January 30, 2014 6:36 pm
Updated: January 31, 2014 2:02 pm

Whyte Avenue pub introduces Alberta’s first self-serve beer tables

EDMONTON – How many times have you gone to a bar or pub and waited what seems like ages to get a drink? Well, a popular Whyte Avenue pub is hoping to change that with Alberta’s first self-serve beer system.

American native Josh Goodman says the idea for the Pour My Beer system — which is now in operation at O’Byrne’s Irish Pub — came to him about five years ago.

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“I was in a bar and wanted to get a drink and I couldn’t get one. So I started doing some engineering and figuring out a way that people could access beer when the bar was full, three rows deep of people.”

The way it works is, you come into the bar and get a digital wristband from one of the staff members. Each wristband is loaded with two pints of beer per person.

“You sit down, you’ll scan your wristband… and then away you go,” said Cathal O’Byrne, General Manager of O’Byrne’s Irish Pub.

“It’ll show you how many ounces you have to pour, how many ounces you’ve poured. And then when you want more beer, you can just call Jenny (the waitress) over… tell her you want two more beers and they’ll just automatically go onto your wristband.”

O’Byrne’s currently has two self-serve beer tables, each equipped with four taps. The tables are still monitored by staff and the taps are run by technology, which is designed to make sure people aren’t over-serving themselves.

“After you pour your first pint, the table will shut off. So beer will not pour out of this tap… until you reset it,” O’Byrne explained. “It shows how much you’ve had. It shows how much you’ve poured. It shows how much is remaining.

“When you scan this (the wristband), you’ve got approximately six to 10 seconds to pour your first beer,” he added. “Just so someone else can’t come up and snag your beer.”

It’s hoped the pour-your-own beer idea will be a hit with customers, while creating an engaging atmosphere.

“We want them to pour beer, we want them to have a good time,” O’Byrne said. “We’re going to have staff here training people how to pour the perfect pint… it’s going to be great.”

“It’s to get customers engaging in something that they’ve maybe never done before,” Goodman added. “In today’s day in age with sampling and tasting, this opens up that Pandora’s Box, if you will, to allow customers to come in and taste a little bit of every beer.”

O’Brynes’s self-serve tables went into operation Wednesday night.

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) amended its policy regarding the dispensing of liquor service last year to allow for these types of taps in Alberta.

With files from Shane Jones, Global News.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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