Balance and Flow-The Key Behind the Best Draft Beer SystemsMar 24, 2022 10:41AM ● By Jessica Wilmes
Beer drinkers often overlook a crucial component of the “grain-to-glass”process—the draft beer system—the final step in delivering flavor. The maintenance of the tap and its parts is every bit as important as the hops.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Scott’s introduction to craft beer was BoulevardWheat. After that, he was hooked and has been in the beer industry for20 years. Scott has been around from home brewing to retail, working for a brewery and later with a distributor.
In 2006, as assistant manager at Hy-vee Wine and Spirits, Scott flexed his knack for beer, suggesting they carry a variety of craft beers. When his ideas proved successful, the manager let him put whatever he wanted on the shelves. “We had to turn all the six-packs sideways because we had such a big selection but no space!” said Scott.
His interest in draft beer drove him to approach a local distributor to work in the draft department. There he learned how to install the systems and perform proper maintenance. “I loved it!” recalled Scott. “They told me it was an entry-level position, and I told them I didn’t want to do anything else. I spent seven years there in the draft department.”
Working with the distributor, he didn’t have the freedom to provide the service he wanted, but the nudging of his wifeSheri ultimately convinced Scott to take the plunge. “She knew I had always felt like the draft job with the distributor was rushed,” he says. “They are not appropriately staffed to give proper draft maintenance and service to accounts.
I had read the Brewers Association's Draught Quality Manual years ago and knew the way things were supposed to be done, and just always felt like I could be doing a better job. I decided it was time to start Balance and Flow.”
Unlike other draft installation and maintenance companies, Scott personally handles each client. “I tell my [customers] 'When you get me, you get me.' I don’t do a job and then walk away,” said Scott. “Jobs are not done until they are happy and the system is properly balanced and flowing. I am responsible for that setup.”
Throughout his career, Scott has developed a reputation for clean systems. He has worked with multiple breweries, including Fringe Beerworks, East Forty Brewing, Iron Kettle Brewing, and The GoatBrewing Co., doing their installation and maintenance since day one.He also supports the Bullseye Bar and Grill in Lee’s Summit.
To Ensure he provides top-quality service, Scott focuses on one account per day going in early morning to clean the lines and check the system.
The importance of regular cleaning is to keep bacteria that affect the quality and taste of a draft beer at bay. “[Bacteria] is everywhere [and] beer systems are...susceptible to bacterial growth,” said Scott. “Without proper maintenance and cleaning, bacteria will ruin a system.” He continued, “I have seen so many disgusting systems that are completely neglected because proper maintenance schedules are not being followed.“
I actually had stickers made for my accounts to be placed at their entrances: 'Our beer lines are professionally cleaned byBalance and Flow Draft Beer Solutions,'” said Scott. “I wanted to make their patrons think about that and know that they are being served through a pristine system.”
His hope for the future is to continue focused, high-quality draft beer services, one customer at a time.“
I think the world is too rushed—do more for less, do faster,”said Scott. “I take pride in doing it right the first time, properly, and when I leave an account, I am proud because I know I did it by the book! It’s an amazing feeling, and I am so grateful to have great support from my accounts.”
Balance a Flow Draft Beer Solutions