It’s probably not the future you expected. You were patiently waiting for flying cars, teleportation, robots and those three shells from Demolition Man. Hopefully, all of that awesomeness is still coming, just held up in the patent and safety-testing stages. Until that future arrives, we’ve got something to hold you over — coasters that communicate with your smartphone.
Pick up your jaw, and pop those eyes back in their sockets. Thin Film Electronics ASA, a global leader in NFC (near field communication) mobile marketing and smart product solutions, and Oskar Blues Brewery are integrating Thinfilm technology into beer coasters, enabling a direct mobile connection with consumers through the simple tap of a smartphone. To the press release:
“We’re excited to engage with innovative technology to bring a little more of the Oskar Blues brand right up to the barstool. Thinfilm allows can lovers to learn more about what we’re about and why the 16-ounce draft can is unique.” said Chad Melis, marketing director for Oskar Blues. “The 16-ounce Dale’s Pale Ale draft cans tell the story of our heritage, and patrons can learn that story more easily as the coaster takes them directly to dalespaleale.com.”
Celebrating 15 years, Oskar Blues Brewery is launching new 16-ounce Dale’s Pale Ale Draft Cans sold exclusively through bars and restaurants. These cans are enhanced by the awesome and odd artwork of avant-garde French illustrator McBess. By integrating Thinfilm technology into beer coasters, customers will be able to tap a phone to the coaster, which will take users to a webpage (www.dalespaleale.com) and then tell the Oskar Blues brand story, displaying the cool new McBess artwork featured on the 16-ounce draft can.
Other consumer-facing beer tech
MillerCoors is partnering with Amazon and Drizly to ensure you never have to leave your couch again. In fact, they’re saying they can restock your fridge in a cool 60 minutes. Sound easy? MillerCoors, a Molson Coors company (MillerSAB now being a part of Anheuser-Busch InBev) and the IPG Media Lab announced the launch of Miller Lite On-Demand — a suite of connected home services hoping to modernize the beer shopping experience — including a voice-activated Amazon Alexa skill and a custom AWS IoT Button.
How will MillerCoors and Amazon get back to customers within an hour? That’s where Drizly steps in. Drizly works with local stores all over the United States (40 markets nationwide). Via Drizly, customers can shop local store shelves using a smartphone or computer (or Amazon Alexa skill or custom AWS IoT Button) to order beer, wine and liquor.
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, 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?
illumiTap’s patented Transmitting Induction Power (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.