7 Innovations in Dispensed-Beverage Equipment


Recent innovation in dispensed-beverage equipment might be the kick the category needs to get back to growth.

Over the past several months, several leading-edge hot, cold and frozen dispensed units have arrived at market to help convenience retailers think bigger in the way of unit and dollar performance.

Sales of dispensed beverages in convenience stores were flat in 2017, according to the NACS State of the Industry Report. Sales of frozen dispensed dropped 0.6% (percent change from a year ago), and gross-profit dollars fell nearly 2%. Hot and cold dispensed beverages were generally flat, with hot dispensed growing dollar sales 0.7%, and cold dispensed up just 0.3%.

Click through to learn about eight dispensed-beverage-equipment innovations with the potential to deliver category operational efficiencies—from energy savings to waste reduction—in support of hot, cold and frozen beverage programs.

Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Fetco

fetco frozen beverage machines

Lake Zurich, Ill.-based Fetco is rolling out several dispensed-beverage equipment units to support both hot and cold merchandising programs. Its Frozen Beverage Machines feature one, two or three bowls with a 3-gallon capacity along with digital programming, ADA-compliant handles, double auger design to keep product evenly mixed, and a Total Cold System to keep product cold no matter how much is left to help reduce waste. The TBS-V Iced Tea Brewers have a competitive price point with a sleek, modern design, the company said. The V Tea Machine Cameo Super Automatic Machine comes equipped with a large brew chamber with capacity to churn out 140 to 175 espressos and cappuccinos (70 to 87 drinks) per hour. And its Extractor V+ Coffee Brewers are noted to be the most energy-efficient equipment on the market, allowing operators to save 44% to 62% on annual energy costs, according to the company.

Photograph courtesy of Fetco

2. FBD Partnership

fbd logo

San Antonio, Texas-based FBD Partnership LP rolled out its 37X and 77X frozen-beverage equipment. The 37X, which made its U.S. debut at the 2018 NACS Show, is a direct response to market demand for more compact models. It combines the industry’s leading technology of high-capacity dispensers with a smaller size, lighter weight and lower price point. It also boasts top performance and profitability, delivering steady traffic and limited space, according to the company.

Photograph courtesy of FBD

3. Bunn

bunn infusion platinum

Regarded as the most powerful line of batch brewers yet, the Bunn Infusion Series Platinum Edition from Springfield, Ill.-based Bunn is designed with a powerful duo of Peak Extraction spray heads and Bunn-exclusive SmartWave technology to deliver increased turbulence in the coffee bed during brewing, unrivaled uniformity of extraction and complexity in the finished beverage, the company said. The Platinum Edition also offers precise control, sleek, modern styling, touchscreen interface and flexible server options.

Photograph courtesy of Bunn

4. Curtis

wilbur curtis iced tea dispensers

Curtis Iced Tea Dispensers from Montebello, Calif.-based Wilbur Curtis Co. Inc. feature an advanced design and stainless-steel construction, with each model NSF-certified and constructed to stand up to rigorous foodservice environments. Available in a wide variety of sizes and models, the TCN Narrow Tea Dispenser offers a sleek, modern design with custom graphics, while the TCO Curtis Tea Dispenser (in a variety of sizes) has an oval design minus sharp edges or corners, making the model ideal for self-service operations, the company said.

Photograph courtesy of Wilbur Curtis

5. Georgia-Pacific

dixie hot cup

On the vessel/cup side of the equation, Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP (GP Pro) debuted its Dixie Ultra Insulair Hot Cup (pictured), a heat-activated disposable beverage cup that uses an internal air pocket rather than an external sleeve to help keep beverages hot and hands cool. The Insulair Hot Cup is a single-wall paper cup with an interior lining made of a low-density polyethylene film. When a hot liquid is poured into the cup, a thin heat-activated air pocket expands within the cup’s lining, replacing the need for an external sleeve. “For operators, the Insulair Hot Cup can help them improve efficiency, reduce costs and deliver a better, more branded customer experience,” said Alec Frisch, GP Pro vice president of foodservice.

Photograph courtesy of Georgia-Pacific

6. Ronnoco

cold brew carlisle wild blueberry

Ronnoco Coffee, St. Louis, provides retailers with a patent-pending Cold Brew dispenser featuring two chambers: One uses ice to melt slowly into coffee to cool and dilute to the proper flavor profile, while the other uses ice to keep finished product cold over time.

Photograph courtesy of Ronnoco

7. Vollrath Co.

vollrath granita

Sheboygan, Wis.-based The Vollrath Co.’s line of Frozen Beverage Granita Machines is noted for being compact and ideal for a variety of high-margin cold or frozen slush and milk-based drinks, according to the company. Using a large freezing surface and properly sized compressor, the machines reduce freeze down times and promote efficient operations. Machines are available with 6- or 10-liter bowls in single-, double- or triple-bowl configurations.

Photograph courtesy of Vollrath Co.