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Click here to download the 2023 iPourIt Report! See the most-poured beers and wines, plus insights and trends based on 49+ million ounces of pour data.

Self-Pour Strategy: Build the Perfect Solution for Your Business

After partnering with hundreds of new operators to create custom self-pour solutions, we’ve learned a ton about how to build a profitable tap wall.

We’ve found that self-pour technology is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works really well for one concept may not be a good fit for another.

That’s why we take a consultative approach with our operators to help design a system that will work best for their business’ unique application and location.

Here are a few common application types that we’ll discuss in this post:

Taproom and Tasting Room
Tasting application—guests are exploring new styles and products and typically pouring 5-9 oz at a time.

Casual and Fast-Casual Dining
Ease of use application—there is some tasting going on here but the goal is usually to find a tasty beverage to pair with a meal.

Amenity (Hospitality, Multi-family, Office/Workspace, Clubhouse, Lounge)
Grab-and-go application—patrons are looking to quickly grab a drink and move on and the tap wall is an added element to lower labor costs or increase the value of rent or membership.

Not only have we gained knowledge and insights from 10+ years of experience, but we also have access to valuable historical data collected from every iPourIt system. We use both to create an effective tap wall strategy for each operator.

Potential operators often ask, “How many taps do you recommend on a tap wall?”

To get an accurate answer, we need to determine the tap count that will:

  • Bring in the projected revenue
  • Fit within the available space
  • Attract target demographics

→ FACT: The average iPourIt tap wall size is 38 taps.

REVENUE

To start piecing together an idea of the optimal number of taps for your concept, we’ll take a look at projected gross sales.

This really only applies to concepts in which the tap wall will be a profit center or primary revenue generator for the business i.e. Taproom and Dining.

Here are some examples based on application:

Taproom
Let’s consider a taproom with a small kitchen and tap wall. Our data tells us that in this type of application, the tap wall will produce roughly 70% of the gross sales value.

If they are projecting gross revenues at $1.3M (for instance), then 70% is $910,000.00.

Now we’ll use historical data collected from iPourIt systems to figure out a tap count:

  • The average gross revenue per ounce across iPourIt systems is $0.545—that would require this location to sell 1,670,000 ounces per year or 139,000 ounces per month.

    $910,000/$0.545 = 1,670,000 ounces/12 months = 139,000 ounces per month

  • An iPourIt system in a typical taproom location will pour about 2,800 ounces per tap per month.

    139,000 ounces per month/2,800 ounces per tap = 50 taps

→ In this example, it would be wise to choose between 48–52 taps for this location.

Dining
Let’s consider a casual dining concept that expects to generate $25,000.00 per week in food sales. Their goal is to add an additional 18% gross revenue with self-pour alcohol service, which would be an additional $234,000.00 in alcohol revenue.

Now we’ll use historical data collected from iPourIt systems to figure out a tap count:

  • The average gross revenue per ounce is again $0.545—that would require this location to sell 429,000 ounces per year or 36,000 ounces per month.

    $234,000/$.545 = 429,000/12 months = 36,000 ounces per month

  • An iPourIt system in a typical dining concept will pour about 1,800 ounces per tap per month.

    36,000 ounces per month/1,800 ounces per tap = 20 taps

→ In this example, it would be wise to choose between 18 – 22 taps for this location.

To make it easier to determine the potential profit and loss for your self-pour system, we’ve created a simple pro-forma worksheet. Download the free template and one of our self-pour experts will reach out to schedule a one-on-one walk-through. We’ll use your numbers plus historical data collected from iPourIt tap walls to see how profitable your tap wall can be.

Check out our Self-Pour Pro Tips Blog Post to learn more about how you can use the template to create a pro-forma for your business.

SPACE

Another important consideration for determining the optimal tap count for your system is the size of the space. The maximum number of taps for any system is limited by the amount of wall space that’s available.

Determining the number of taps that will fit in a space

For instance, if an operator only has 1,200 sq ft in their location but wants to build a 40-tap system, we’d recommend reducing the number so that it makes sense for the size of the space.

Let’s say a location has 23 linear feet of space available for the tap wall. What is the maximum number of taps that would fit in a one-to-one configuration (one screen for each tap)?

Check out our Self-Pour Pro Tips Blog Post to learn more about the differences between one-to-one vs many-to-one configurations.

We like to work in inches because the minimum spacing for a one-to-one configuration is 7” on center—so let’s do the math.

23 feet x 12 in = 276 in – 20 in from edge = 256 in/7 in on center + 1 = 37.57 taps

→ In this example, the wall space would accommodate 37 taps in a one-to-one configuration.

Determining the space needed for a certain number of taps

Let’s say you’re building out a brand new location and want to install a 24-tap system in a one-to-one configuration with 10” of space on either side. What is the wall space required?

24 taps – 1 = 23 x 7 in on center + 20 in from edge/12 in = 15.1 feet

→ In this example, 24 taps in a one-to-one configuration would require just over 15 ft of space.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Our data shows that it’s essential not only to consider tap count but also the products that you will be offered (and why). The third piece of the equation is customer demographics and the types of products your target audiences are looking for on the tap wall.

Here’s a snapshot of the pour data that we collected from iPourIt systems in 2021:

Check out the full 2021 Pour Report to see the demographic data we’ve collected, plus lists of the top styles and products poured

Our data points to four main demographic groups:

Female 21–30 – “The Influencer”

Where The Influencer goes, others follow. This group makes up a significant portion of the female tap wall audience. The Influencer actively seeks out fun new experiences and shares them with their friends, family, and social networks online.

