A tap handle is a great extension of a brewery’s brand, and now you can make that extension shine. A company called illumiTap is sticking bright lights inside beer tap handles, thinking that might garner more attention from consumers (because, like insects, we are attracted to bright things). But that’s not all. illumiTap can also maybe collect data from that tap wirelessly, which is cooler. In fact, illumiTap has been granted a “worldwide utility patent” on this tech. What tech?
From the press release:
Early versions of illumiTap beer tap handles featured basic LED illumination and were powered by lithium-ion batteries which required recharging. This proved to be the biggest hurdle preventing widespread acceptance by the draft beer industry. Relying on bartenders to reliably connect the chargers every night was not a viable solution so the illumiTap team focused all their energy and resources on developing and perfecting a wireless power solution.
In late 2016 the solution was found and the Transmitting Induction Power (TIP) standard was created. illumiTap’s patented TIP power systems are comprised of a power sending unit and a receiving coil embedded in the base of a TIP-enabled beer tap handle. Magnetic fields are intelligently routed using Bluetooth technology to create an electronic current within the tap handle that powers various onboard technologies. The power sending unit is designed to universally-fit all beer tap tower spouts in the market. It works for front and back-bar configurations and is a true plug-and-play system that requires no modification to existing draft beer systems or hardware.
However, it’s not just about lighting up the beer tap handles. The TIP-enabled handles are a technology platform and with the addition of accelerometers and wifi or cellular connectivity, illumiTap handles are able to communicate real-time data about beer sales directly to illumiTap clients. Major beer brands can see exactly how much beer is being poured, when and where. Interaction directly with consumers can be done via Bluetooth push messaging, apps and more. illumiTap’s patented technology has opened the door to countless other technologies and companies that could license illumiTap technology or partner with them to deliver additional features and services.
While we’re on the fence about tap handles that light up, data collection is always a useful tool.