IoT is working its way into every aspect of the brewing industry except the actual liquid itself, but tech startup Tapptek is getting pretty damn close. Tapptek’s patented technology transforms existing beer taps into devices that provide unique, real-time data on consumer purchasing behavior in an easy to understand format.
For decades brewers, retailers and distributors have been largely disconnected from consumer purchase behavior with billions of daily transactions not being captured and utilized. Tapptek solves that problem by turning dumb taps (yea, I said it, taps) into devices that distribute data with every pour.
Tapptek Founder & CEO Jamie Robinson came up with the idea while enjoying a beer at a pub in suburban Philadelphia.
“I had an epiphany as I stared at a sea of competing beer taps which all looked different but functioned the same,” he said.
The thinking goes: the more brewers, distributors and retailers can know about consumer purchasing behaviors, the better decision-making can be in terms of product offering, branding, etc. All of which is more important than ever right now. Metrics of note include a tap handle’s location in the lineup, when a beer is pouring and for how long, the volume dispensed and when a tap handle has gone on or off.
“Our technology can inform a brand when a consumer approaches within 30 feet of one of their tap handles,” explained Tapptek’s chief product officer James Keane, “prior to the point of purchase, and with the insights on how that brand performs at that particular account, in that particular part of the account, on that hour of the day, that day of the week, and that month of the year. With these insights we will be able to provide a consumer activation platform that lots of brands dream of, but to-date nobody has ever successfully deployed.
This smart tap needed to be small, unobtrusive, scalable and cost effective to manufacture and distribute. They turned to Avnet to help develop the hardware to match its software.
“Avnet’s commitment to making sure the design process continued seamlessly, helping us turn challenges into opportunities,” Keane noted. “Draft beverage analytics at scale will be increasingly important to the beverage industry as we provide unique insights and measurements of consumer trends in the bar and restaurant industries, reflecting the impact of the pandemic and its aftermath.”
Robinson originally launched Tapptek in 2015 in a partnership with MillerCoors, which would sell the devices directly to retailers. This model didn’t quite work for a variety of reasons. Now, instead of trying to sell a distributor the technology through a beverage brand, Tapptek is providing the device for free to distributors but charging a monthly subscription to access the tap handle’s collected data. The company says Tapptek’s monthly price balances out to about 1% of the cost of an average keg.
Tapptek will begin product testing by mid-August and should be debuting the technology in a number of Philadelphia bars.