Glass act: 8 tips for choosing equipment that will make your barware sparkle

Glasses

Presentation of drinks is more important now than it’s ever been and using the right glassware, whether it’s for beer, wine, soft drinks or cocktails, is key to customer perception. But keeping glasses looking as good as the day they arrived can only be achieved with the right glasswashing equipment. John Nelson, managing director of Nelson Catering Equipment, reveals what to look for when it comes to the right kit.

Glass is a very durable material but it is, of course, also extremely brittle and needs to be maintained carefully to ensure it lasts as long as possible and carries the sparkle and clarity that looks so attractive. Choosing the right glasswasher and using it correctly is important as glasses can be damaged both by physical and chemical actions and are more susceptible to breakage and stress during the temperature changes that a commercial glasswasher introduces.

1. Cracks or chips
Choose a glasswasher with a soft start option. The gentle action and more gradual build-up of heat does not ‘shock’ glass and allows it to acclimatise.

2. Scratches
Usually caused by badly stacking a machine so that glasses abrade. In fact, there are baskets available for all shapes and sizes of glasses which will hold them securely and prevent scratching. It is, undoubtedly, worth taking advice from the machine’s supplier to ensure the most appropriate types are selected.

3. Cloudiness
Almost definitely caused by not using a water treatment to tackle lime deposits which are left on the glasses during the final rinse and ‘set’ in place during drying. In its initial stages, this can be seen as a warning and can be remedied by installing an appropriate water treatment.

4. Opacity
If the water treatment just mentioned is not addressed, and the glassware continues to be washed in untreated, hard water, the glasses start to become opaque in certain areas. This tends to be most visible in the parts of the glass that were subject to more processes during manufacture — i.e around the rim. This type of discolouration is irreversible.
A further, important point is that, if lime-scale is allowed to build up, it will cake the heating element and make the glasswasher less effective. To compensate for its lime-scale ‘coating’, it draws more energy to produce the same level of heat. This puts stress on it, shortens its useful life and also hikes up energy bills.

5. Manual dosing
This is rather hit and miss and dependent on staff accuracy. Too little detergent and rinse aid can lead to the degeneration of glassware while too much will not boost efficiency but simply waste money and add to pollution levels. The ideal solution is to choose an automatic dosing system that has been perfectly calibrated to individual requirements at the time of installation by the supplier.

6. Calibration
Never specify a dishwasher to be used to wash glasses. Glasswashers and dishwashers are, essentially, the same machine but are calibrated very differently to do different jobs. Dishwashers have a longer wash time to cope with food residues, they need a higher temperature that would be damaging to glassware, and they use stronger chemicals.

7. Setting the temperature
Once you have specified a glasswasher, make sure it is set at the correct temperature. It should be a minimum of 50°C and a maximum of 60°C for the wash and between 65°C and 75°C for the rinse to achieve good, hygienic results, though these temperatures are subject to the sanitising qualities of the chemicals used.

8. Above all…
Don’t try to cut corners when choosing a glasswasher. Choose a supplier that offers a free site survey and is willing to provide reference sites that can be approached for recommendation.

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