler. The keg coupler is the piece that you use to actually tap the keg. Again, make sure you put a washer between this connection and snug it up with a wrench. It is possible the beer line will be longer than what you need to connect the beer faucet to your keg, but DO NOT cut or alter the line. This particular length has been factored in the regulator set up that comes up a little later.
Beer Line to Coupler

Installing the Drip Tray (optional)

Optional Drip Tray

If your kit came with a drip tray, now would be an opportune time to install it before you put your drill away. Start by locating a distance about 12 inches below your beer faucet. 12 inches should be sufficient for resting a taller flute style beer glass. If you grab the drip tray holder and a bubble level, you can make a couple of marks on the door where the holes are on the holder for the screws. Save yourself frustration by punching a divot with your hammer and awl on those marks. With a smaller bit, drill through the metal exterior of your door. Grab the holder and the pair of sheet metal screws and secure it firmly to the door with a screwdriver.

The plastic drip tray fits on top of the holder and the grid platform goes right on the top of the tray. The drip tray is perfect for resting any glass of beer while or after pouring, but I would caution you, I have not attempted to rest a full sized solid glass pitcher full of beer on it, that might be a little too much. My smaller plastic pitcher did just fine. If you need the capability of holding a big glass pitcher, you might want to look at some of the more robust commercial drip trays, or reinforce this one by running longer bolts with washers and fasteners on the inside of the door.

Attaching the CO2 Line

Attaching CO2 Line
Okay, now that the beer line is ready to go, we turn our attention towards pressurization. First, grab a hose clamp and put it over one end of the red CO2 line. Then slide the CO2 line over the gas nipple on the keg coupler. If the CO2 line is really hard and you can’t get it to slide up, you can soak the end in warm water for moment to loosen it up a bit. Once you get it all the way up on the nipple, slide the hose clamp over the CO2 line around the nipple and tighten firmly with a screwdriver.

Attaching CO2 Line
Next, grab another hose clamp and pop it over the opposite end of the CO2 line. Slide that end over the gas nipple that you find sticking out of the bottom of the CO2 regulator. Once you have it slid all the way up the nipple, position the hose clamp over the CO2 line around the nipple and tighten that one firmly with your screwdriver. It’s important that the hose is all the way up the gas nipples and clamps are very secure to prevent gas leaks.

Filling Your CO2 Cylinder and Attaching the CO2 Regulator

If you haven’t done so yet, have the CO2 tank filled by a professional. Due to shipping restrictions, they cannot be transported with anything in them. You can check with your local beer distributors on places they would recommend having your tank filled, or look for outfits in your area that service fire extinguishers. In Eastern Iowa, HawkeyeFire & Safety would be happy to help. They can supply you with not only CO2, but Nitrogen and blended gasses, and they can check and repair your regulator should it take a fall or grow tired over time.

Hawkeye Fire & Safety Website
Welding supply stores can often fill or exchange your tank. When you exchange, you will likely receive a cylinder with a pretty rough exterior back, but you can rest assured it has been recently inspected. Hobby stores that supply to paintball enthusiasts may be another option in your area.

Okay, now that the cylinder if full, attaching the regulator is pretty straight forward. With the cylinder valve closed and the valve on the regulator closed, thread the coupling hex nut on the regulator on the cylinder. Tighten firmly with a wrench.

Attaching CO2 Regulator

Tapping the Keg

Attaching Coupler
Now we’re talking! Place the CO2 tank with the attached regulator in the back corner of your fridge. Make sure you will be able to reach it to work the valves and adjust the pressure on the regulator. Next, place the keg inside your refrigerator. In a perfect world, you would give the keg time to “settle” or “rest” before tapping. The contents are likely agitated from travel. Admit it; the ride home from the store in the back of your pickup is less than ideal. And did the keg hit every step on the way down to the basement? A 24 hour break in the cold refrigerator is ideal, but I know you’re likely thirsty by this point. Just keep in mind that the beer will flow better after the keg has had time to rest. It’s a lot like shaking up a can; expect a lot of head and foam at first. My advice, go grab a sixer and wait until tomorrow. But to each his own I guess.

Take the keg coupler and mount it to the keg. Do this by inserting the coupler into the locking neck of the keg and rotating the coupler clockwise. It’s best to hold the coupler by the metal parts at the bottom when doing this. Once it’s mounted, engage the coupler’s probe by either rotating the wing handle clockwise (wing style coupler) or pull the handle out and push down until it locks (lever handle style coupler).

Pressurizing the System

The last step (apart from drinking beer) is to pressurize the system with the CO2. Do this by opening the CO2 cylinder valve by rotating clockwise all the way. Then open the valve on the CO2 regulator. This will be “in line” with the CO2 hose. Next you will fine tune the amount of pressure in the keg by tweaking the adjustment knob/screw on the regulator itself. Start out at about 10-12 PSI for most domestic ales and lagers. Rotating the knob/screw clockwise will increase the PSI and rotating the knob/screw counter-clockwise will decrease the pressure. When you decrease the pressure, however, you will need to release it from the keg too. This will happen over time as you dispense beer, or you can pull the relief valve for on the keg coupler for a quick second to vent it.

