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How to Properly Clean Pour Spouts, and How it Helps Your Inventory

Cleaning pour spouts
Staff Training, Restaurant Inventory, Bar Inventory - November 15, 2021 Written By: Brianne Shelley

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Pour spouts are probably the most exciting part about working behind a bar… Said no one ever.

Sure, it might not be the most glamorous topic. But let’s face it, do you know how to properly clean a pour spout?

Maybe there’s a way “that we’ve always done it” - but is that the correct way?

Cleaning pour spouts properly is essential for extending their use and ensuring that they continue to pour smoothly and accurately. This accuracy is crucial to your bar inventory management process.

In this blog, we're going to take a look at why cleaning your pour spouts is important for your inventory management practices, what types of pour spouts you can use as well as the do's and don'ts of pour spout cleaning.

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Types of pour spouts

There's no such thing as the best pour spout, it depends entirely on what your priorities are as a bar. Different bars have different requirements when it comes to pour spout appearance, pour speed, pour spout durability and precision. 

Here are a few of the most common pour spouts and how they differ.

Standard metal pourer: The most commonly used pourer, the standard metal pourer has a high flow rate and a long spout to reduce spillage and allow for precise pours. This pourer is used to prepare drinks with accuracy and speed.

Tapered metal pourer: Offering a medium flow rate, the tapered metal pourer is used for accuracy, control and consistency, but is susceptible to contaminants. 

Screened metal pourer: With a lower flow rate compared to standard pourers, screened metal pourers are typically used to protect sweet liqueurs from bugs. However, they are hard to clean and their slow pouring ability makes them one of the least popular pourers to use. 

Metal flap pourer: This pourer features a built-in flap to keep out bugs and other contaminants. 

Standard all-plastic pourer: Cheaper than metal pourers, the standard all-plastic pourer is durable and a common find behind most bars. They also come in different colours which can be used for a bar's branding. 

Chromed plastic pourer: Offering a more stylistic look and more control over pours, this type of pourer is a common favourite among bartenders - with a fast and accurate pour. 

Ball pourer: Designed to allow pours of 1oz to 1.5oz, thee pourers administer strict quantity control to provide consistent and accurate pours. This can improve a bar's control over their inventory.

Computerized pourer: This type of pourer is linked wirelessly to a bar's point of sale (POS) system or inventory management system, and send data to those systems that help the accuracy of a bar's inventory control.

Why cleaning your pour spout is crucial to your inventory management

As we've discussed in previous blogs, inventory management in your bar is one of the most important things you can do to improve the profitability of your business. Proper inventory management gives you oversight of your stock, helps you make better ordering decisions, provides insights on costing and helps you create a menu of hight-profit items.

For successful inventory, however, your inventory data needs to be accurate.  Overpouring can have a huge impact on how profitable your business is.

That's why your bartenders use pour spouts, to ensure that your inventory data is accurate and that overpouring isn't taking a dent out of your bottom line.

The challenge is, when pour spouts are dirty and become blocked, liquid doesn't come out of the bottle as it should. This prevents for the smooth, fast and accurate pours that pour spouts are supposed to allow for.

To ensure your pour spouts are working and that they are being used to maximize your ROI, it's crucial they are cleaned properly.

The do's and don'ts of pour spout cleaning

Here are some tips for what to do and what not to do when it comes to cleaning pour spouts:

✅ Do: Use soap water

Soaking pour spouts is a great method. To make sure they get disinfected, soak them in warm, soapy water for 10-15 minutes. Some people prefer to soak them overnight which also works fine if they’re plastic, but make sure to quickly dry the metal ones to protect against rust.

✅ Do: Rinse the pour spouts

After you soak you pour spouts, be sure to rinse them in cold water. You certainly don’t want your patrons getting soapy cocktails!

✅ Do: Clean (at least) every two weeks

It’s important to stay on top of the cleaning schedule. Make sure to constantly rotate through your pour spouts to ensure they’re clean and pouring with accuracy. Especially be sure to check the more sugar dense liquors because these tend to get clogged more easily.

❌ Don't: Just use soda water

Soaking pour spouts in soda water is a very commonly used practice. Yes, soaking them is the right approach but don’t just use soda water. Why? Because it has zero antibacterial properties. Maybe it’ll wash off some of the stickiness but it certainly won’t get rid of any potentially harmful bacteria.

❌ Don't: Use abrasive detergents

Be sure to avoid using bleach or other strong cleaners. These may cause damage to the pour spouts and shorten their length of use.

❌ Don't: Use super hot water on metal pour spouts

When washing pour spouts, it’s important to avoid using SUPER hot water. If we want them to last for a while, we need to be careful not to accelerate the rusting!

Want to learn more about properly cleaning your pour spouts? Check out the video below or contact Sculpture Hospitality today

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Program your POS system for Inventory Control

Many restaurant operators have an expectation that their investment in a POS system will cover their inventory control needs because of how the systems were marketed.  As many have learned the hard way, this is just not true.

POS systems alone will not prevent inventory and sales losses.

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