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What's worse than the bar running out of your favourite beer? For a drinker, not much. For the bar owner, though, it's much worse. That's money you're missing out on, as well as losing the opportunity to fulfil your drinkers' cravings.
US company, Steady Serve Technologies, has come up with iKeg, which helps both bar owners and beer suppliers to stop bars unexpectedly running out of beer.
Most bar managers still rely on the time-honoured method of picking kegs up to determine how much beer is left in them, but the iKeg system lets them know precisely how many glasses of beer are left in any keg, any time.
Still in its test phase, the iKeg uses some new hardware, fitted inside the keg. There is a sensor fitted beneath the keg to measure its weight and an RFID tag, similar to those odd things in department stores that have to be taken off with those funny looking scissor/stapler things.

Steve Hershberger, the Chairman and CEO of SteadyServ, says the sensor measures weight and velocity inside the keg to calculate how much beer is being consumed.

“It uses a series of wireless technologies and cellular technologies to get that information from the cooler up to the cloud, or the internet, and back down to the handset,” Hershberger said. “Which is where people can do things with it.”

Those things include not running the keg dry in the middle of a rush, obviously. But they also include automatically delivering replacement orders directly to the beer distributor, via either email, text or a direct message. The beer distributors themselves can let the bar managers know which kegs are running low, how many glasses until they run out and how much stock they have of a particular beer to keep them covered if, say, there's a run of XXXX drinkers arriving in a pub in Tasmania.
iKeg also keeps trak of what beer is selling and what isn't, along with what beers other local bars are moving and what isn't.

"Our system lets beer distributors know at a glance which of its retailers are in inventory trouble," Hershberger said.  "It lets them know who has ordered, who hasn’t (but needs to before they run out) and which of their retail accounts are out of synch (seeing a slow down in beer sales). 

"The beer rep can jump in and provide specific help and resources to aid the retailer in optimizing their beer sales, which in many cases is the greatest profit center establishments have."

Ultimately, SteadyServ wants to combine iKeg with both ordering and social media applications, so customers will also get to tap into the technology to find what's on tap, where.

“You’re going to be able to look at your phone and the app is going to tell you to go a block down the street and to the right and they’ve got three of your favorite beers,” Hershberger said.

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