Custom Tap Handles | Alison Group - Custom crafted & designed tap handles
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FAQ – Facts & Questions

Q: “How big can a tap handle be?”
A: Tap handles should be no wider than 2.875” due to the location of the other tap handles on the tap tower. The depth should also be no deeper then 3”. As for the height, tap handles can be as short as 3" to 4" to an average height of about 12”. However, taps can really be almost as tall as you want as long as the tap handle does not get too top heavy. We have some taps as high as 16".

Q: “How much can a tap handle weigh?”
A: Your tap handles should weigh under 16oz or 1lb. A tap that is too heavy may tend to lean forward or backward and turn the beer faucet on. Every tap is unique so the only way to know for sure is to test the prototype.

Q: “Can I have a light on my tap handle?”
A: Yes. However, the light needs to be a small LED light so as to not use a lot of power. You don’t want to have a plug running from your tap handle into an electrical outlet so you will need to use batteries enclosed inside the tap. In most cases a tilt switch is incorporated into the tap and can be programmed to light up only when the tap handle is pulled and stays on or flashes in a pre programmed sequence. The fatter the tap the bigger the batteries and the longer the battery life.

Q: “Can we interchange the brew name or advertise a seasonal brew without making a new tap handle?”
A: Yes. This is becoming more and more popular. Sometimes a brewery will order a quantity of generic tap handles with an area for the brew name. This can be done in a few different ways. One option is to use waterproof decals either laminated or made from vinyl which can be die cut to fit a unique area. Another option is to use metal plates that snap into a recessed area with strong hidden magnets or can be screwed into the tap handle. Another option is a metal or plastic piece that slides into a channel.

Q: “What material can our tap handle be made from?”
A: We can use almost any material to construct a tap handle and can combine a variety of materials. Most tap handles today are made from molded resin that is hand painted as with this process you can get some amazing detail. Tap handles can also be made from wood, lucite, metal, porcelain, or a combination of materials. 

Q: “What kind of detail can you get with a resin tap handle?”
A: Amazing detail. These are all hand carved by very skilled artists and craftsmen and they can achieve very fine detail on small parts - you can also achieve beautiful wood textures. Take a look at the Steampunk, Wildrose & Flying Mouse tap handles.

Q: “What is Hydrographic Printing?”
A: Hydrographics, also known as immersion printing or water transfer printing, is a method of applying printed designs to three-dimensional surfaces. The hydrographic process can be used on metal, plastic, glass, hard woods, and various other materials. In the process, the substrate piece to be printed is pre-treated and a base coat material is applied. A polyvinyl alcohol film is gravure-printed with the graphic image to be transferred and is then floated on the surface of a vat of water. With this effect, tap handles can have a beautiful realistic wood look. Take a look at the Garrison, Select Club, New Sarum, and Beach Haus tap handle samples - we can get almost any wood texture and color you can imagine.

Q: “Can I have a Chrome Finish on my tap handle?”
A: Yes. The so-called “chrome plating” on resin material is not the same type of “electro-plating” which’s commonly used in the metal industries. The “plating” on resin or plastic material is actually the “Vaccum Metalizing”. Vacuum Metalizing is the most common process used for a chrome look on plastic, and mainly used in making toys, flash light reflectors and automotive trim to shine like chrome. Before parts are metalized they are washed and base-coated to ensure a smooth surface finish. This is very important for both adhesion and appearance of the vacuum metalized layer.

During the vacuum metalizing process, aluminum is evaporated under vacuum in the vacuum chamber, which creates an aluminum vapor cloud. When the vapor comes in contact with the parts it condenses back on and bonds to anything in its line of sight to form a uniform layer, which shines like chrome. After the metalizing takes place there is a protective topcoat applied similar to the ones used in the automotive industry. You can also add dyes to the topcoat to achieve bright chrome colors, gold, bronze, copper, black chrome or even gunmetal, and anodized finishes. The Flat 12 and Ecliptic tap handles are perfect examples of chrome finish.

Q: “What type of ferrule design can I use for my tap handle?”
A: While you have a standard gold or silver tapered ferrule design, the ferrule can be custom designed to fit a special look or design you have. The ferrule can also be internal so you see no ferrule at all. See more on Ferrule Design blog.

Q: “What is the minimum quantity of custom tap handles I can order?”
A: For custom designs we require a minimum of 100 tap handles. We are currently working on ways to get custom tap handles at a cost effective price under 100 units. We do however have a selection of Stock tap handles that we offer that can be customized with your graphics.

Q: “Where do the tap handles ship to?”
A: For 100 taps we will ship directly from China via air door to door service. For larger quantities we try to ship to the port closest to your final destination. 

Q: “What kind of design do we provide?”
A: Alison provides a 3D graphic design of every tap we do. For new clients on small orders of 100 we charge $250.00 - $500.00 per design. We will do up to three tweaks to this design at no additional charge. Should the design turn into an order we will rebate this design fee on the final invoice. For any client we design a custom tap handle, display, or sign and orders from another company, there will be a $2,000 charge for our creative services.

Q: “What do I get as a prototype?"
A: You will receive an exact sample of what your full production order will look like.

Q: “What do prototypes cost?"
A: Prototypes run from $500.00 up to $750.00 depending on the complexity of the design. This cost includes the sculpting of the model and the freight to your door.

Q: “How long do prototypes take?"
A: Prototypes can run from 3 to 5 weeks.

Q: “How long to produce my tap handles?"
A: Production for up to 2500 may take from 8-10 weeks depending on the complexity of the tap handle. Once produced, ocean transit and customs clearance is usually 3 weeks. Larger orders take longer but can be shipped in increments.

Q: “How are my tap handles packed?"
A: We tissue wrap and poly bag each tap, then insert into a custom foam inner pack that is then packed into a marked chip board carton. Individual cartons are then master packed and palletized for shipment.

Q: “What is the warrantee of my tap handle?"
A: TAG stands behind every tap handle we make.

Q: “What else can Alison do for our brewery?"
A: At The Alison Group we can also design and produce custom wood, wire, metal, and corrugate displays. As well as displays we design and produce custom LED and neon signs, metal tackers, custom wood signs, A-frames and chalkboards. Basically anything you need from full corporate branding and logo design to display and signage.