Which liquor control system is better: EasyBar or Berg? Today we'll discuss the reliability of these liquor control systems and how they operate and compare.
Your bar isn’t been making the money you think it should and you’re ready to make changes. You truly believe your bartenders aren’t cheating you, but what’s always bothered you is the inconsistency in the way they make drinks – every bartender makes them differently. You’ve heard about liquor control systems and every manufacturer says theirs is the best. Even more perplexing, a close friend told you that liquor control systems are totally unreliable. Friends, I’m here to tell you that a liquor control system may just be THE solid investment you need. Prudent decisions are in order. Which company offers the best equipment and what types of systems do they offer? What about support? All of these factors are addressed in this edition of Design Buzz, and perhaps my perspective will help.
Who Manufactures Liquor Control Systems FOR BARS AND NIGHTCLUBS?
There are many players in the liquor control industry, but the majority is competing in one area or another. In reality, there are only two major players in this business: Berg and Easybar. Many small competitors offer a “me-too” version of the freepour system because it’s the easiest (and least sophisticated of all liquor systems) entry into this complex industry. Berg, which also offers a freepour product, makes its money primarily on its gun dispensing system. With the recent addition of its "Cocktail Pad," Berg joins Easybar as the only companies that offer a full array of liquor control products, including the freepour, gun and self-service cocktail systems. The Easybar products are described in the previous edition of Design Buzz, which you can read below.
The greatest profit center in any bar or nightclub is in the sale of mixed drinks. Because multi-portion cocktails cannot be made with a freepour system, this discussion will be primarily limited to the Berg and Easybar cocktail (gun) systems.
Berg vs Easybar Liquor Control Systems: How They Compare
There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing a liquor control system:
· The quality of drinks it produces.
· The durability of the equipment.
· Dealer support.
· The size of the liquor room used to support the system.
Quality of Drinks
The first thing to evaluate when considering a liquor control system is the technology of each respective system. When considering Berg and Easybar, the evaluation of equipment reliability can be assessed wholly on pump technology, because this is where all the problems occur.
The pump in the Berg system utilizes constant air pressure to dispense the liquor. This is an inherently faulty design, and for a number of reasons:
· Because air constantly interacts with the alcohol, it can negatively affect the taste of the alcohol.
· A solenoid valve opens whenever liquor is dispensed and if the solenoid sticks in the “Open” position, all the liquor will be dispensed. This is known as the “Liquor Jackpotting,” which is the ultimate nightmare for any bar or nightclub owner. Imagine the losses and cleanup.
· Heavy demand during peak hours can lead to huge problems: If six bartenders simultaneously dispense the same brand you will have six short-pours, due to the pressure restrictions associated with the small diameter tubing germane to gun systems.
· If the lines feeding to the gun are installed above the finished ceiling, as often is the case, other problems can occur. Because the alcohol in the lines (consisting of plastic tubing) is under constant pressure, a fire hazard can be created if a line were to suffer a fracture.
A copy of the Berg brochure can be downloaded below.
· The heart of the Easybar system is its “Positive Displacement Pump,” which imposes pressure (not air) on the alcohol by way of diaphragm, only at the very moment it is dispensed.
· The solenoid, placed upstream of the pump, keeps the alcohol free of air and pressure.
· With an Easybar system, drinks are dispensed one-at-a-time, on a first-come-first-served basis. Using the above example, if six stations were to simultaneously call for the same brand at the same time, there would be a momentary pause in all of the guns except the first – the drinks for the other stations would be dispensed sequentially, after fulfillment of the first.
· Because Easybar is an air-tight system, it dispenses alcohol free of air contaminants; this is done safely and with a built-in “Anti-Jackpotting” feature.
· Easybar has masterfully engineered their manifold systems for full product utilization and within the least amount of space. Therefore, back-of-the-house liquor storage is minimized.
So if Easybar has such a superior pump, why doesn’t Berg design their pump system to perform the same? Simply stated, Easybar owns all of the patents.
Berg Company Brochure
Durability of Equipment
The gaming industry has been using Easybar equipment for many years. Folks, this is the acid test for equipment durability. Imagine the volume of alcohol sold in facilities such as these. A busy nightclub or bar pales by comparison. While there are hundreds of Easybar gun systems in existence, I happen to know of several very successful installations. The Riverside Casino and GolfCenter in Riverside, IA has multiple Easybar systems installed more than nine years ago. I also happen to know of multiple systems installed nearly six years ago at the Ho-Chunk Casino at the Wisconsin Dells.
I think both companies are sophisticated enough to offer remote support for routine issues. However, given the simplicity and reliability of the positive displacement pump design, I believe that major operational malfunctions are less likely with an Easybar system. Tom Zaun of Easybar Central told me of a bartender experiencing a minor issue that was corrected by the bartender via telephone support.
Size of Liquor Room
Another of the distinguishing features between the Berg and Easybar systems is the amount of space required for each respective liquor room. Easybar requires far less space. This is accomplished by other innovative engineering by Easybar, which includes dense manifold and rack systems. The goal in any nightlife establishment is to maximize your front-of-the-house area. Easybar is the clear choice here.
Berg and Easybar are probably on equal footing in terms of the breadth of the product lines. However, make no mistake, the inherent nature of the freepour and beer portion systems is less accurate, and also represent a fraction of the revenue generated by mixed drinks. The value alcohol represents to bars and nightclubs warrants the design of the most reliable and efficient automated liquor dispensing systems. While freepour and beer portion represent value, investment in them is justified only when they complement a gun system. To me, the only viable gun system is the one manufactured by Easybar.
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