What do the Internet of Things (IoT) and beer have in common? Well, there was the Budweiser Red Light, an automatic hockey light thats programmed to go off when your favorite team scores a goal. Then, there was Heineken Ignite, an interactive beer bottle that pulsates to the beat of the DJs music. But, the startup SteadyServ has created a beer related IoT app thats more than just a novelty. SteadyServs app, iKeg, saves bars time and money and helps distributors keep tabs on kegs and consumption levels. It even helps brewers know where and when their promotional dollars are turning into pints poured. Better yet, it ensures your favorite brew is always on tap and where to find it.
When Rob Tercek, a former creative director at MTV, was traveling with a layover in Indianapolis, he decided to grab a beer with longtime friend and local craft brewery co-owner Steve Hershberger. On a mission to serve his friend one of his own beers, it took Steve several bars to find one that had his beer on tap - bars that were supposed to have his inventory. "Im disappointed, Steve. This is a problem, why havent you solved it yet?"
the U.S. alone. Even with its rapid growth, the beer industry is one of the only "just in time" industries left. Knowing there is a huge market and an apparent problem that needed to be solved, Steve took on the challenge. SteadyServ was born.
A year later, the company has more than 4 patents pending, over $7.5 million in funding to date, and engineering teams working on hardware and software globally. The team has evolved through four prototypes to have a commercially ready, "Apple-simple" system that allows bar managers and beer sales reps to manage all of their keg orders on a smart phone.
At the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) in October, the incoming Chairman of the NBWA addressed the audience of over 5,000 attendees with a bold statement: "This isnt your grandfathers industry. It isnt your fathers industry. Change is upon us. Change is certain."
Currently, the bar manager heads to the refrigerator to count kegs to see how many are left. He or she lifts each keg to see how full it is---essentially making the ordering process a guessing game. Ryan Kellerman, Director of Beverage and Hospitality for Scottys Brewhouse, says he spends a minimum of two and a half to two hours a week, per location, taking inventory in order to place their orders. Many managers are still using a pen and paper to collect information that impacts the business supply. If the beer rep doesnt get their order in time, the rep will place it for them-by guessing.
"Imagine if HP guessed at what Best Buy needed to fill its shelves on any given month without talking to the company or looking at any hard data," said Steve Hershberger, Chairman & CEO of SteadyServ Technologies.