Community Discussion: Ideas to Outfit a Beer Cave

Beer caves can offer huge benefits to businesses. Decorating your beer cave to be inviting to consumers is of the utmost importance. We recently received this message from Jody Seck of Stop-A-Sec Inc.

We are adding a walk in beer cave to our convenience store. I need great interior lighting ideas for the inside of the cave that will have a black interior. The doors are LED. Ideas welcome.

What’s the most creative beer cave design you’ve seen? If you have any suggestions for Jody or any other stylistic ideas for walk-in beer caves, leave your comment below!

beer cave sign

Craft Brewery Finds Chilling Solution


Sun King Brewery, like many other craft brewers, is located in a downtown area. There isn’t much space for a condensing unit, and complicating the situation further was the fact that the arrangement of the building didn’t allow for the unit to be at the back of the building. It needed to be right in front, next to the walk-in space, and within close proximity of the main parking and front entrance. A discreet solution was critical.
Another important feature for Sun King’s refrigeration system was the reliability. Hundreds of barrels of beer are stored in this walk-in cooler. For a small enterprise, protecting that investment is a business critical issue.


U.S. Cooler, a manufacturer of walk-in coolers and freezers, met with Sun King Brewing about their walk-in cooler needs. Once they understood the demanding requirements of the applications in terms of efficiency, reliability, sound, and discreet look, they immediately recommended the Copeland Scroll™ Outdoor Condensing Unit XJ Series.

Shortly after installation, the refrigeration system was not working. A quick check of the XJ onboard CoreSense™ Diagnostics indicated that there were no compressor or unit issues.

The servicing contractor was able to quickly pinpoint the problem at the evaporator and get the system back up and running. Since start-up, the system has been running flawlessly with no interruption to refrigerating the product. The chart below shows the sound level of the XJ condensing unit compared to a typical outdoor condensing unit.sound decibels


copeland scroll condenser Two six-horsepower Copeland Scroll Outdoor Condensing Units (XJ) were installed 50 feet from the front door by the main parking stalls, a noise- and sight-sensitive area.
• Built-in CoreSense Diagnostics have helped protect the investment since September 2010 with no system downtime.
• Sun King Brewing is planning an expansion requiring more walk-in cooler space. One more XJ unit has been speced out for the job.

2- Sound values shown represent the XJ unit’s lowest and highest operating dBA measurements, or typical industry outdoor unit published data, for both MT and LT products. Sound pressure values are 10 feet from the unit at 25F evap for MT and -10F ambient. A sound reduction of up to 3 dBA will occur in ambient temperatures below 70F. This data is typical of “free field” conditions for horizontal air cooled condensing units and may vary depending on the condensing unit installation. There are many factors that affect the sound reading of a condensing unit such as unit mounting, reflecting walls, background noise and operating condition.


The Copeland Scroll Outdoor Condensing Unit XJ Series ranges in size from 1.5-6 HP, and offers energy savings of up to 40% compared to standard industry condensing units, making it perfectly suited for many walk-in cooler and freezer applications. The XJ Series unit incorporates multiple advances in refrigeration as standard features into a single unit solution, including:
• The latest generation Copeland Scroll refrigeration compressors which have been optimized for the highest annual energy efficiency
• Ultra-quiet and efficient variable-speed PSC fan motors
• Large condenser coils for more efficient heat transfer
• High efficiency fan blade design
• Proprietary electronic algorithms to optimize energy performance
• Exclusive Enhanced Vapor Injection (EVI) circuit on low temperature units for added capacity and system efficiency
• Exclusive CoreSense™ Diagnostics to enable faster, more accurate service, along with compressor protection benefits to lower total lifecycle costs
The XJ Series unit’s slim profile, light weight, wall mount
capability, and sound reduction features may also offer
customers added benefits from:
• Crane rental savings
• Flexible location options previously not available
• Ease of installation and service savings
• Compliance with noise ordinances
• A more attractive and quieter atmosphere for neighbors and customers

Learn more about the Copeland Scroll Outdoor Condensing Unit at:

View the original Quantifiable Business Result PDF

Kason Changes with the Times

Although some of the hardware for commercial refrigeration, foodservice, step van and industrial equipment that Kason Industries Inc. manufactures is traditional, much of it evolves over time. “Some products we’ve been making since the 1950s and ‘60s,” Executive Vice President Burl Finkelstein points out. “They haven’t changed a lot since then.”

kason parts hardware
A sample of Kason’s walk-in hardware

But others have evolved with their various industries, and Kason must keep up with those trends. “The tricky part of our business is knowing our customer applications,” he reveals. For example, when the blowing agent used in insulating foam panels for walk-in refrigerators and freezers changed for environmental reasons, the fastener holding that foam had to evolve.

“As the foam blowing agent changed, how it adhered changed, and we had to go back to the panel fasteners that bond it and make sure the foam will bond to the fastener and work well with our fastener,” he continues. “As the market changed from mechanically latched doors to magnetic gaskets, we changed the hardware, made a lighter-weight hardware and went to pull handles.”

The current U.S. energy act mandates self-closing doors and minimal air infiltration for walk-in coolers and freezers. “So we have more focus on hinges that will close the doors more efficiently, and strip curtains and vinyl flex doors to block air infiltration when the door is open,” Finkelstein notes. “We’re keeping our fingers on the pulse of the market.”

Give Your Walk-in a Walkthrough

Walk-in coolers and freezers: When is the last time you went into your property’s walk-in cooler unannounced? If you haven’t done it in a while, you might be surprised. This is essential for passing your health inspection. I recently had the experience where an excellent GM asked me to identify opportunity areas in the kitchen operation. I went through the walk-in coolers and freezers and found the following issues within the first 10-minute visual inspection:

  • organized walk-in cooler
    Make sure you have an inventory management process in place.

