Making Beer Smarter at the Tap
I remember a corny joke from college: “Did you know beer makes you smarter?”
“Because it made Bud wiser.”
Corny jokes aside, beer really is getting smarter with help from Israeli start-up WeissBeerger.
Analytics and big data are all the rage in business technology, from the NFL and the NBA to the fashion industry. This groundswell continues, impacting two of the world’s most conservative industries: the beer brewers and local bars.
“Breweries have little knowledge and control over consumption data of their brands in bars and restaurants,” said Omer Agiv, WeissBeerger’s founder and CEO. “They only have data on a weekly/monthly level with almost no ability to measure and affect consumption.”
So Agiv founded WeissBeerger to help figure out who is drinking which beer? I recently got a peek into Alcohol Analytics, the first ever beer consumption behavior analytics dashboard, and found it provides two services:
- Breweries can access real-time sales data by brand and by bar
- Bars and restaurants can manage pricing and ensure the optimal beverage product mix for their clientele
WeissBeerger makes beer smarter for some of the biggest brewers in the U.S. and Europe by combining old-school technology — flow meters — and new-school technology — cloud computing and the SAP HANA platform. Flow meters are installed on the beer line to record every liter poured. The data is then sent to servers in the cloud, where it is quickly analyzed and displayed on a dashboard (see graphics).
Think of the number of beers served on a busy Friday night at just one bar. Now multiply this by hundreds of bars and restaurants and imagine processing and presenting all that data to breweries in real time.
This is what WeissBeerger is all about.
“Breweries were always looking for ways to monitor consumption of their brands,” Agiv said. “The traditional method was counting the number of kegs sold to a bar by month or quarter.”
But there was no way for breweries to see how consumption changed with weekly promotions or price changes. Alcohol Analytics offers unprecedented insight, allowing breweries to:
- Go granular, monitoring consumption by brand, city, neighborhood and bar
- Optimize promotions, adjusting pricing for each bar using promotional algorithms
- Follow orders by glass size to find out which serving sizes sell better
- Test consumer reactions to different brands and offers
- Save money through more comprehensive quality checks, including notifications on expiring kegs (A keg more than four days old is stale, according to Agiv.)
“Market trends in consumption can be identified in real time,” Agiv said, “without the need for [expensive and time-consuming] market research.”
Rated one of the most innovative companies in the SAP HANA Startup Challenge, WeissBeerger is part of the SAP Startup Focus program, which supports start-ups by developing new applications on the real-time, in-memory database platform SAP HANA. Startup Focus is an accelerator for start-ups using big data, predictive and real-time analytics.
A Crystal Ball … Full of Beer?
Let’s say Super Bowl Sunday is approaching. Having enough beer to get through the day is crucial. Alcohol Analytics can help bar and restaurant owners predict the consumption of each brand based on a variety of price points, allowing them to run campaigns with specials throughout the day while ensuring plenty of stock.
Bars owners can also save time, reduce costs and increase revenue by:
- Monitoring beer waste by bartender, allowing for education and correction
- Tracking real-time consumption, helping optimize pricing and discounts (e.g., 10 percent discount between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.)
- Accessing reports anytime via smartphones, tablets and laptops
The End of an Era?
I am a big fan of the technology that WeissBeerger brings to the bar, but I wondered if this meant the end of the obligatory “free beer” after every fourth or fifth round at the local watering hole. Fortunately, Alcohol Analytics can be programmed to provide incentives and discounts, such as the “freebie” for regular customers like me.
For brewers, technology offers deeper customer insight than ever before. For beer drinkers, I hope this translates into more diverse brands and fresher product at my corner bar.
Like this story? Sign up for the SAP Business Trends newsletter here.