Whose Responsibility is it to Clean Beer Lines?

Proper beer line maintenance is an important understanding for Bar and Restaurant operators. Without proper maintenance, Bar and Restaurant patrons can taste a beer’s off flavors and will leave dissatisfied with their experience. Beer, like any other food, can be spoiled by mold, bacteria, and yeast. Moreover, such contamination also ruins the unique quality of each craft beer and so, it’s important all items that interact with beer once it flows from the keg is adequately maintained. With this importance in mind, many operators still wonder- “Am I responsible for cleaning my beer lines or is it my distributor?” and “How often should my beer lines be cleaned?”

Cleaning Facts

First and foremost, all draft beer systems, regardless of the length of its draw, must be cleaned every two weeks. This is mandated by the Brewers Association, an industry group that speaks for the 4,000 breweries in the U.S.

Who should do the Cleaning?

Although many operators understand the importance of line cleaning, they neglect to address the task under the assumption that line cleaning is the distributor’s responsibility. However, that isn’t always the case. Depending on the state the business is located, either the operator or the distributor is responsible for cleaning the beer lines and tap system. Micro Matic, the premier provider of beer dispense equipment world-wide, has provided a comprehensive list of states and the person responsible for cleaning the lines in a photo that says it all. In twelve states, Bar and Restaurant operators are responsible for line cleaning. These states include: Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

In the remaining 40 states, wholesale distributors are responsible for a location’s line cleaning. These states are Alabama, Alaska, Iowa, Nevada, Kansas, North Carolina, Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, California, Maine, South Dakota, Colorado, and Maryland. Others are Tennessee, Connecticut, Mississippi, Texas, Delaware, Missouri, Utah, Florida, Montana, Vermont, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia, Georgia, North Dakota, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Indiana, New Jersey and New Hampshire.

The Beer Line Cleaning Process

No matter who’s responsibility beer line cleaning may be, the operator simply must ensure that their beer lines are properly cleaned. In order to adequately clean your lines, the Brewers’ Association has provided a step-by-step cleaning procedure to follow. First, get the right equipment. Next, embark on the cleaning process. Considering the recommended cleaning cycle of fourteen days, come up with a log for your draught line cleaning. Provide special cleaning services for any gaps that may occur after this ideal time. To protect beer lines during off seasons, provide special service for seasonal accounts. When cleaning the lines, ensure that you rinse faucets thoroughly of beer. Also, check that there is no physical buildup of molds.3 Take note of the following procedures:

  1. Push beer from lines with cold water at a velocity of 2 gallons per minutes within a minimum period of fifteen minutes.
  2. Use an alkaline detergent or other caustic solutions to remove protein and films
  3. Circulate the caustic solution and leave in lines for twenty minutes.
  4. Disassemble and hand clean faucets and couplers.
  5. Remove all cleaning chemicals completely from the lines with cold water.
  6. After rinsing, repack lines with beer
Why we Care

At iPourIt, we care about quality draught beer and a great patron experience, which is why we believe it’s important for all operators to ensure their beer lines are adequately maintained. Our patented software automatically stores your beer and wine system’s maintenance records, so you or your employees can view each time your beer line is cleaned. Contact us to learn more and discover how we find a better way for patrons to pour more and for operators to make more.