WylieJack: How do we make the best Tap Handles?

What goes into building the best tap handles?

Beer tap handles are a process. From design to production, there is a lot that happens from conception to reception. Here is a breakdown of that process at Wylie Jack Tap Handles & Branding and how we make the best Tap Handles.

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Hotline Bling Ring? Call us!

The best tap handles production start with the initial phone call. We give you as much information as possible while being completely transparent about the process. At this point we are getting an idea of what you are looking for and deciphering if we will be a good fit.

Send Us Your Deets.

Send us any files, logos, pictures and marketing materials that you would like to discuss. We send you a detailed questionnaire to complete. Give us a few days to go through all the information and we can then schedule a conference call with a designer and any others who are involved in the process.

During this “discovery” meeting, we want to discuss much more than the design of the tap handle. We get in-depth with the history of your company, where you operate, the challenges you face, and much more. With this information we can develop a handle that is unique to you; something that provides value.

Materials, size, colours and practical applications like changeable decals are part of the discussion. This is the fun part where everyone is brainstorming about what could be. Remember we are creating the best tap handles, so it will require a lot of thought put into it.

Show Us What You Got.

We take your dreams and make them a reality. With access to and experience with a variety of different materials and techniques, there isn’t much we can’t do; but there are going to be challenges or limitations. We put pen to paper and start sketching and throwing around ideas. Once we are happy with the direction, realistic renderings are produced on the computer. Based on what was discussed previously, we submit three unique ideas. Another meeting is then set up to review the ideas.

Tweak it, Twerk it.

A winning design often comes out on the first go. We go back and forth a few times with some tweaking (a little twerking) before we nail it. However, there are times it has taken us months. Don’t worry; we’re patient. It has to be right it has to be the best tap handles.

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Show Me The Money.

Your dream idea has come to life, so it’s time to talk dollars and cents. What will these dreams cost? This can take up to a week if we have to outsource anything. We submit prices to you and wait for a response.

At Wylie Jack Tap Handles & Branding we do not charge anything until we impress you enough to make a commitment. We don’t charge for our creative time or any renderings. Charges begin when you are completely comfortable with the design, process, pricing and timelines. Keep in mind: if you didn’t pay for it, you don’t own it! Any designer that has put in the design work, still owns the copyright for that design until it is paid for.

At this point we are ready for a prototype. We have a start up charge between $1,000 and $1,500. It is a one time fee that pays for any 3D sculpting, prototypes, 3D printing, tooling and prototype shipping fees.

Let’s Get It Started Up In Here.

Once approved, we can create the 3D files required for our 3D Stereolitihic printers or our CNC. We may also hand sculpt our protoypes, which can take more time. Some organic shapes just can’t be created on a computer and doing it with the human hand gives it a unique look. There is some back and forth communication with you during this process.

The prototype typically takes two weeks. If we are going to run into any production issues, this is where we will find the weakness because we mimic the production process as much as possible.

For the most part we do the prototypes at our studio in BC. There is the possibility that we are unsure of how a piece will be cast, so we have our factory make an actual production sample with a production mold. We want to make sure we have it right before we commit. This can add time with shipping.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Bubble entrapment occurs when resin is poured in the silicone mold and there is no way for the air to escape around the resin. This must be fixed in the mold prior to commencement.

Sanding, chip out and painting.These factors make wood time consuming, and CNCs take time to cut wood. Clear coat is also required on all of our wood products so they are food safe.

Outsourcing to make sure all the materials and pieces are in place. Everything must be completed according to our specs, so if something cannot be made on site, it must be found.

We do all the design and 95% of the prototyping in Invermere, BC, Canada. Formerly, all of the production was here, but due to economics we have had to look offshore. In 2017 we made arrangements for our own factory in China. We searched and investigated for a long time and now have some of the most skilled resin casters in China. The detail and quality is much better than anything we could do here in North America.

We aim to get it right the first time with our prototypes, but there is the odd time where something just doesn’t feel right or looks peculiar. Adjustments are made and we do it again. We allow for two tries before we may ask for reimbursement, and have yet to make three for anyone!

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Look What We Made!

The 3D prototype gets shipped to you, you play with it and discuss it, you ship it back to us, and we are ready to make molds. If wood is used, it is used as a sample. The prototype is there for the painters and creators to spec from. We get exact matches to the colours that were approved.

If you are happy with the prototype, we ask for a 50% deposit. The remaining balance is due after you receive the tap handles and are happy with our work, we need to make sure you get the best tap handles.

Let’s Get This Show On The Road.

Production usually takes 30 days. It can take longer on the first run if there are some issues that may have been overlooked during prototyping. The second run is normally faster. Larger orders can take longer, but we can arrange to have some shipped out early to get you started.

The finished tap handles are individually boxed with protective packaging inside and are ready to ship.

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Everything is in Ship Shape.

Shipping can happen by air, by sea, or a combination of both. We like to airship if we can justify the cost. It adds $4-$5 per handle depending on weight and size. Air shipping normally takes a week to get back to Canada. When shipping by sea it takes 30 days, but is significantly cheaper and is built into our pricing. We like to ship around 25% of the order by air and the balance by sea. This gets our customer selling beer while they wait for the remaining tap handles.

Welcome To Canada.

All of our shipments come to Invermere, BC first before going out to the final destination. We go through the shipment to look for defects. Here is what makes our company unique: we have the production equipment and ability to build tap handles, so if there is an issue, we solve it here rather than sending the whole shipment back to China.

Once received after inspection and shipping, we follow up to get feedback on what needs improvement. From here, let’s do some cross promotion with our companies because Social Media is important!

Shout Out To The Nuts at www.stickernut.ca

We are also unique because our corporation also owns StickerNut: short run, high quality, fast service stickers across North America. 3M brand vinyl weatherproof stickers and no VOC ink makes them durable and safe for everyone. (DING DING!! ANYONE NEED BEER STICKERS!?)

We like to incorporate decal systems into all of our handles. It allows significant changes to the beer tap handle without worrying if the paper insert is going to fall out on the floor. In addition, because we control the printing, we can send new stickers guaranteed within 4 days. Pivot your beer selections quickly and easily to adapt to the market. (Note: the vinyl we use for tap handles is even better than 3M vinyl, and laminated. They go through the dishwasher.)

To Conclude

It is a very exciting process not only for you, but for us. We love what we do and it shows in our customer serviceand products. Let us know if this article helped you understand a bit more about our process or if you have any questions.