Wines on tap: Should you tap into the trend?

06 September 2016

It all started with prosecco on tap, and with roaring success, it was only a matter of time before said restaurant taps started pouring out wine…

It's all about changing the way wine is served. Tapped wine is the modern way of serving wine

Following in the footsteps of countries like Canada and America, who have seen the success of offering premium quality wines on tap, more and more venues around the capital are following the trend that promises less wastage, fresher product, better sustainability, lower transport costs and a higher volume of wine per palette.

Just look at the last few months of restaurant openings and you'll see the majority serve wine on tap, including Galvin Brothers' Hop, Padella, Morito and Fitzrovia-s latest edition, Clipstone – offering a total of eight wines on tap.

Wines on tap at Muriel's Kitchen
Wines on tap at Muriel's Kitchen

The advantages seem endless. Tapped wine minimalises glass bottle wastage, uses up to 90% less carbon than glass, keeps wine in an optimum condition, lowers recycling costs and cuts wine wastage, with quality wines available - not just house varieties.

It's all about changing the way wine is served. Tapped wine is the modern way of serving wine', says OW Loeb's Rupert Taylor. 'At the start, wine producers were a little doubtful - they associated it with "bag-in-box"  but we now have really reputable producers in our portfolio.'

In a total of 33 restaurants in London, three in Bristol, and with over 300 customers in Ireland, OW Loeb offers 59 wines on tap, focusing on lesser known grape varieties, small family-owned producers, and even offering the first Chablis on tap. Recently working on a sparkling wine, Loeb is looking to up the quality of the market.

'Wines that work better [on tap] are aromatic, delicate, fresh wines,' continues Taylor. 'These taste better in kegs than bottles as it is a gentler process than bottling, preserving the top notes that can often be lost in bottling. Wines such as a Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Viognier work best.'

Working with the Zetter Group across London, wine consultant Martin Lam believes wines on tap are a 'whole different deal'. Speaking to Imbibe, he says that new producers are coming on board, with six alone in the last month. 'If you're a pub chain, you can even gauge the margins and not pass it onto the customer, but if you're a thoughtful restaurateur, you can offer wines by the glass at a more affordable price.'

Muriel's Kitchen is a huge advocate of tapped wine, with four sites across London and around 7 to 9 wines on tap in each restaurant.

Any hesitations we have seen from diners have soon been dashed when they have tasted the wine

'With wine on tap we can provide wine at a really competitive price whilst keeping the quality of the offering high', say co-owners, Sam and Charlotte Miller. 'Any hesitations we have seen from diners have soon been dashed when they have tasted the wine. We're certain the trend for wine on tap is gathering momentum in London and are delighted to be part of the scene leading the way.'

The trend shows no signs of slowing down, pouring into more restaurants than ever, including most Galvin Brothers' sites and Neil Rankin's hotly-anticipated Temper. And if it's good enough for Michelin-starred chefs, it's good enough for us.

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