Drake’s Eric Paulini Discusses True Beer Service

Drakes Come and Play

In today’s modern age of service culture, operating a bar, taproom or restaurant properly is of the utmost importance. Eric Paulini, the managing partner at Drake’s at the Paddock Shops in Louisville, Kentucky, understands that concept best.

For Paulini everything revolves around customer satisfaction and ensuring how kegs, keg lines and taps are handled.

“With any kind of food or beverage, we’re always looking at sanitation and quality,” explained Paulini. “With beer traveling through those lines, you don’t want any chance of there being some leftover old beer that happens to leave sediments in the line, or old traces that could cause any kind of problems.

“It’s not always just about the quality, but it’s about sanitation too. For us, every other week, our lines are being cleaned. We take a lot of pride in keeping our whole restaurant cleaned. But like I said, we want that quality product.”

With 24 taps and constantly changing beers, Drake’s doesn’t want to take a chance on mixing flavors and styles. In fact, to avoid doing so, Paulini designates certain keg lines to certain styles so that the line never experiences a radically unique flavor.

However, as seasons change, Paulini won’t keep certain flavors in rotation. For example, in winter they may have a wide-variety of Porters, but when they move to summer he may have to change out all Porters for a couple sessionable IPAs and shandys. “We make sure that line gets clean, just to make sure that beer is being served the way it’s supposed to be,” he said. “We pretty much stay on a pretty consistent schedule, unless there is a big season change.

Drake’s keeps more of the darker beers on tap during the colder months due to that’s what sales, but as the restaurant moves into summer, those lines will shift entirely. “That may be a time where we have a few extra beer-line cleanings every other week,” he said. “We try to have specific beers on specific lines too. That way we’re not really running into the problem of putting an IPA on after a Stout. We try to plan it that way too. So we have designated lines for designated styles.

“Right now the bourbon barrel stout is still selling well for us, but as we move into these nice 75 degree days … the session IPAs are a big hit, just because they are a little lesser in the ABV, but still have that nice hoppy flavor. People are really loving those when we bring those on. For example, we’ll be having the Founders All Day IPA on soon. That one always flies out of here. Generally as we move on into the summer months we get those lighter and a little more citrusy and fruity beers coming on.”

The customer experience for Paulini and Drake’s is number one, just as it should be at any bar, taproom or restaurant. However, where Paulini and Drake’s take it to the next level is the seriousness behind providing not only quality beer, but also new beer styles, to each and every customer.


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