Upon sitting down at a watering hole, the first thing a thirsty patron might do is take a look at the establishment’s selection of beers on tap. If this individual isn’t familiar with any of the offerings, there’s a good chance they’ll place an order based on the appearance of the most interesting tap handle. Who produces this last-ditch marketing for brewers? This video tells the story of AJS Handles in Random Lake, Wisc.
AJS’s work spans the market, creating handles for behemoths such as Anheuser-Busch InBev “on down to the smallest microbreweries,” general manager Mark Steinhardt explains. The company is the largest domestic producer, and it claims to ship roughly 500,000 tap handles each year. Steinhardt describes his business as a “cross between art and manufacturing,” and his clients know the value of standing out in a vast ocean of sudsy choices.
“Certainly the unique tap handles pique your interest and might push you to try that beer,” Steinhardt says. “We always say, ‘Our tap handle will sell your first beer, and your beer will sell the rest.’”