In a perfect world, watching a football game with a group of friends at your favorite pizza parlor would never be interrupted by waiting in line for a pitcher of beer. Turlock Pizza Factory owner Brent Jonson envisioned this world, and, wanting to bring it to Turlock, recently installed the city’s first self-serve beer wall – a 10-tap display that allows customers to pour their own beer.
Thanks to the revolutionary technology of iPourIt, patrons at the Pizza Factory can pour their own drinks straight from the tap with just a few simple steps. First, a Pizza Factory employee swipes the customer’s ID, credit card and an iPourIt wristband into the system, opening a tab for the customer.
The customer can then head over to the beer wall, where 10 beers with digital displays are available, and tap their wristband to a Pizza Factory logo on the tap of their choice. Customers are free to pour however much beer they’d like into their glass; whether they choose to fill the whole thing or just sample a taste is completely up to them, said Jonson – one of the many perks of the restaurant’s new addition.
“The beauty of the beer wall is that you can try out a beer you would have never bought anywhere else because you’re actually able to sample it,” said Johnson. “And if you like it, you can pour a little more.”
The iPourIt system tracks and monitors every pour, allowing each customer to pour themselves 32 ounces, or two pints. If a customer reaches their limit, Pizza Factory staff evaluates their sobriety and determines whether or not they can pour another 32 ounces.
Pizza Factory’s beer wall has only been in for about a month, said Jonson, but already, customers love it. With the wide variety of craft beer distributors surrounding Turlock, he hopes to keep the taps stocked with beverages that many community members can try for the first time, with a selection that changes regularly. The wall’s current lineup includes brewers like ACE Premium Craft Ciders, Ballast Point Brewing Co., Idigeny Reserve and Drake’s Brewing Co., to name a few.
“What I’m looking for from my distributors is the small craft beers, the small batches, the stuff these breweries are making that not everyone can get…I want to be a place where people can come try different beers,” said Jonson. “I’m trying to stay as local as I can.”
Jonson knows that the pizza parlor isn’t the first place many beer enthusiasts think of when they’re looking for a place to sample different craft beers, he said, but he’s hoping the Turlock Pizza Factory can change that.
“It’s really fun to go taste some beers, try them and venture out without going anywhere exotic. You can go to the pizza place and have some cool beers,” said Jonson. “And, it complements the food.”
Some customers have been wary of the change from the usual “pizza place pitcher” of beer to smaller, pour-your-own glasses, Jonson added, but in the long run, it’s smart for both his business and the customer’s time.
“For the most part, people love it. On busy nights when you don’t want to wait for the staff or stand in line to get another beer, you just stand up and pour your own,” he said. “From a business standpoint, I’m wasting less beer. From a personal standpoint, it’s just cool! It’s awesome to go up there, look at 10 beers and say, ‘Hey I could choose any one of these.’
“It’s awesome, and it’s part of why I wanted to do this.”