Spot It Leak Detector
Check the system for gas leaks. The best way is to use this Spot It Leak Detector. Apply this stuff to the system and it will produce a large fluorescent bubble at the spot of a leak. If you would rather save the meager eight bucks, at least spray some soapy water around the attachments and look for bubbles.

Pouring Beer

Finding the “sweet spot” for the perfect pour is an art all into itself. Variables like beer temperature, cabinet temperature, beer type, altitude, beer line length, beer line cleanliness, faucet cleanliness, resting state of the keg, type of glass, temperature of glass, and more all play a role. Check with your beer distributor for the ideal pressure and temperature. Most beers should be kept at around 35°F.

When you pour, make sure you are using a clean glass. You want to hold it at an angle at the proper distance. Too close, you may not get enough head. Too far, and you may get too much head. It takes a little trial and error, but soon you’ll get there. The best tip I have to help you get closer to proper pour enlightenment with a balanced beer dispenser system is to open the faucet fully and quickly. Some folks mistakenly think you can regulate the head by partially opening or slowly opening the faucet. No way, that’s not how it works folks. Always open the faucet fully and quickly. I might let the first millisecond of the flow fall into the drip tray and then insert my glass into the flow depending on the beer type, but I always use a quick draw.

Good to the Last Drop

Kegerator Cleaning Kit
It is essential that you maintain a clean and properly pressurized system to ensure the right taste and appearance pint after pint. The entire beer system should be thoroughly cleaned after each keg or once a month at the very least. The faucet should be cleaned with a faucet brush regularly. Personally, I use this combination faucet plug/brush that cleans the faucet every time I go to pour a beer, that way I don't half to think about it. Wild foamy beer and sour taste is often caused by yeast build-up in the faucet. Clean your beer dispenser with a reputable Beer Line Cleaner (BLC) solution as often as convenient. Rapids builds this kegerator cleaning kit to make this process fast and painless. See it in action on Rapids YouTube Channel in this tutorial that shows you how to use the kegerator cleaning kit.

The CO2 system should be “on” as long as there is beer in the keg. Shut it off when the keg is empty. Replace anything on the system that looks worn out, especially note the condition of o-rings, gaskets, and seals. Rapids carries all the replacement parts needed. You can find them at

Maintain a constant internal temperature. Monitor the cabinet temperature with a thermometer. The most accurate reading would be from a probe thermometer placed in a glass of water inside the refrigerator. This will tell you the likely temperature of the liquid beer inside the keg. Air temperature can vary depending on how the refrigerator circulates the air and where you place the thermometer. I put my thermometer in a glass of water right on top of the keg. 33°F for me, I like cold beer.

And remember, if you have any questions about the Rapids Home Refrigerator Kegerator Conversion Kits, feel free to buzz the Beer Experts at 1-800-472-7431 or jump on their online chat.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Commercial Kitchen Cleaning Chemicals for Tough Grease Problems and Carbon Buildup

carbon off at
Commercial Kitchen Cleaning Supplies at

You may already come to Rapids for your restaurant and bar supplies. But what about commercial kitchen and restaurant cleaning supplies? Turns out, Rapids has that covered too!

When it comes to built-up grease and residue on bake-ware, pots and pans, stainless steel, fryers, and more, our sales reps have several solutions to offer. Take a look at some of our featured options:

Carbon-Off! Aerosol and Liquid Gel

Baked-on carbon that sticks to pans, muffin tins, Panini presses and other items can cost businesses. It can result in premature replacement of equipment, misspent labor, and inconsistently-prepared products.  Carbon-Off! available in both an aerosol can for regular maintenance, and a gel solution for tougher jobs makes carbon removal surprisingly simple, according to Patty Russell, National Sales Manager at Discovery Products, the company that makes Carbon-Off!

Carbon-Off! contains a thick, waxy paraffin that easily picks up residue. Russell demonstrated how it combats carbon for Rapids sales reps at the Marion, Iowa location this week.

Russell advises users to apply Carbon-Off! and then leave it to cool and dry. After only an hour, its job is done. At this point, users can literally peel or brush it away from the surface of pots and pans, taking layers of carbon with it.

See it action, check out this video . . .

Fryer Puck

During her visit, Russell described a tale of wasted labor that may be familiar to business owners serving fried food. It goes like this:

The fryer where profit-boosting French fries and other snacks are cooked needs cleaning. So, you send an employee away from the storefront, prep, or cooking duties to start the cleaning process and to babysit the machine in case the cleaner boils over.
Perhaps the employee gets bored, or distracted, or tired. For whatever reason, his attention drifts. The cleaning solution in the fryer comes bubbling to the top and spills over the edge. It’s back to step one. Meanwhile, you’re one employee down.

The solution? Take advantage of Fryer Puck’s low-foaming formula. It keeps the cleaner from boiling over, works on a variety of fryer types, and spares you wasted labor and a mess.

