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Insight Why Bars and Restaurants Mark Their Tap Handles

Q: I saw a bartender switch out kegs from one type of beer to another, then change the tap handle before pouring. Does it really matter what tap handle is on the faucet?

Apart from advertising the beer to customers, bars are actually required to change out the tap handle when swapping out the beer running through that particular faucet. In Idaho, every bar and restaurant has to either display the trade name of the beer itself or the brewer’s trademark on the tap handle.

This rule is designed to protect us from bartenders who might charge for one beer, but pour another. The law was enacted in 1961, at a time when consumers were choosing from watery big-brewery lagers and did not have access  to the variety  of beers we have now.  Today the law could be even more relevant given that people are often unfamiliar with new beers a bar has on tap and might not know if the bartender has made changes.

*This Q&A article was originally featured in the December 2014 issue of Idaho Brew Magazine.

For more information, please contact a member of our Wine, Brew, and Spirits Group, or call 208.344.6000.

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