Our data shows that this group tends to prefer sweeter, fruit-flavored options and is open to tasting and exploring a variety of products.

Favorites: Hard Cider, Sour Beer, Hard Kombucha, Hard Seltzer, Fruit-Flavored Wheat Beer

Female 40+ – “The Clincher”

This group of female self-pour patrons is key to tap wall success. The Clincher needs to be able to participate otherwise, they can become a veto vote for the rest of the group and sway them to go somewhere else that offers the products that they desire. 

We’ve found this group to be less price-sensitive than the other demographic groups and our data shows that they tend to gravitate towards wines and other non-gluten or low-cal products. Make sure to include these options as you build your strategy.

Favorites: White Wine, Red Wine, Light Beer, Hard Cider, Hard Seltzer

Male 25–35 – “The Explorer”

The Explorer is by far, the leading user of the tap wall. This group likes to try different things— products he hasn’t had in a while or that he’s never tasted before.

The Explorer tends to frequent taprooms and breweries and although they have some go-to products, they’re excited at the opportunity to explore new options. Rotating styles that match the season and craft beer trends are extremely important to this group. Keep things moving—this group gets bored easily and if they keep seeing the same products, they’ll find a new place to go.

Favorites: Light to Dark Craft Beer, IPA, Stout, Pilsner

Male 50+ – “The Loyalist”

We call this group The Loyalist and our data shows that they’re one of the biggest segments of male tap wall users. If your concept serves pizza, attracts a sports crowd, or is near a sporting venue, be sure to offer a good selection of their favorites.

The Loyalist is not as adventurous as the other male age groups and has go-to products like light lagers and big-name domestics. They prefer the products they’re very familiar with and are not concerned with complex tasting notes or IBU stats.

Favorites: Light Beer, Domestic Beer, Import Beer, Lighter Tasting Craft Lager, Pilsner

CREATING A  STRATEGY

Now that we’re familiar with the tap wall demographics and what the data says about them, we have an understanding of the number of taps we’ll need to dedicate to each of our target group’s unique tastes and can create a solid tap wall strategy (still keeping in mind projected revenue and available space).

Based on the total number of taps you decide on, you’ll want to choose the right mix of products from these categories:

  • Domestics – Bud Light, Michelob ULTRA, local favorites
  • Imports – Mexican Lagers, Belgians, German Pilsners
  • IPAs – American, West Coast, New England, Hazy, Doubles, Triples
  • Craft (light to dark) – Lager, Pilsner, Cream, Wheat, Amber, Brown, Stout, Porter
  • Sours – tons of options available—1,340 different products were offered on iPourIt tap walls in 2021
  • Hard Ciders – sweet to dry, fruit-flavored
  • Hard Seltzers – national and craft brands
  • Wines – White, Red, Rose, Sparkling
  • Mixed Drinks – house cocktails and RTD (ready-to-drink) products
  • Non-Alcoholic – cold brew coffee, kombucha, craft soda

Check out our 2021 Pour Report to see lists of the highest-performing products from each category, plus handy insights and self-pour tap wall trends

For inspiration, take a look at some of the tap lists from current iPourIt operators:

Taproom

Whistle & Keg | Youngstown, OH – 44 Taps

First Draft Taproom | Minneapolis, MN – 54 Taps

Pour Taproom Beltline | Atlanta, GA – 85 Taps

Dining

Mountain Pizza & Taproom | Pagosa Springs, CO – 20 Taps

Smokin’ Oak Wood Fired Pizza & Taproom | Omaha, NE – 25 Taps

Treno Pizzeria & Taproom | Temple, TX – 36 Taps

Amenity

Kennedy Space Center Lounge | Florida – 6 Taps
Anheuser-Busch – Bud Light
3 Daughters Brewing – Key Lime Cider
14 Hands Winery – Cabernet Sauvignon
Dead Lizard – 3-2-1 Liftoff Light
Elysian Brewing Co. – Space Dust
14 Hands Winery – Chardonnay

Homewood Suites | California – 8 Taps
Illy Brewing – Iced Coffee Classic Roast
Leese-Fitch – Cabernet Sauvignon
North By Northwest – Chardonnay
Homewood Suites – Margarita
Elysian Brewing Co. – Space Dust
Golden Road Brewing – Mango Cart
Stella Artois – Stella Artois
Anheuser-Busch – Michelob Ultra

The George Apartments | California – 10 Taps
Port Brewing Co. – High Tide
Embolden Beer Company – Brave The Haze
Fountain – Blueberry
Fountain – Hard Seltzer Mango
Embolden Beer Company – Beyond Borders
Calidad Beer – Mexican-Style Lager
Harland Brewing Co. – Hazy
Altamont Beer Works – Maui Waui
Golden Road Brewing – Mango Cart
Royal Buna – Ethiopian Cold Brew Coffee

→ For grab-and-go applications with lower tap counts, we recommend following the 80/20 strategy. Our tap wall data shows that 80% of tap wall patrons are drinking lighter, easy-drinking products—we suggest focusing on those and experimenting with some top-performing products from other popular styles.

Ready to build the perfect tap wall strategy for your business? Contact us at 949-270-0556 to speak with a self-pour expert.

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