Taster Trays Get a Clear-Cut Treatment

Innovation by | Sep 2016 | Issue #116

When Resurgence Brewing set out to offer taster trays, owner Jeff Ware wasn’t too happy with the options.

“There were several problems with the standard wooden paddle,” Ware says, from labeling confusion (“Paper markers and wet bars don’t mix well,” he says with a laugh) to cleaning difficulties (“the wood would have a moldy smell or attract fruit flies”). And the problems just got worse with wear. “Over time, wooden paddles crack and warp, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and generally start to decline in quality,” he explains.

Looking for a better solution for their beer paddles, Ware and crew set out to build a better taster tray in 2014. The result, dubbed Ultimate Beer Paddles, debuted in the brewery’s Buffalo, N.Y., taproom in summer 2015.

The clear acrylic paddles are lightweight and easy for customers to carry, with four 2-inch holes that fit most standard and snifter tasting glasses. Bartenders can label the beers with dry-erase markers that easily wipe clean. And the paddles can be hand-washed or thrown in the dishwasher.

“Our biggest concern was getting the right material,” Ware says. “We really wanted something that would be smooth enough to write on, easily cleanable, and durable enough to last the test of time in a busy taproom environment.”

After patrons asked where they could buy the product, Ware and his team set up an online store to share their solution with customers and peers. “The brewing industry is a collaborative world, and we wanted to help others solve a problem we knew we must all be dealing with,” he says. “We are not going to get rich on flight paddles. We just developed a cool, easy, cost-effective solution to our paddle problem and thought others could benefit, too. Besides, it’s always fun to see our paddles out in the market.”

Ultimate Beer Paddles are available for $19.99 each at UltimateBeerPaddles.com.