A Chicago-based company that received a flood of publicity for speeding up draft beer dispensing in sports stadiums – making a gadget that Time magazine ranks as one of the coolest inventions of 2005 – has begun selling Turbo Tap to home drinkers as well.
A large practical advantage that Turbo Tap offers – pouring more beer for more customers in less time – may not matter to those dispensing beer in their rec rooms and basements, but they are attracted to the speed and even more to the claims of higher efficiency.
Laminar Technologies claims that Turbo Tap can yield up to 30% more beer from a keg (20 more beers) for people who have no experience pulling beer.
Tiny wings inside the tap keep the fluid moving in a steady “laminar flow” which allows beer to move more quickly through fatter tubes without causing excessive foaming. The elongated, tapered tap fills cups from the bottom, preventing gravity from taking over and causing a foamy splash.
Since a pre-launch e-mail went out to supporters Nov. 2, the company has shipped about 25 a day, said Laminar president Matthew Younkle. The home versions sell for $179, or $209 for the tower model, compared to stadiums, which lease the taps for about $99 each a year, plus consulting and maintenance fees.
The Turbo Tap’s main market will remain the big stadiums with hundreds of taps to convert, Younkle said. If home sales reached 10% of the total, “we would be thrilled,” he said.