Gentlemen, Start Your Taps
July 18, 2005 - When you need a glass of draft beer fast, inventor Matthew Younkle says he has the solution.
Younkle's TurboTap pours a 16-ounce glass in 2.5 seconds, compared to 8 seconds from other beer taps. More than 1,000 bars in the Chicago area, as well as both Chicago baseball stadium, have begun using TurboTap.
Younkle came up for the idea 10 years ago when he was a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Younkle, an engineering major, created a nozzle that slowed the descent of the beer and reduced the force of its impact. That means less foam, allowing bartender to pour faster. He produced a prototype in college and won an inventor's prize in a campus competition.
He first offered his invention to big brewers, hoping one would buy it outright. When they declined, he began offering the product to high-volume vendors such as stadiums and concert halls, places that operate hundreds of taps at a time. He leases each TurboTap unit for $99 a year.
He hired members of the Chicago Beer Society , who tasted TurboTap Budweiser and regular tap Budweiser in a double-blind study. "Most of us are not used to tasting Budweiser," Randy Mosher, a beer society member who participated in the test, told the Wall Street Journal for a article it published about TurboTap. "There was a lot of, 'Let's see if the foam texture seems better or worse,' and 'How's the hops aroma?' But ultimately we couldn't tell the difference."
TurboTap has some competition. SHURflo, a California company owned by Pentair Inc. of Golden Valley, Minn., makes an electronic beer pump that promises to deliver beer even faster than TurboTap does. SHURflo's Master Tap can pour 20 ounces of beer in two seconds, and it also allows bartenders to adjust the size of the beer's head and automatically monitor the volume of each cup poured, says Michael Saveliev, vice president for the company's fluids solutions group.