The fascinating, mystifying tale of pour-your-own beer walls—which began Monday with Stirling & Mull and continued Tuesday with Bonfire Country Bar—chugs along as Brett Jones, the inventor of the iPourIt technology behind the whole system, reaches out to share his thoughts.
Jones says he built the self-serve system with controls in mind to avoid over-serving patrons. "You are only able to pour a set number of ounces (determined by the establishment based on local laws) before you have to talk to someone to reload your card. That brings back the personal interaction to make sure people aren't being over-served." Whether you are purchasing your card for the first time or trying to have it reactivated after reaching the set amount of liquid (32 ounces, in the case of Maine), you will be dealing with a staff member whose job will be to determine whether you can handle more alcohol or not.
Referencing his image used in the piece about Stirling & Mull, Jones continues, "The picture is from a place called Barrel Republic in Pacific Beach, CA. Before they opened people were saying 'that is going to be the least social bar ever.' When it opened it has proven to be one of the most social bars in the area."
Rather than sticking closely to your group of friends, every time you get up to pour a beer, you have a new chance to interact with anyone else pouring a beer at the same moment. With the info screens attached to each tap, people are likely to talk to one another about the breweries, the beers, and more.
For Jones, "The other thing to be excited about is the sampling aspect. At Barrel Republic they have 44 different beers that rotate every time a keg blows. So people are pouring a couple of ounces at a time trying beer they normally wouldn't have ordered. They can then rate the beers they've tried and get suggestions on other beers. It also frees up the bartenders from pouring beer to let them interact with clients and talk to them about the beer."
As the iPourIt website touts, and as Twitter user Mr. Krover mentions, this kind of self-serve system is getting a lot of exposure from John Taffer's Spike TV series Bar Rescue, which is probably why Maine is beginning to see bars going this route. Whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen, but it's useful to hear from the creator of the system how he envisions it functioning in an ideal scenario. Has he changed the minds of any skeptical readers?
· iPourIt: Self Serve Beer and Wine [Website]
· All Self-Serving Coverage [-EME-]