The Bartender Draft Beer Red Flag That Might Be A Little Too Common

While some bartenders genuinely are terrible, bar staff do seem to be disproportionate targets of internet criticism. Thankfully, they are also relatively self-aware. Videos posted by pubs and bars showing their personal bartender red flags have gone viral on TikTok before — inciting much debate over whether to serve napkins with stemmed glasses (maybe) or scoop from the ice bin directly with a glass (absolutely not — it's dangerous and unhygienic!)

Discourse around bartenders has again been brewing on TikTok with the latest apparent red flag, and this time, it surrounds draft beer. In the video, which has over 12,000 likes, a bartender named Rachael admits to not changing the beer keg if it runs out halfway through an order — and secretly filling the customer's glass up with a different draft beer instead. "When the customer confronts me on using a different type of beer to finish filling his beer because I'm too lazy to change the keg," the in-video text reads, while the audio relays "Okay, you got me there." Unsurprisingly, the comments section on this TikTok was popping off.

This time-saving practice is more common than you think

For the most part, reactions to the red flag mainly served to show how common this practice is in reality. Fellow bartenders chimed in to share their solidarity. "I do this with IPAs, they all taste the same," one person confessed. "Being caught is the actual crime," another person agreed. "I do this with vodka and always wonder if people see. Lmaooo," admitted a third.


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Although some commenters were less than impressed ("It might be a crime boo," one said), most people understood that changing a beer keg during a busy shift isn't always viable. While it isn't an overly complex process, changing a beer keg does require knowledge of the keg's various components and training from a manager. You'll first need to disconnect the old keg by unlocking and lifting the plastic handle, then turn the coupler (the connecting part between the draught and the keg) counterclockwise. You'll then need to follow this process in reverse when connecting a new one. 

You can imagine this might be difficult to execute quickly in the middle of a noisy shift with people shouting orders at you left, right, and center. So really, while it's not ideal and you're well within your rights to complain if your beer doesn't taste right — we'd say this probably isn't a red flag in the grand scheme of things. At least nowhere near as much as practicing poor food hygiene, or drinking excessively while you're on shift.