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The Evolution of Tap Handles: From Simple to Customized

The Evolution of Tap Handles: From Simple to Customized

Posted by Karen Gendron on 2023 Sep 14th

The evolution of tap handles in the world of beer and beverages has been a fascinating journey. From their humble beginnings as simple and functional tools to identify and dispense drinks, tap handles have evolved into customized works of art that serve multiple purposes. 

Let's explore this evolution:

1. Early Functional Designs: 

Tap handles originated as basic, functional tools to control the flow of beverages from taps. In the early days of beer and ale production, wooden or metal levers were used to open and close the taps, serving a purely utilitarian purpose.

2. Identification: 

As the number of beer brands and types increased, tap handles began to incorporate branding elements. Breweries started adding logos, names, or symbols to their tap handles to help customers identify their products more easily. This marked the beginning of tap handles becoming a marketing tool.

3. Artistic Flourishes: 

As the brewing industry grew, breweries started to experiment with more creative and artistic tap handle designs. These handles began to take on unique shapes and featured decorative elements that represented the brand's identity. The idea was to catch the customer's eye and create a memorable experience at the bar.

4. Customization and Personalization: 

With the craft beer boom, breweries sought ways to stand out in a crowded market. Customization became key. Breweries started creating one-of-a-kind tap handles that reflected their brand's personality and the uniqueness of their brews. These handles often featured handcrafted details, such as carved wood, hand-painted designs, or even 3D elements.

5. Thematic and Seasonal Handles: 

Breweries started using tap handles to celebrate special occasions or seasonal releases. For example, they might create themed handles for holidays, festivals, or limited-edition beers. These handles added an element of excitement and anticipation to the beer-drinking experience. Hop Valley BC Lions CFL

6. Technology Integration: 

In more recent years, technology has been incorporated into tap handles. Some breweries have added digital screens or LED lights to their handles, allowing for dynamic displays of branding, information about the beer, or even real-time social media updates.

7. Environmental Considerations: 

One tree planted

Sustainability and eco-friendliness have become important in the brewing industry. Some breweries have shifted to using more eco-friendly materials for their tap handles, such as recycled wood or biodegradable plastics, to align with their environmental values. 

Because we use Canadian hard wood such as maple and birch, plants one tree for every 10 tap handles sold.

8. Collectibles and Merchandise: 

Many tap handles have become collectors' items or sought-after pieces of brewery merchandise. Breweries produce limited-edition tap handles that fans and collectors eagerly acquire. This trend has turned tap handles into valuable items beyond their functional purpose. 

Tap handles have evolved from basic levers to elaborate and customized works of art that serve not only as functional tools but also as powerful branding and marketing assets for breweries. The evolution of tap handles reflects the creativity and innovation within the brewing industry and its desire to engage and connect with consumers in unique and memorable ways.