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Arc3 CO2 and Nitrogen Beverage Gases

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The success of any hospitality business depends upon repeat customers and good reviews. From menu items and beverage selections to atmosphere and service quality, attention to detail is what separates successful hospitality businesses from their competitors.

One of the key components of a high-quality customer experience is delivering great tasting beverages at the taps – the first time, every time. A properly designed beverage delivery system reduces costs and allows the staff to focus on providing a superior level of customer service.

Arc3 Gases has decades of experience serving the needs of the hospitality industry. We’ve created this top tips article to help businesses ensure their beverage management systems are cost effective, trouble free, and consistently deliver a high-quality product to their customers.

Long Draw Systems

The distance between the beer source and the taps impacts system design and costs. The longer the distance is between the two, the more expensive the system is to build and maintain.

Pushing beer from a cooler in the back of the building to the bar in the front will require that you install and maintain a glycol system to keep the beer cold all the way to the taps. In addition, if you try and push the beer from the source to the taps using just CO2 gas, you will end up with over carbonated foamy beer. You will have to use a blended gas mixing system to get the pressure you need to push the liquid to the taps and not over carbonate the beer.

Both systems are expensive and will take a big chunk out of your beer profits. A lot of restaurants and bars have long draw systems, but many businesses are now locating their cooler behind the bar and mounting the taps on the outside cooler wall. The beer stays cold, and foam is not a problem using straight CO2.

Bulk Tanks vs Cylinders for Low Volume Applications

Although many businesses that use a small volume of CO2 assume that individual cylinders will be cheaper than bulk tanks, this is not always true. You might be surprised to learn that if you are using more than 2 cylinders per month, you can save money by switching to a bulk CO2 tank.

Bulk does not always mean big for CO2 tanks. Bulk tank providers offer compact units in all shapes and sizes to accommodate a wide range of applications and floor space requirements.

Bulk Tank Installations

Many hospitality businesses prefer to install their bulk CO2 tanks inside their buildings. But installing bulk CO2 tanks outside is also an option. The CO2 tanks’ high-grade stainless steel outer shells protect them against the elements, which allows businesses to install them in exterior locations. For inside installations, a fill station will need to be placed on an outside wall to supply the tank with CO2 and vent any excess carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

A best practice during installation is to keep the tank as close to the fill station as possible. Fill hoses have the same temperature as the surrounding room area. As the fill hose length increases, the more susceptible the CO2 becomes to those room temperatures. This isn’t a problem for short runs that are 5 to 15 feet in length. The longer the run, the more liquid CO2 you will lose as the room temperature continues to convert the liquid to gas.

A particularly challenging scenario is when businesses are required to run the fill hose through the attic space where temperatures can reach 130 degrees or more. There may be cases when there is no other option but remember that heat is the enemy of CO2. You need to keep the hose runs as short as possible. Excess heat can cause you to lose 25 or more pounds of CO2 by the time your tank is finished filling.

Syrup Rack Installations

For carbonated soda dispensing systems, one of the key best practices is to keep the syrup rack inside your building. Some businesses choose to install the racks in an out of the way place like a closet at the back of the building or an outside structure.

When a syrup container empties, it will begin to pop as the pump tries to push syrup that is not there to the fountain. Although you may find the incessant popping noise annoying, it is also letting you know that you need to change out an empty syrup container.

When the containers are in an area where they cannot be heard, you will end up losing a significant amount of CO2 as the empty syrup pump will continue popping until the CO2 tank eventually empties or loses pressure.

Either way, you will be out of the drink dispensing business until you can get an emergency CO2 refill.

Pros and Cons – Bulk Tanks and Cylinders

Unlike bulk tank systems, CO2 cylinders do not need to vent excess pressure so you will be able to use all of the gas you purchased. If the gas in a bulk system is not used on a regular basis, the tank will eventually begin to exceed its maximum psi of 275 to 300 and begin venting CO2 to reduce excess pressure.

Only very low volume CO2 applications will experience tank venting. But even in these cases, the lower costs for bulk CO2 when compared to cylinders will usually offset the gas lost during venting.

In addition to reduced CO2 costs for bulk systems, you also won’t need to worry about changing cylinders during peak periods. When a CO2 cylinder runs dry, your staff has to switch their focus from customer service to replacing the cylinder and dispensing the soda down a drain until the proper level of carbonation returns.

Since the cost of syrup is much higher than CO2, replacing cylinders will reduce your profits. Your staff will not need to perform any cylinder wrestling with a bulk tank delivery system.

A bulk CO2 tank should be out of sight and out of mind, and maintenance free.

Thanks for reading!

Wendall Barclay

Arc3 Beverage Grade Gases
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