    Walk-in freezer that was very poorly lit (read: hard to find items), with boxes of frozen foods that had not been dated. Clearly without a date, it is hard to employ the First-in, First-out (FIFO) method of inventory management. How do we know when that box of chicken wings on the bottom of the stack came in? It is possible the box on the bottom is living there in perpetuity while new inventory is stacked on top every week?

  • Food items stored unwrapped, with no date, in non-translucent storage pans and hotel pans. In one instance, two different products were in the same tray: one was uncooked raw chicken breast stored at an angle so the blood was running into unwrapped Canadian bacon. In a cruel moment of irony, just that morning I had been in the hotel’s restaurant outlet and sat next to four female business travelers who all ordered the Eggs Benedict for breakfast. When I eventually asked the sous chef (the executive chef was off at the time) what was going on, there was a general lack of awareness and training about the dangers of such poor food handling and the improper storage methods. The acts and non-acts were not malicious; rather it was a training and education issue. Oh, and he thought buying Lexans for storage purposes was too expensive for the GM to approve.
  • Soup stored unwrapped in a large container sitting on the floor directly under the cooler’s condenser unit that was dripping water condensation into the soup.

New Jersey Steak House Goes Above and Beyond on Food Safety

When David Walzog got the go-ahead to design the kitchen for Strip House at The Westminster Hotel in Livingston, N.J., the executive chef’s wish list drew on his experiences working at the Monkey Bar and Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C., both in New York City.

Walzog insisted on 14 sets of refrigerated drawers—where food is held below 40F. Several drawers were installed on the line, providing more space for plate assembly and enabling 14 cooks to keep surfaces clean and orderly.

Drawers and gaskets are cleaned daily, and twice a week they’re disassembled for bleaching. The quarry tile floor in the kitchen is graded and easy to hose down and power wash, he says.

Strip House’s five walk-in coolers are extra-spacious. The lowest shelf is 10 inches off the floor, two inches higher than health codes mandate, Walzog says, to facilitate mopping and cleaning. Rubber-coated shelving resists rust and cleans and moves easily to accommodate a variety of bin sizes. Safety glass and wire grating enclose two pairs of fluorescent bulbs for ceiling light.

Polyurethane: One More Option For Your Walk-in

It’s Your Choice.

U.S. Cooler is one of the few manufacturers who can now offer both extruded polystyrene and foamed-in-place polyurethane insulation for walk-in coolers and freezers. As any good business does, we are always seeking new ways to serve our customers better and stay competitive in the marketplace. One of these ways is to provide additional services to our customers and dealers. Recently, we have added foamed-in-place polyurethane to our product offering. Previously, U.S. Cooler only offered extruded polystyrene insulation.

insulation polyurethane polystyrene

U.S. Cooler’s new polyurethane panels are foamed-in-place filled with class 1 polyurethane foam made from CFC and HFC free materials. By utilizing state of the art horizontal presses and technology, panels lie flat during the foaming process which reduces voids in the insulation. The panels’ structural tongue and groove, cam-locking system provides an air-tight seal between the panels restricting air infiltration into the insulation core.

U.S. Cooler’s polyurethane walk-in products are made with the same exceptional quality and performance construction that has proven successful in the industry.  By adding a new product line to our manufacturing capabilities our product excellence has not changed.  U.S. Cooler still provides the same premium, high-quality products and customer service we have been offering for over 25 years. Every walk-in is pre-assembled in our manufacturing facility before shipment to ensure precise quality control and ease of assembly in the field. All our panels come with our standard 10 year warranty.

Polystyrene Walk-in Brochure

Polyurethane Walk-in Brochure

DOE Final Test Procedure Ruling Could Affect You

assemble install walkin coolerThe EISA 2007 document required that performance based standards for walk-in coolers and freezers be published no later than January 1, 2012. The first step to completing the new walk-in cooler and freezer standards is to finalize the testing procedure.  This has now been completed and published. The next step is to publish the standards, which determines the required performance results of the mandatory tests.

The final test procedures for testing walk-in coolers and freezers have been finalized and released. There are test procedures for panels, doors and refrigeration systems.  The tests that have been adopted are designed to produce test results that reflect energy efficiency, energy use and estimated operating costs for industrial equipment.

DOE has finally made a ruling on definitions that were unclear in previous documents. The most important ruling that affects our dealers is who is now considered the manufacturer.

Manufacturer of a walk-in cooler or walk-in freezer means any person who:

  1. Manufactures a component of a walk-in cooler or walk-in freezer that affects energy consumption, including, but not limited to, refrigeration, doors, lights, windows, or walls;


  1. Manufactures or assembles the complete walk-in cooler or walk-in freezer (76 FR 12504).

This definition extends the compliance responsibility to both the component manufacturer and the assembler. In the final rule, DOE clarified that the component manufacturer would be the entity responsible for certifying compliance of the components they manufacture for walk-in applications. The manufacturer is responsible for the products they manufacture. If a manufacturer puts the entire system together, including the walk-in and refrigeration, the manufacturer is responsible for the equipment to meet federal standards.

Time is Running out for Foodservice Equipment Tax Incentives

Note: Many of these tax incentives may no longer be available.
save money on walk-in freezerYou have eight months left this year to secure important tax perks for purchasing new equipment. If you are thinking of replacing your walk-in cooler or freezer, now may be the time to act. The Small Business Act that President Obama put in place in September 2010 provides tax relief and assistance in gaining access to capital for foodservice operations.

The legislation allows foodservice operators to write off up to $500,000 of equipment costs immediately rather than recovering the purchase over multiple year of depreciation. The equipment purchase must be completed during the 2011 tax year.

Check out our New Equipment Tax Breaks post from November 2010 for more information.