From spaceships to hockey sticks: Craft beer taps are flowing across the country with unique designs
TORONTO — In the past five years, beer tap maker Chrislan Ceramics has seen its business double thanks to a boom in the Canadian craft beer industry.
The Maple Ridge, B.C., manufacturer says it produces between 1,000 to 1,500 beer taps a week, up from around the 600 mark in 2012.
Chrislan has designed beer taps featuring rocket ships, dog bones and hockey sticks for juggernauts like Guinness and Labatt as well as smaller breweries like Granville Island Brewing and Lake of Bays Brewing. But not everyone’s a winner.
“A lot of the craft brewers come to us with designs that doesn’t really represent their beer,” says Chrislan sales manager Phil Thatcher. “Whether it’s cream ale or an IPA, we really want that prominent on the tap handle.”
According to the latest statistics from industry association Beer Canada, there were nearly 650 breweries operating across the country, with the majority situated in Ontario, as of 2015.
What’s driving the growth in beer taps, says Thatcher, are the number of craft breweries opening up shop looking to differentiate themselves.
Thatcher said breweries often come with pie-in-the-sky designs that aren’t practical for the bartender or the patron.
Beer taps typically should be about 12 to 14 inches tall, three inches wide with the brewery’s name legible about 10 feet away, Thatcher said. Along with unique shapes, breweries have also approached Chrislan to experiment more with brighter and bolder colours.
It typically takes the company about four weeks to finalize a design to do a minimum order of 25 taps. Costs start at $18 per tap, and can go up from there depending on whether the shape needs to be custom-made. Most tap handles are made out of ceramic, resin or wood.
Thatcher said the biggest tip he has for breweries wanting to catch a customer’s eye with a tap is to be consistent with the design.