How to serve the perfect pour of draught

How to serve the perfect pour of draught

The year 2023 marks 150 years of Heineken, a brand that is now available in more than 192 countries around the world. It seems apt that we’re helping celebrate it in Pune, with the launch of Heineken Silver Draught.

Franck Evers, Global Draught Master for Heineken, helps pilot the launch of their draught beers in markets around the world. He was in India recently to conduct training programmes for bartenders in key markets of Mumbai and Pune.

The programme covered the Heineken Star Serve, with a special focus on Heineken Silver, whose draught variant has recently launched in Maharashtra.

Interestingly, Franck’s initial education qualification was as a nurse, a psychiatric nurse, a quality that helped him down the line when he turned bar owner. He used to live above a bar in the town of Nijmegen, and often helped the owner in cleaning up the bar, till it became a regular part-time job for him.

At the age of 22, Franck worked as a tennis trainer from 7 am to 2 pm, as a psychiatric nurse from 3 pm to 9 pm, and then in the bar from 10 pm to 4 am. The next day he would do it all over again!

The upside of this was that he earned enough money to be able to buy the bar from the owner and run it full-time as a career by the age of 25. What happened next was pure chance, or perhaps sometimes you make your destiny.

Destiny’s design

In the course of an interview with a magazine, he mentioned that he would love to meet Freddy Heineken, the then CEO of Heineken, whose grandfather set up Heineken in 1864.

That chance comment led to a meeting with Freddy himself, and the realisation that Franck knew so little about beer, a product that accounted for half of Franck’s sales. He steadily began to educate himself about beer and its service and was an avid participant in any related competitions.

At the beginning of 2000, Heineken then allowed him to train bars across the Netherlands. After 2 years of this, they began to measure if the places where we did the training sold more beer, with their analysis leading to the conclusion that those bars were doing better post-training.

About 500 bars signed up in the first year, each paying 600 Euros to be a part of the programme, and by 2018 this had reached a peak of 2,500 bars annually. By 2005, the programme was taken internationally, as Heineken draught expanded into new markets.

As Franck travelled around the world, he found that every market had a different approach and a different name, from ‘A Cut Above’ to ‘Raise the Bar’, but in the end the same message.

Based on the programmes he observed, he then created one master programme titled ‘Heineken Star Serve’ which, at its peak, was delivered by Franck and his team in 30 countries in a single year.

‘It’s like sex’

The Heineken Star Serve aims to address common customer irritants when served beer – such as dirty glass, the wrong temperature, or problem with the foam. One of the key objectives of the programme is therefore to keep CO2 in the glass and oxygen out, to prevent oxidation of the beer. Foam is that barrier!

“It’s like sex,” Franck says, “You should have protection when you have sex and the same applies to beer.  Don’t drink it without protection.” The key elements of the Star Serve are:

  • Cooling and cleaning the glass. This helps in foam retention as the CO2 stays in the glass.
  • The nozzle of the tap should not touch the glass or else impurities may get transferred to the glass.
  • Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle while pouring. Franck says it’s easier to make foam than get rid of it earlier.
  • Use a skimmer to remove the excess foam from the top of the glass.
  • Serve it with a smile: ‘Enjoy your Heineken!’

“Why do you think what you do is important?” I ask Franck. In reply he says, “The weakest link between brand and consumer satisfaction is the least trained person. Heineken checks every drop of beer 85 times and spends several billion dollars a year on marketing.”

So, from raw material to bar, Heineken has it all under control. “But from tap to table, we put our brands in the hands of the weakest link and that’s very dangerous. If we can touch those people and make them the owner of quality, then I’m sure they’re going to treat our brand differently and better,” Franck adds.

From his experience around the world, Franck also believes that the future is draught, because draught beer is more profitable for bar owners. And a premium brand like Heineken can help bring in a different clientele as well as help increase profitability.

It is Franck’s first visit to India, and with his favourite movie being Eat, Pray, Love, it’s no surprise that India was already on his bucket list. He says that he had some expectations, but he frankly didn’t expect it to be this good.

He is looking forward to returning to a market that ensures, based on his training, that every drop poured of Heineken is perfect. Something worth raising a toast to!

Source: Brews and Spirits Magazine

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