The Pot Boy e-mail post bag is dominated by justifiable horror stories about Brulines. So yours truly did some digging in the interests of objectivity and consulted an engineer who is an expert in flow monitoring systems working for the RAF.
As we all know, Brulines is the policeman in the cellar to monitor buying out. It’s that simple. Forget all the nonsense about it being a useful Management tool. RUBBISH !! Until very recently when Brulines instigated their new I-Draught system, all monitoring was not in “real time”, that is if someone in your staff is say, under ringing a particular till, it’s no damn good finding there is a discrepancy two weeks later. You want the information as it happens for goodness sake. The vast majority of the Brulines kit is dirt cheap and the results are anything but in “real time”.
The Brulines system is intended to monitor via a flow meter the volume of liquid dispensed. This is then compared with the delivery records assuming you are supply tied, and if there is more being sold (as per the flow meter) Bingo! You must be buying out of the supply tie. The basic, and dirt cheap, piece of kit is the Titan 800 series Flow Meter. You can check it out via Google. The Titan 800 is a simple revolving butterfly wheel. When it rotates IN EITHER DIRECTION it sends an electrical pulse. The meter cannot determine the direction of the flow. It cannot differentiate between water and beer, or for that matter, gas/air, water and beer. The megga problem is with cask ale when inaccuracies of up to 30%, yes that’s THIRTY PERCENT have been noted.
The problem with Real Ale arises when beer degasses in the line. This produces a combination of beer and gaseous CO2 which is known as a “Two Phase Flow”. Accurate measurement of the Two Phase Flow is not possible using a simple flow meter of the type installed in at least 90% of all cellars. The meter consistently over measures the volume flow because, for example on a hand pull there is usually some reverse movement in the pipe which also sends out the same electronic pulse as the beer volume has moving forwards. If you flush through your pipes between barrel changes, guess what, this water also registers as a liquid (beer) dispense. Brulines are addressing this obvious flaw in the new I-Draught system but very few have been installed in comparison with those simple and cheap Titan 800 meters.
The kit should be recalibrated at least every six months by a qualified engineer. If your “man” is not so qualified, and ask him to show proof, then it is quite easy to make a bodge of the job. For example, yeast build up can interfere with the accuracy of the reading. The Titan 800 has not been “Type Approved” by Weight and Measures for what is known as “Use in trade”. That means fining for alleged buying out of the tie. The meter is OK if it is only being used as a management tool, but NOT as a be all and end all system for levying fines. Ask your local Weights and Measures inspector to do some basic tests and for a small fee, prove the inaccuracies of this most basic kit.
Finally, so PB was informed, the Brulines claim of “world leading technology” should not be confused with their Edensure petrol forecourt wet stock management laser equipment. Now that really is spot on, but costs thousands of pounds for each meter and will NEVER be installed in your average pub. No chance. In fact Brulines might just be seeing the long term writing on the wall if the beer tie gets modified or initiatives like Marstons catches on. (they are taking out their Brulines equipment in the fullness of time).It appears that Brulines bought LBI Installations in June 2010.They are one of the few other specialist firms involved in petrol forecourt engineering. B….. all to do with pubs though !!
PBs engineering pal has a lot more to share which will best be left for another time in the near future.
What a distrustful world we live in .Which I suppose was neatly summed up one time by Rob May, National Rent Controller of Enterprise Inns who (unbeknown to him) was sitting next to one of PBs closest chums at a BII Regional meeting and allegedly said “Tenants are all the same you know, all of them are on the make, on the take and robbing us blind”. Sort of puts the evolution of Brulines into perspective does it not !!
Or as Dixon of Dock Green said “Evenin’ All !”
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