Thursday, November 23, 2006

Can't stop fiddling!

For many years Party Kegs were a service provided by the Wayside Tavern.

Delivery, supply of jugs & glasses (some of which would not be returned) educating the party host in how to pour beer from the keg, etc etc. All involved more effort than was reflected by the price charged.

Provision of Party Kegs is/was common practice for pubs, probably a once-a-year or less service to regular (& nice) customers.

Upon delivery to the customer's address, pub staff would negotiate several hurdles, including the following:
1/Demonstrating how to pour beer from a party keg (if it runs into a cup, it is pouring fine!)
2/Dealing with the misguided insistence from the customer to pack the keg into a bathtub of ice (or something like that).
3/Positioning the gas bottle & regulator where party goers cannot get to them.

The inevitable phone call would come later that night: "Sumfink's rong with the keg!" (For some reason this request for help was always delivered as a statement, NEVER as a question)

Having to leave the pub and attend a problematic party keg in the middle of the evening may seem like not much. However, either the bar has to be left short-staffed for a while, or an extra person rostered on for an entire shift. Neither is a palatable option (financially) for the pub.

"Something wrong with the keg" is almost always one of two things:
1/ The keg is empty.
2/ Someone has needlessly fiddled with the gas regulator.

No matter if the keg is empty, or if it is full, the matter will first have been handled by the party host (or someone else) "having a go" at "fixing" the "problem" by dismantling the tap & fittings.

These will be spread (o-ring by o-ring) accross a lawn in the dark, walked on, etc etc.

Just imagine trying to find some of these bits at midnight in a lawn.

A change of times saw party keg requests becoming less common, & mostly from non-customers, rather than regulars.

The Wayside Tavern always was the only pub in town which was prepared to provide party kegs.

So Mine Host took advantage of the change in the Party Keg customer base, and put up the price of a party keg to where it reflected the cost and inconvenience of providing it, and charged a hefty deposit on the ancillary equipment.

This more or less brought Party Keg sales to the desired level of NIL.

Finally it was happily decided to cease supplying party kegs altogether.

Because even experienced backyard party hosts are unable to:
1/ Order sufficient beer kegs to match the thirst of their guests, and
2/ Can't keep themselves from pulling apart perfectly functional equipment (once they have got a few sherbets under their belt.)

1 comment:

Boy on a bike said...

Knowing how to deal with a keg is a rare art. Thankfully, we had the Big T at uni - he speared every keg we ever had, which was a useful skill as he was invited to every party with a keg and provided with free beer.

There are also very few people who know how to run the thing once it's going - too much ice in the box was a common problem, leading to frozen lines. I picked up that skill, and spent many a party pouring beers and chatting up the women queueing for a drink - best non-payed job I ever had. I can't get over how people can't our beer properly. It's not that hard.

It helped that I had one of the few cars that could fit a keg in the boot (and it wasn't a P-76), so the Big T and me were usually in big demand.

Which is why I am now fat, and need to ride a bike to work it off.

The only good thing about a keg is that it was cheap, which is why we used to get between 1 and 3 every weekend. I don't miss them at all.

Particularly when you have to empty one in a hurry. We were given an hour to finish a 10 gallon keg once. 10 of us managed to drink it dry before the time was up. Several garden beds were fertilised with stomach contents at the halfway mark - making room for a few more quick jugs.