A new business focused on beer is a natural for Shelly Sinclair, who spent a decade working in Victoria’s hospitality sector. For seven years, she was bar manager at Tapa in Trounce Alley and, before that, worked at Hugo’s brew pub as head server.
She’s still behind the bar, but now it’s as a technician with Draught WISE, keeping the draft beer flowing smoothly and tasting fresh, at the correct temperature, and with the right amount of foam.
The hours are different from the night shifts that most servers work. Sinclair is now on the job between 7 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. — down time in bars and restaurants when service work can be scheduled.
Draught WISE Draught Integrity Technicians perform maintenance on draft lines and equipment every two weeks. It combines some plumbing, chemistry, and refrigeration knowledge, as well as mechanical ability and all the skills she acquired in the food and beverage business. And marketing smarts: customers can display a shield-like seal of approval in blue and grey to show they take draft beer seriously.
There’s a need for draft specialists like her, partner Gregory Plaxton, and employee Simon Castle, because “systems are large and complicated and intimidating,” she says. One client, the Flying Beagle pub, has 24 draft lines, for example. “Beer systems have to be performing all the time.”
Draught WISE minds the details most beer drinkers don’t even think about. Beer should be served at 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Lager needs to flow at a lower pressure than ale as it has more carbon dioxide in the beer. And something called “beer stone,” a deposit from the yeast in unfiltered beers, can build up in the lines, resulting in a rough texture that increases foam. Yes, draft beer lines get hardening of the arteries.
“As a bar manager, I was responsible for all the beer spilled,” Sinclair says. If the draft lines aren’t right, they might be filled with a couple of pitchers of foam, which goes into
With the growing popularity of craft beers and the proliferation of microbreweries, Sinclair saw a need for a business like hers. But she had to convince her old contacts in the business.
“I had to prove I wasn’t just Shelly the bartender,” she says. “I could
do more than just make a good rum and Coke.”
It helps her sales pitch that Draught WISE isn’t a competitor. “I’m not going in to sell beer. I’m going in to improve the way they sell it.”
Check out the rest of the winners from the 2011 10 to Watch:
Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre | Body Dynamics Headquarters | Cook Culture | Evidents Mobile Dent Repair | Lizard Adventure Travel | Onlyhuman Furniture | Origin Gluten-Free Bakery | Pizzeria Prima Strada | Sterling Financial Accounting Services