Crafting a Unique Identity: The Art of Beer Tap Sign Making

Crafting a Unique Identity: The Art of Beer Tap Sign Making缩略图

Photo: Bill Bartlett of Gamut One Studios in Edina, MN.

Let’s explore how a Minnesota pub collaborated with two sign companies to create a unique exterior identity sign using HDU (High-Density Urethane) and illumination with a beer tap theme.

Groveland Tap, a well-known “beer-and-burger joint” situated in St. Paul, Minnesota, near Macalester College and the University of St. Thomas, recently underwent renovations and expansion. Despite these improvements, they wanted to invest in new signage to enhance their establishment’s appearance.

While on vacation in Colorado, Craig Hassell, the general manager of Groveland Tap, encountered an exterior sign inspired by a draft beer tap. He was immediately captivated by the idea and decided to implement something similar for his pub.

To bring this vision to life, he reached out to Albrecht Sign Company, a custom-focused sign company located in Fridley, Minnesota. Albrecht Sign Company proposed a design concept that involved a combination of formed components, channel letters, digital prints, and lighting. These elements were strategically combined to create a striking, large beer tap handle-shaped sign to be mounted on the front facade of Groveland Tap.

Albrecht Sign Company then forwarded their design renderings to Quality Manufacturing, a prominent wholesale sign manufacturer in the Midwest, for the custom build. The designers and fabricators at Quality Manufacturing collaborated closely to ensure that the finished sign would meet the client’s requirements and adhere to proper engineering standards.

Shari King of Quality Manufacturing expressed their dedication to working with clients to transform their ideas into reality and their enthusiasm for taking on challenging projects.

By enhancing the quality of your writing, you can effectively convey the story of Groveland Tap’s creative signage project, highlighting the collaboration between the pub, Albrecht Sign Company, and Quality Manufacturing.

QualityMfg_Diagram_Operation Photo: Quality Manufacturing

The new beer tap sign boasts impressive dimensions, measuring 85.8 inches in height, 47.5625 inches in depth, and 16 inches in width.

The prominent top section, a 60.25-inch tap handle, weighs a substantial 105 pounds. It was meticulously constructed using a 1-by-1-by-0.125-inch aluminum square tube frame, artfully shaped to resemble a tap handle. Quality Manufacturing expertly crafted this frame by rolling it into the desired tap shape, utilizing steel saddles on both the top and bottom sections for added stability.

Both sides of the tap handle showcase identical designs. The faces are made of sturdy .125-inch aluminum, while the rolled side skins feature .080-inch aluminum. Each face incorporates channel letters, meticulously welded together by Quality Manufacturing using an IPG laser welder.

To complete the design, Quality Manufacturing executed the first-surface Groveland Tap logo with a digital print, applying it to the channel letters using their EFI VUTEk GS3250 Pro hybrid roll-to-roll/UV LED flatbed printer. The finishing touch on each face was achieved by trim-capping it with one-inch GemTrim for a polished appearance.

For illumination, Quality Manufacturing opted for Hanley KS2100 LEDs to light up the channel letters, connecting them to a Hanley H60W-PPS5 power supply. In addition, white Allanson AFB1-032CW-24v-W-S-11 border tubing, powered by an Allanson CV244-120/270 power supply, was used to provide the perimeter lighting around the tap handle, ensuring it stands out prominently.

The tap spout, a substantial 179.5-pound component, was constructed by assembling pieces of 1.5-inch HDU to create a total thickness of 7.5 inches. Precision 3D milling was then performed on both the inside and outside of the spout using a Shop Sabre IS 612 CNC router. The inside of the HDU was skillfully milled to wrap around the inner steel frame.

Notably, the most challenging aspect of this fabrication process was the double-sided nature of the sign, requiring meticulous attention to detail and precision from the Quality Manufacturing team.

QualityMfg_Install_Prepare Preparing for the install. Photo: Quality Manufacturing.

Utilizing Solid Works 3D software, the design team at Quality Manufacturing employed a meticulous approach to create the components necessary for the sign. These parts had to be designed to flip on the CNC table and perfectly align with the steel framework. Ken Albrecht of Quality Manufacturing emphasized that while this method required a longer initial setup time compared to a standard job, it ultimately saved time in the long run by resolving potential issues in the design phase.

The steel frame used throughout the sign was constructed using 4-inch schedule 40 steel pipe tubes and 0.5-inch steel plates. Quality Manufacturing skillfully MIG-welded all the frameworks, including both steel and aluminum components, using Miller P350 welders.

The next step involved connecting the two key pieces of the sign. The steel section of the tap handle was securely attached to the steel section of the spout using plasma-cut 0.50-inch match plates. Notably, the tap handle was positioned at a 15-degree angle away from the building where it met the spout.

To complete the visual presentation, Quality Manufacturing painted the aluminum skin pole cover of the tap handle, as well as the tap spout, using Matthews MAP-LVS 202 White and Matthews MAP-LVS 923 Black paints, ensuring a polished and eye-catching finish.

The installation process was undertaken by Albrecht Sign Company, who transported the one-piece sign to Groveland Tap. Their skilled installers used a lift and ladders to affix the sign to the wall, aided by a 16-by-0.5-inch steel plate. Following a provided mounting plate pattern, the installers pre-drilled and securely anchored the sign in place using epoxy, ensuring a secure and professional installation.

BillBartlett_4 Photo: Bill Bartlett of Gamut One Studios in Edina, MN.

Following the curing of the epoxy, the sign was carefully slid into its designated position and securely bolted down, ensuring its stability and longevity. It’s worth noting that the electrical connections for sign illumination were routed through the center of the mounting plate and into the building.

The finished product is nothing short of impressive, with the oversized beer tap handle sign extending almost four feet from the building’s facade. This overhead sign has become an instant conversation starter for customers below, adding a unique and engaging element to the pub’s identity. As Shari King puts it, “The tap handle exemplifies exactly what people come to expect from us when they visit.”

Groveland Tap itself couldn’t be happier with this exciting new addition to their establishment. Craig Hassell expresses their enthusiasm by saying, “We loved the sign when it arrived, and we still do!” This sign has not only enhanced the pub’s exterior but also become a symbol of the exceptional experience customers can expect when they step inside.