Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Evolution of Vended Beer – by Charles Beerwin

Part I – Tap Beer

From the earliest days of the Dome to the mid-90’s all beer vendors sold and carried cups of tap beer. It was filled in the room and we sloshed it around until we sold it. The entire process seems so primitive now.

Vended beer was really an assembly line production back then. It was called a fast fill machine… There were 4 cups in a row, and 6 rows to make up the case of beer. A prep would pull a lever and 4 taps would pour into 4 cups. They would move the line along to the next row and eventually pour this into all 24 cups. Of course, all of these taps would not pour evenly, so a pitcher of "Fresh" tap beer was kept close by to top off any cups that were not full.

After filling the beer, the prep would pull a sheet of saran wrap over the cups and a giant shrink-wrap machine would heat up the plastic and seal it to the cups. It really looked like a giant condom on top of the cups of beer. I still recall the sound of that capper machine… Chunck – Pssssssst – CHEwww.

Chunck was the sound of the huge machine lowering onto the cups (Hopefully centered on all of them)

Pssssssst was the heat melting the plastic onto the cups

CHEwww was the sound of the machine returning to its original position.

Did anyone really believe that a layer of saran wrap on top of a plastic cup was going to keep a beer fresh for 20—30 minutes?

I cannot believe we ever sold beer that way. It’s even harder to believe that people bought it from us. Picture a vendor with sweat dripping off his nose leaning over your beer. Yuck!! Don’t laugh… I saw it happen many times. Vendors still laugh today about the “extra protein” in each beer.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dan! if it were old Irondale guys sweat, I suppose that would be ok.

    I'll be back to Target Field in september, I'll look for you then!

    -Bob Condon