A little more than a week ago I received an invitation from Josh Solomon, Director of Sales for US Beverage Net, to visit their offices in downtown Syracuse. Funny thing is I’ve walked by their building for the last 5 years and was finally able to get in and check it out. The building was vacant for a number of years and they have been one of the new tenants, remodeling their floor to include a demo bar, conference rooms and a bunch of offices. But I’m not here to talk about real estate, I’m here to talk about beer.
As a quick overview, US Beverage Net has a patented process for measuring the flow of beer through keg lines and relays the information into a web-based user interface. The user interface allows managers, brewers and business executives to monitor real-time statistics about what brews are selling, track innovatory and beer temperature. The video below is quick peek at how the system works:
The system allows managers to see how much beer is being sold with the information from the registers at the bar against the actual beer that flows through the beer lines. Innovatory is tracked in real time and allows managers to know the status of kegs on tap. Over time, information is collected so that larger bars and beer operations can produce reports to show trends in purchasing, beer choices and sales. This is really precise measurement where most bars and brew pubs rely on simply lifting kegs and quick counts.
Now beer is an interesting asset for a bar. While we (beer geeks) can really see the value in tracking the beer flow on a high end beer like Chemey, most people in the bar/restaurant service industry see beer as a low-cost, high profitability product. This can easily lead them to ask “why should I care?” – I have to say, when I first learned of US Beverage Net I asked myself the same thing.
So what makes this valuable to customers? After talking with Josh, I’ve learned that they’ve found a few hot-spots for customers and have an enticing opportunity for future growth. First, restaurants with multiple locations that see a large volume of beer flow through their lines can quickly realize the value of tracking “beer loss” (includes everything from people who waste beer that is foaming by leaving the tap open to overly friendly staff that like to treat their friends). It allows for accountability and in some cases, US Beverage Net was able to identify 20% loss of beer and, with some basic review of staff and practices, were able to get the losses down to 2%.
Now while it’s easy to see how hundreds lines with beer flowing inefficiently can lead to quick turn around on investment dollars, but how can this help a brew pub? Empire Brewing Company is currently using the system and brewer Tim is able to accurately monitor inventory so he can plan out brew sessions, asses the effectiveness of recipes with sales information, and do all this from the comfort of his home. The web-based user interface has created a situation where he can pick and chose the time he needs to spend in the bar so he doesn’t have to walk into the coolers picking up the kegs every night to monitor supply.
Finally, they’ve got some interesting prospects for the future. US Beverage Net has recently signed on with a few distributors. Now this is interesting because they can provide access to distributors to have a real-time view of inventory at bars and restaurants. This can save them man hours, gas and increase efficiency of the beer distribution process. There is also the possibility for US Beverage Net to, as they build their client base, compile information for brewers and the beer industry to provide an immediate snapshot of consumer reaction to beer in the market.
Over all, the upside of this product is great. It’s especially attractive given the current economic climate and everyone’s desire to stretch every penny. This quote from Jake Wright of Quaker Steak and Lube says a lot:
“We have had a FULL return on our investment for the installation and a full year of fees from just ONE busy night, moving from a variance of 20% the week before we notified staff to just 3% the week after. The system worked from day one, the support from the Bevnet team was immediate when needed and most importantly the cost was amazingly low. No hassle, easy to use, low cost and immediate ROI.”
Syracuse is a great beer town and US Beverage Net is a great beer company using innovation to help modernize the industry we support. Cheers.
UPDATE – Found this story online