Partnership formed to bring self-service beer and wine to MI establishments

Posted at 12:15 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 12:15:47-05

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) and Table Tap have partnered to tap into the self-service draft market throughout the state.

Under a new rule, Michigan bars and restaurants with on-premises liquor licenses will now have the option to install beer and wine taps that can dispense up to 96 ounces per order, right through tap handles on customer’s tables (liquor and mixed drinks cannot be dispensed legally).

“We’re really excited to partner with the MLBA to reach out to venues in Michigan,” Table Tap Owner Jeff Libby said. “Seeing the success we’ve had in neighboring states, there’s no doubt that self-service beer will be well-received in Michigan.”

Due to the recentness of the rule change, interested bars or restaurants are likely to have a lot of questions about what, where and how they can install and utilize these types of draft systems.

“Since Table Tap was founded, we’ve made it our number one priority to ensure compliance with state laws in regards to allowing patrons to pour their own in a responsible way,” Libby said. “Our system is designed in such a way so that it can appease or comply with any state laws regarding quantity dispensed. Therefore, we have a really great solution for Michigan with enhanced visibility and control over what operators can do to ensure there’s no underage drinking, no over-service and ultimately that people are pouring responsibly.”

Partnering with the MLBA will also help ensure that this new technology is implemented properly and that it abides by all state laws.

“By partnering with us, Table Tap will always be aware of any changes to regulations that come up and we will be able to help with anything compliance-related,” MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis said. “The MLBA will continue to educate its members through outreach and our alcohol server training program, Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM)®, because compliance could be a big issue with these items.”

Since the rule change took effect on December 9, Table Tap has already received inquiries from several businesses.

“We’ve had about eight parties contact us through our website for more information and we’re currently in talks with several major venues,” Libby said. “We’ve been in talks with the Detroit Red Wings and other Delaware North companies for quite some time.”

Smaller bars and restaurants may also be wondering if these systems are simply a novelty or if they can help boost profits.

According to Table Tap’s website, not only can customers pour their own beer after an installation, but they can also use the fixed tablets on each table to view advertisements about the establishment’s upcoming events, browse the internet, order food and beverages, pick songs for the jukebox and flag someone from the waitstaff. These systems also ensure that every ounce of beer is paid for with no waste.

“I think it will bring people into establishments, and from a cost perspective, it can help establishments manage their beer costs,” Ellis said. “But a key component is that it allows patrons to consume at their own pace. Instead of ordering a drink when the waitress comes around because everyone else orders something, customers are free to pour at their own leisure.”