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Mains Beer? Answered

My head occasionally says "what about mains-beer?". Instead of buying stuff to take home, you have a beer-tap on the sink.
Here is how it might work:
You build a distribution centre, which may just be storage, but could also be a brewery, and run pipes around a nearby residential area.
Each home has a beer-meter like a water-meter which is data-linked to a consumer-unit on a beer-tap on a sink.
The distribution-point provides mains-beer under gravity, consumption of which is measured by the meter and data is fed to the consumer-unit. That box displays beer consumption, and via a radio-link informs the distribution-point.
Periodically the lines will need to be flushed, here's how that would work:

> The centre switches the supply from beer to water, which is coloured with a harmless-dye, and radios the consumer-units which display the message "free beer" whilst playing Happy Hour. Consumers vigorously empty the lines while it's free.
When the water hits the meter-unit an optical-sensor calls the consumer-unit to shut off via a solenoid-valve, the consumer-unit reports back to the distribution-centre that water has reached it. After a set period the distribution-centre radios the units which haven't yet reported water to open (solenoid). Any units failing to give an adequate response within a reasonable period are radioed to display a "fault" message and flagged for a service-visit.
The distribution-centre then switches supply to cleaning-fluid, and messages all consumer-units to display "cleaning!" and open up (solenoid). Once sufficient flow has gone through each meter, they shut off (solenoid) and radio-back. Then a water-flush follows in a similar way.
Once the lines have been cleaned, the supply is switched back beer, the consumer units run until they no longer read "water", plus a bit more to clear dead-volume between meter and tap. Then the consumer-units display "read to dispense fresh beer".

Beer is chilled by the ground in which piping is laid
No packaging-costs (cans / bottles / kegs)
Less transport costs
Drinkers have an almost unlimited supply enabling them to drink more than they might otherwise.
No more beer runs when the game runs long or uninvited guests show up (Re-design)
Consumer units can display total quantities dispensed, with cost and "don't you think you've had enough?"

Initial infrastructure cost
It'll work best with poor quality-beer




you put alot of thought into this did'nt you? you must like beer

maybe people could sighn up for different beers,give the consumer unit a breathalizer and it would only give you beer if you were under the legal limit.(of course if this actually happened someone would make an instructable on how to get into the unit and make it give you more/free beer etc.)

The beers would be on a cycle. Breathaliser? In your own home I wouldn't see the need. But the tap could report how much you've poured and ask questions like "hard day at work?" "having a party tonight?" "don't you think it's time you went to bed?" etc.


It depends. Deep ground tends to maintain a fairly constant temperature. If you're piping "cold" in you'll extract heat, if it's "warm" you'll cool.

In my replies previously, the spirit-system:
That would be the neutral-spirit system. Pure vodka is supplied and you have a Wunder-bar system add concentrates at the dispense nozzle.
You'd have a tank buried in the garden and a truck would turn-up once a week like at a filling-station. (or more often if you had a lot of parties...)



What an awful idea.

It would eliminate drunk driving all together.

I think that Kahlua would be better on tap though.  It doesn't taste like ****.

That would be the neutral-spirit system. Pure vodka is supplied and you have a Wunder-bar system add concentrates at the dispense nozzle...


 Like adding syrups to club soda to produce certain variations of soda?

Exactly. Except in that project you'd have a tank buried in the garden and a truck would turn-up once a week like at a filling-station. (or more often if you had a lot of parties...)


Yes. The sort of thing you'll have a 10-tonne tank-truck refill.


This would seem to imply that you folks in the UK only drink one kind of beer, and that it is bad enough that you'd be willing to drink it after it's been through miles of crufty pipe, picking up residues, losing carbonation, etc....

It'll work best with poor quality-beer. Food-grade plastic pipe, additional carbonation if needed...


The line could have a pig run through it periodically to clear any residue in the distribution system.  The meter station would be the terminus of it... leaving the resident responsible for the line in the dwelling.

Oh yes, like water companies... Sorry if your beer is contaminated with sewage, but past that point the pipe is your responsibility.


That is a rather sweeping generalization as I doubt you've sampled the output of all 2079 Breweries operating in the U.S.

to keep the carbonation in the beer (flat beer sucks) you'd have to have the whole system under pressure, or you'd have to have the gravity feed from the source feed into a containment unit at the end of the line that would then pressurize the beer again with Co2. which would require the home user to have a Co2 system on hand...at which point you might as well just get a kegerator put in.

the rest of the system makes sense assuming that during the cleaning cycle each "tap" at the end has the ability to automatically switch to an open drain during the cleaning cycle if no one is home to bleed the line

The gravity feed maintains pressure like a water-tower.
The taps would have full remote-control or default to a "fail" state - flagged for a service visit.


the gravity feed would maintain pumping pressure...but it wouldn't maintain enough pressure on the beer to retain carbonation...or at least i would think it wouldn't.

also places that are at the same level as the "beer tower" would end up with even lower pressure and thus lower carbonation

Well you could distribute CO2 along side I suppose, plumb in a mains water feed and the consumer-unit will also dispense "soda-water" (for the mornings after).



8 years ago

Genious! But for all those households containing underage youth, the system would have to require some sort of identity reading device to keep the young'ins from throwing parties as soon as their parents leave the house. Possibly an I.D. card scanner/swiper?

You could sell it as an extra? Or as the bill-payer ask the company to have the pump (electronically) disabled and flagged for monitoring on the meter while you were away.


Seems like you'd have to either armor-plate the pipes or find a really honest town...no one's going to try to tap into their water line before the meter, but they might think it's worth it for beer.

They would have to dig and with the beer-flow monitored in real time it wouldn't be hard to spot a discrepancy and investigate. The effort involved for what you might get out of it before the supply was cut off wouldn't be worth it.


"wouldn't be worth it"
free.... beer....


You missed two of the best pros.

No more beer runs when the game runs long or uninvited guests show up.

No more driving home from the tavern blotto.

Well yes, I'll add one of those.