Russell explains how is works in this video . . .

Brite Shine

If stainless steel equipment in your kitchen is visible to customers, it’s on display and subject to customers’ scrutiny. To keep your reputation squeaky clean, you need to keep your equipment clean, too.

For jobs like this, we offer Brite Shine, a product that strips away grease and allows users to buff surfaces until they gleam. The website for Brite Shine states the cleaners contains only “food grade or other high quality” ingredients.
During a demo, Russell showed sales reps the results of wiping down the commercial refrigerator in our test kitchen with Brite Shine. Though its surface hardly looked dirty to start with, once all fingerprints and traces of grease were gone, the difference was obvious. Now, imagine this effect applied to all your greasy machines!

Live demo in our test kitchen in this video . . .

Foam Plus

Try Foam Plus to clean your ovens and even griddle tops. It can be used while the equipment is still warm!  Simply heat the dirty oven to 200°, spray your Foam Plus, wait a whopping 15-30 seconds and wipe off.  Rinse with a vinegar rinse. Done!

Patty explains how to apply in this video . . .

If you think any of these products might save you time, labor, or hassle, don’t hesitate to give us a call! Rapids sales reps are available to answer questions or place orders Monday through Saturday at 1-800-472-7431 or, you can place your order online at!

Written by Holly Hines

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 11, 2013

Beer Supplies & Draft Beer Equipment from Rapids Wholesale

Click here for Rapids Wholesale Beer Supplies

Our friends from Perlick, in business since 1917, offered us this tried and true wisdom from their unique view of the Foodservice and Hospitality industry.  They note you will always find more PROFIT poured at the bar than cooked in your kitchen.  And draft beer is the MOST PROFITABLE adult beverage sold.  So, if you want to make more money . . . sell more beer!  Sounds easy doesn't it?  Well it certainly can be, but where many bar and restaraunt owners may struggle is in managing the efficiency and quality of how you get that beer to your customer's eager lips.  Mastering this process of distribution and presentation, from ice cold cans or bottles to glycol long draw systems, results in satisfied, repeat customers and bulging bottom lines.

The easiest beer delivery system is a cooler packed with bottles or cans.  Although easier to install than draft systems, they are rarely as profitable.  To insure the highest quality and efficiency, look to quality beer coolers from our vendor parnters Perlick, TRUE, Beverage Air, and Turbo Air.  Sure it is possible to use a standard consumer refridgerator, but rarely are they built sturdy enough to support the load of inventory you will need or the frequency of use.  They are not designed to keep bottles as cold with frequent opening and closing.  Your customers will likely complain about warm beer and you'll be replacing it inside of a year.  You still have lots of options with these affordable beer coolers.

Find Top Load Coolers Here

Top loaded bottle coolers offer higher capacity with the same footprint as a standard cooler because you can stack your product.  Also, there are no doors to swing out and clip the ankles and knees of your service staff.  Open doors can present a trip hazard in a smaller working space like behind a bar.  And your bartenders won't have to bend over as far to grab the product from the top.

Find Display Coolers Here

Display coolers can be used to highlight specialty products.  Although the glass doors are more expensive to produce than solid doors, this can provide a relatively inexpensive merchandising and advertising option.  Let the product's unique packaging advertise itself!  It also allows the service staff the ability to quickly identify a product for speedy retrieval.  Be sure to have your staff always face the stock in these coolers before and at the end of every shift.  A properly faced and stocked display cooler will garner repeat customers when they see their favorite brand is always readily available in your establishment.

Find Beer Dispensers Here

Keg coolers are beer dispensers that resemble back bar coolers, but they hold kegs of beer instead of bottles and cans.  You can find them in sizes that will hold anywhere from one to five kegs at a time.  Equip them with proper beer towers and beer faucets, attach the proper tapping gear and CO2 and you have a complete keg beer dispersal system.  

A big advantage of using a draft beer dispenser is that you can generally store and chill a tapped keg of beer inside a good-quality unit for a very long time and the beer will remain in perfect serving condition.  As long as the lines remain properly cleaned, there will be no change in the taste.

Long Draw systems allow for the kegs to be stored back in walk-in coolers, out of the way.  They require a little more setup to make sure the beer can travel the greater distance and remain cold.  For more on how Rapids Wholesale can help you with whichever beer distribution system makes sense for your place, check out this video!

Also remember that proper serving temperture of beer is between 38-42F.  Kegs are usually delivered too warm and need up to 18 hours to bring down to the perfect serving temperture.  Dirty glassware can  greatly affect the way draft beer pours.  Bubbles will stick to grime on the sides of the glass.  Dust and dirt will cause rapid foaming and obviously affect the taste of the brew.  Foam is 25% liquid, and when your staff is dumping unnecessary foam, they're dumping profit down the drain.  Glass rinsers lubricate and cool the inside of the glass to ensure a better pour.  Serve with a smile!



Paul at Rapids Wholesale