This startup gives a new meaning to beer in the cloud
You walk into your friendly neighborhood bar at the end of a long, stressful day. All you want to do is kick back, relax, and savor a pint of your favorite lager. Your lips tremble in anticipation. Mild inebriation is just a couple of drinks away – just what you need to take the edge off.
But the bartender politely informs you that your poison of choice is no longer available. There were more customers than usual – and they drank all the booze. It’s a travesty. You’re shocked, upset, and on the verge of pulling your hair out. A dream has been quickly turned sour.
Luckily for us, this nightmare scenario could very well be a thing of the past if WeissBeerger has its way. The Tel Aviv-based startup is working on smart beer taps to build “connected bars.” It works with breweries and bars to provide real-time information and analytics that help with data driven decisions. Basically, if beer inventories are running low, WeissBeerger will step in.
“We love beer,” exclaims Omer Agiv, CEO of WeissBeerger. “The last ten years were filled with challenges for this industry as consumption went down […] People don’t want to drink five, six, ten pints a night.”
Beer in the cloud
Omer – an industrial engineer by profession – describes himself as a serial entrepreneur, with prior dabbling in ventures related to enterprise tech, mobile, and analytics. He says WeissBeerger is a perfect example of using an online solution to solve an offline problem. “The online world is saturated, there’s too much competition. But people are offline, and the trick is to connect the two,” he exhorts.
WeissBeerger’s product is a rectangular gizmo that can be attached to equipment such as beer taps and coolers. The device, which Omer says looks “a bit like Apple TV,” connects to the internet via 3G and wifi. It analyzes real-time data such as the amount of beer poured, frequency of orders, and existing stock levels and relays it back to a secure cloud server.
Omer claims this data allows for actionable analytics and optimized promotions. “For example, we see between 8 and 10 pm in Tokyo is the peak of consumption. We are able to show breweries and allow them to give instant discounts for more sales. Or we can alert the bar – hey your tap hasn’t been used much for the past 48 hours so the stock is probably stale. Best to replenish it,” he explains.
The entrepreneur is fervent in his explanation that this is a real problem for the brewery industry. The multi-billion dollar market is now on the wane as people become more health-conscious and shift preferences to craft beers. As a result, the market has become more saturated and companies are looking at acquisitions (the world’s top two beer manufacturers merged yesterday) to keep expanding their customer base. At the same time, they need to become leaner, more efficient, and improve the supply chain if they wish to keep profitability humming along.
A pint of big data
While Weissbeerger engages breweries directly, the impact of its data trickles down to the consumer. This is because owners of equipment in bars such as beer taps are the brewery themselves and they have a vested interest with how well sales are doing. They’re the ones offering promotions and discounts.
However, Omer feels this all of this is done in a haphazard manner. Alcoholic beverage manufacturers spend millions of dollars in advertising across the world but they’re not able to determine precisely how it has helped with sales. Furthermore, breweries have hundreds of thousands of taps across the world, but they have no idea how much revenue they’re making per tap or which ones are more frequently in demand. All they know is total sales.
The breweries don’t know how much was actually consumed. They only know how many kegs were sent from their factory to the market. And they know after two months, in delay, how much was sold.
Omer explains that his years of association with the alcoholic beverage industry have shown him that beer sales are extremely price-sensitive. Financial incentives, such as promotions, have massive impact on sales. “If you are laser-focused on your promotions, you are able to save millions of dollars. Instead of doing a cross-country promotion […] you can optimize not for the whole year, not for the whole month, but for specific hours. It’s a game changer,” he argues.
The startup claims it can improve bar sales by up to 32 percent and reduce waste by almost 20.
Weissbeerger recently raised US$4 million in a series A round and Omer says business is booming, with production doubling every quarter. The team is active in 13 countries and works with five of the top ten beer manufacturers in the world. After considerable thought, he decides to reveal one of his customers – Heineken.
The next step will be to target soft drink manufacturers. Omer explains they’re already working with one of the two biggest soft drink companies in the world (so that’s either PepsiCo or Coca-Cola) to optimize soda fountains and provide real-time analytics. Future products might include smart beer glasses, analytics for bottle and can sales, and an eventual transformation to a fully-connected bar.
“I truly believe that in the future all devices associated with the beverage industry will come with an operating system inside. We want to become the global leader of beverage analytics,” he says.
Editing by Steven Millward and J.T. Quigley
This post was originally published on Tech in Asia.
Featured Image Credit: Jaryl Cabuco / Flickr