Star Pubs & Bars invests in smartdispense roll out

SmartDispense draught cooling system

Star Pubs & Bars is to install SmartDispense draught cooling systems in 50% of its 1,100 strong estate by the end of 2016.

160 of the company’s pubs will have SmartDispense by the end of 2014 with new analysis showing the average pub is seeing at least a 4% increase in sales as a result of the new technology alone.

The £2.6 million rollout will see Star Pubs & Bars installing the system into a further 390 pubs during the following two years.

Priority will be given to refurbishment sites and those pubs having external redecoration work undertaken. Lessees whose pubs are not receiving capital expenditure will also be able to request installation.

The pace of roll out is driven by the positive response from lessees who site consistency and quality of draught beer and cider, hassle-free dispense and wastage reduction as top benefits.

The SmartDispense technology comes with Perfect Pint staff training as well as four-weekly visits by Innserve to professionally clean the pub’s cider and beer lines and run a 30-point maintenance and quality check covering everything from product temperature to glassware. With no need to do weekly line cleaning, SmartDispense reduces both product wastage and water and cleaning products used in the process at the average pub by 75% whilst also cutting the energy used in the cellar significantly.

Says Star Pubs & Bars trading director Chris Jowsey, “Being a part of Heineken brings many benefits to our lessees, not least early access to new products and services. We are very excited to be able to make this commitment to a product which will save our lessees time and increase profitability whilst buildingsales and their reputation for serving outstanding products by delivering improved quality. Great draught beer and cider perfectly served are one of the unique benefits of drinking in a pub and cannot be replicated at home, providing a key reason for people to visit their local. The hallmark of a great pub is a great pint and SmartDispense makes this easily achievable for any operator.”

Case study: Matthew Rix, lessee at The Blacksmith & The Toffeemaker, Islington, London

“The SmartDispense system is a huge step forward in beer dispense, and long overdue. It’s revolutionary, streamlined and slick,” says Matthew who serves around 2200 pints of draught cider and beer every week at The Blacksmith & The Toffeemaker which caters for a young discerning clientele from London’s creative industries as well as staff and students from the nearby university. It has made a massive difference to my business, slashing waste and producing the best and most consistent beer I’ve come across in my drinking career.”

For Matt and his team, timesaving and reassurance are also key benefits.

“It cuts down on training as it’s practically foolproof. The old system was temperamental and could be daunting for someone with little cellar experience. I could ask just about anyone to use SmartDispense as it’s so straightforward. The staff absolutely love it. The line cleaning and maintenance is done by Innserve to a much better standard than we're able to as their whole business is geared to dispense,” explains Matt.

It’s not just Matt and his staff who have seen a difference. “We’ve had multiple comments from customers. They say they get different tasting beer with varying levels of fizz at other pubs, whereas here it tastes great and tastes like that every time. When customers know they’re getting quality it gives them another reason to choose our pub. As barrel changes are now seamless it also means they’re not waiting around when a keg runs out either.”

Adds Matt, “Although we are paying for professional line cleaning, it’s worth it for the peace of mind. There has been a massive improvement in product quality and, for me, not having to think about this facet of the business is invaluable.”