By Mac Cerullo
---- — A new technology that will enable bars to serve cleaner, fresher and higher quality draft beer is being rolled out in the U.S. market, and Newburyport residents will have the first opportunity to taste the difference.
Late last month, The Port Tavern became the first bar in the U.S. to install the newly developed Glanola system, which is an automated beer line cleaner that allows the bar to quickly and easily clean each individual line the moment a keg is empty, which in turn allows each draft poured at the bar to be the highest quality it can be.
Glanola is Irish for “Clean Drink,” and Port Tavern co-owner David Buckley said the new technology would be revolutionary for bar owners as well as brewers, who will now have a way of knowing definitively that their beer is being served at the quality they expect.
“When they give it to a bar, and if they’re not cleaning the lines, it’s like if you’re a chef,” Buckley said. “You come up with a beautiful meal, and it gets put out on a dirty dish.”
Cleaning beer lines has long been a fact of life for bar owners, because if left untouched, bacteria will start to build up in the lines and hurt the quality of the beer being poured. Until now bar owners have had to clean their lines manually, which can be time consuming and labor intensive with the results often inconsistent.
Most bars in America hire outside services to clean their lines, but there’s another problem that comes with manual cleaning that no amount of expertise can solve. When you clean the lines all at once, you lose whatever beer was still in those lines, which can result in hundreds of dollars of lost revenue.
“Whenever we clean, apart from the cost of getting the service done, we throw about 150 pints of beer down the tubes,” Buckley said.
Buckley said most bars clean their lines every two weeks to a month, but really bars should do it at least once a week, and ideally whenever a keg is empty. People have tried to come up with an automated solution for years, but the trouble is that the cleaning solution used tends to be very acidic, which wears out the machine after only a couple months of use.
That is, until an Irishman named Greg Moore came up with the Glanola patented pull system that allows the cleaner to come in at the end without touching any moving parts, thus realizing the goal of an automated system that doesn’t wear itself out after a short period of time.
Moore founded the Glanola Holdings Company four years ago and installed his original invention in one of his London pubs with excellent results. Moore has been developing the product ever since, and late last year he reached out to Buckley to ask if he’d be interested in getting involved with the company.
“He was looking for some angel investment to finish up the product, and he’s trying to raise some money to launch it,” Buckley said. “I liked the product so much that I personally put in the angel investment and I’d offered to help him raise the funds and actually set up a subsidiary here in the U.S.”
In the months since, Buckley and his business partners Dermot Bolger and Phillip Wynne have been working with Glanola to help bring the new technology into the U.S. market. In addition to The Port Tavern, the Glanola system is also being installed in the trio’s other bars, including Grumpy Doyle’s in Reading, and soon they will be introduced at 30 bars in New York, with more coming soon after.
“We feel there are 200,000 potential customers in the USA,” Buckley said. “And our business plan is only to penetrate five percent over a five year period.”
The product has already proven successful in the overseas markets where it has already been introduced. Buckley said Glanola is already in the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Germany, and the company has developed a successful partnership with Heineken, who have helped distribute the Glanola system to pubs across those markets.
Ultimately, the hope is that Glanola’s US subsidiary will be set up in Newburyport, and Buckley estimates that the company could create roughly 10 to 20 jobs when that happens in roughly a year.
“We’re starting with the New England area, and depending on the feedback we get will determine how quickly we’ll grow,” he said.