Gadget Freak – The History Of The Beer Tap

December 10, 2015


When you walk into a pub or any other drink-serving establishment, and you sit at the bar, do you ever think about how easy it is to get a beer? We’re not talking about bottled beer, but the cold, fresh liquid deliciousness that gets poured into a glass with such ease. The beer tap changed the way the world works – it may not have changed it significantly, but you have to admit that it’s impossible to imagine getting a beer without that nifty little gadget known as the beer tap handle.

The First Drop

Until 1785, beer was served directly from the cask and carried to the customer. Although pretty rare, this way of serving beer is still practiced today and that beer is known as “cask ale.”

As the old English word for “carry” was “dragen,” it caught on and further developed into a whole series of related words, including draught.

The term “draught beer” is still very much used, and it became a term that stands for anything from drinking a beer to drinking itself.

In the mentioned year, a man called Joseph Bramah patented the beer engine, and changed the way people got their beloved drink served to them. Bramah is considered to be one of the two fathers of hydraulic engineering and his invention brought the God-given liquid that much closer to the thirsty public.

About 90 years later, the famed London Gazette mentioned a man called John Lofting, who held a patent for a fire engine. Alas, the patent would soon find another use. As the Gazette read, “The said patentee has also projected a very useful engine for starting of beer, and other liquors which will draw from 20 to 30 barrels an hour, which are completely fixed with brass joints and screws at reasonable rates.”

Pressurized And Accessible

Draught beer started to be served from pressurized containers by the early 20th century, and until the 1950’s, it became the favored method in Europe. It finally swept the whole world by the 1970’s.

Today, every self-respecting beer company offers the option of serving establishments with their personalized beer tap, and 99% of all bars, pubs, restaurants, clubs, etc. provide their customers with this quick-and-easy-to-access way of serving this magnificent, all-time-favorite drink.