Perfect Beer Talks Season 2 Episode #6 | with Advanced Cicerone, Chris McClellan

Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of Pubinno's Perfect Beer Talks Webinar. 

Today's special guest is somebody who has over 15 years of experience in the beverage and beer industry, but not only that, he's also an Advanced Cicerone and has also founded three companies.

In this episode of Perfect Beer Talks we had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Chris McClellan and talk about his 15+ years of experience in the beverage industry, his take on it and the future of draft. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQcGWKeAFkA&t=1037s

Chris’s Journey in the Beverage Industry

I've loved beer my entire life and I'm very happy to be working in this industry for over 15 years now and, even to this day, it's that love of beer that keepsme going, he said. 

His first job was working for Magic Hat Brewing Company, a really famous brewery in the US where he worked in the sales and marketing team. 

“And then I guess the bug bit me.” Chris said 

Chris, who has lived in New York City for a little over 10 years now,  worked for Guinness for the 1st 6 of those years where he led a national education and training program in the US for Guinness. This program included a lot of focus on great draft beer and great Guinness in general. 

“And so that kind of renewed my focus on, just the quality discussion around beer and specifically the lack of knowledge and understanding and accountability and resources, that exists here in the U S for, for great draft beer. So that inspired me to start the Draught Shop, which I've recently gotten off the ground and that's going to be a full platform that provides not only tools but also resources for the beer industry” - Chris McClellan

Chris told us that his hope is to build the first consumer facing draft quality brand that customers recognize so that we have some awareness of what quality standards are and so that when customers see that, Draught Shop sticker on the door of a bar or pub, they’ll know that the place they're  going to does actually serve great beer. And you know, great draft beer means great sales and better sales and better experience for everybody.

“You know, you can go to the biggest issues on planet Earth, and it's just a lack of awareness and understanding of what the actual problem is and this ignorance is pervasive and it's so pervasive at both the bar owner and decision makers. But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the pint in the consumer's hand. That's the only thing that matters. Nothing else is relevant. It's your only standard.” Said Chris

Draught Shop

The draft academy is an intensive one day class that Chris created which is a very robust curriculum built in a seven hour class. 

“Let's say you walk in with almost no knowledge of draft systems aside from you've seen draft beer being poured, right? That's about it. By the time you leave that day, you should be, you know, out of 10, you should be around seven or eight.”

In terms of your draft knowledge and understanding, for anyone who cares about serving great beer, for anyone who wants to know more about draft beer, it's a class that Chris runs in New York.

The directory on the other hand, Chris says, is just going to be a resource that will actually allow you to search locally for the draft resources that serve and pour great beer. So that includes draft line cleaning services, dispensing installation services, and everything else that makes for a great draft experience. 

Pubinno’s Journey

Pubinno has been  around since 2016, and we've noticed that one of the biggest problems that people have is not, not that they don't want to drink great draft beer, but it’s that they don't know what they're drinking right now is not always good, so they don't know, what makes a quality draft beer, what makes a good beer. We also noticed that for us to be able to have people understand the work we are doing revolutionizing the draft industry by incorporating AI-Powered solutions, we first had to educate them on the problems that they had. And the data provided by the Smart Tap and Smart Clean made it possible for breweries, bar owners and bartenders to understand what problems they had as well as helped them make decisions to better they’re business. 

Now Pubinno works with 4 out of the top 10 biggest breweries in the world, present in over 60 cities across 3 continents. 

What differentiates a great draft beer from a good one? 

Chris said that for him what differentiates a great draft beer from a good one is a combination of all the technical specs that you've got dialed in that really do make the beer taste better, genuinely better. So if we take the example of Guinness, a perfect example of that iconic pint of Guinness that really exemplifies what great draft beer is. The kegs are the same. So everyone can serve the same quality level of Guinness. It's not impossible. It's just that most people don't. 

And it's a result of lack of focus and lack of understanding. For me Chris says, great draft beer is a combination of a great experience. So clean lines, clean glassware. correct gas, correct temperature, and all the components that make the beer just land right where it needs to. And the other 50% of what makes up for a great experience for me is the environment and the company. 

Meaning of the Word Pub and its history. 

As some of you might know, the original meaning of pub stands for public houses. Public houses first appeared in Britain in 1859 and there were places where people would gather to hang, talk and exchange knowledge. It is amazing to see that over one century later the real purpose of pubs is still being honored and the tradition of people gathering together to not only enjoy a great pint but also have quality time still goes on. 

“I want to talk and I want to hang out and I want to be part of the community. And so my favorite place is to drink beer.  You know, I love breweries and I've, and I've worked at breweries. We've started breweries. It's so much fun. Um, but my favorite places to drink beer are still great pubs.” said Chris

Chris's Go to Places for the Best Draft Beer in New York City 

So locally, I've got a couple of great breweries. We've got Strong Rope Brewery, which makes great local beer and they use 100% locally sourced New York State ingredients.

Wild East Brewing Co. makes fantastic laggers.  And I could go on. I mean, there's also Five Boroughs Brewing Co. who are also making fantastic beer. Of course, the brewery we started is in Manhattan Torch and Crown who are making great beer. 

“I'm just, I'm still a fan of beer.” - Chris says.  

When it comes to some of his favorite pubs, Chris did not forget to mention some classic locations in New York City such as the Dead Poet in Manhattan, and Swift Hibernian Lounge, which is famous for its pint of Guinness, Bar Great Harry who only serves a wide variety of, you know, very rapidly rotating beers.

Fun little known Fact about Beer from Chris McClellan

Beer has been the people's beverage long before every other alcoholic beverage on planet earth. Way longer than wine or spirits or anything like that beer has been around for 12, 000 years.

So this was the original great beverage. I think it continues to be a great beverage, you know, so it points to its longevity.

In ancient Egypt, which was one of the great beer making civilizations, thousands and thousands of years ago, the Egyptians, the Sumerians, right?

In ancient Egypt, which is one of the great beer making civilizations, if you made a bad batch of beer, you were drowned in it as a punishment. So they took their beer seriously. So they, you know, and granted, this is probably a, you know, uh, emperor, emperor decree from the Egyptian monarchy, you know, or whatever, but it was still, it's true.

Innovations that will have an impact in the beverage industry according to Chris McClellan

Chris said “I think technology products like Pubinno do change the way that we interface with our products a little bit, and I think that that's going to continue to be implemented and used at scale.

So I'm excited to actually see what these products can do and where they can slot into the market.” 

The other thing I think is going to happen is we're going to continue to see a rapid improvement in beer quality. As the companies who are in the business are in the business for the right reasons.

These were only a few of the things we discussed with Chris in this Perfect Beer Talks webinar. If you would like to watch the full episode click here

And if you would like to learn more about Pubinnos Smart Solutions click here

Cheers till the next one!

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History of Women and Beer: Women who are Changing the Draft Industry