Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Evolution of Vended Beer (cont.)

Part II – Jet Packs (1993-1994)

With the problems of pre-poured beer, something different was needed. There were just too many sweaty beer vendors carrying around cups of tap beer.

Along came the experimental “Jet Packs”. This was a remarkable idea that failed miserably. Instead of filling the cups in the room, a beer vendor would strap a mini-keg onto his back and carry cups around. When a customer ordered a beer, the vendor would whip out the tap hose and pour directly into the cup. Sounds like a great idea on paper… right? What management failed to realize is that vendors are mobile and tend to move around erratically.

Now… anyone who has ever thrown a keg party knows that when you move a half empty keg of beer around, it gets foamy. With the amount of movement a vendor does in 2 innings it was shocking that the mini keg of beer did not explode!!

3 or 4 guys gave this crazy invention a valiant effort before proclaiming it a bigger failure than Hydrogen in a Blimp.

Part III – 16 oz Cans poured into paper cups (1994-2000)

Next came my personal favorite, 16 oz cans of beer. These things were awesome because vendors could not just hand them out to customers… we had to open the cans and pour them into paper cups.

Squashed cans by themselves could be thrown onto the field when a team is playing badly. So management decided that if we poured into cups, drunken idiots probably couldn’t toss them more than 4 rows and no one gets hurt. It worked perfectly.

The best part about the cans was pouring them. These were the days when a good beer vendor kept his money in 1 hand, extra paper cups over the beers and a “Church Key” on a rubber band over his left wrist. The church key was your can opener.

There was a critical element to pouring beer from a can into the cups; in order to keep the beer from foaming over the cup, a vendor needed to open the other side of the can to allow air to flow in as the beer flows out. It seems so simple, but this really makes all the difference in the world.

Then came the best part… The POUR. Many vendors could only pour 1 at a time, but the good ones could pour 2 at once. Not only was it faster, but it was a great show.

Here’s the trade secret:

Take two – 16 oz. beer cans in your left hand and palm them at the bottom. Then take 2 20 oz cups and palm them the same way in your right hand. Line both the cups and the cans up so that you can both from 1 hand to the other.

It actually is very easy, but looks difficult. Take a look at this vendor at Wrigley Field as he demonstrates:


Those were the days… I loved the double pour.
People were in awe of this technique. It became part of the beer vendor show.

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