Tapping into the smart beer market

Weissbeerger's Alcohol Analytics provides real-time data from hundreds of flow meters on beer taps.

Israeli start-up Weissbeerger Ltd. has embarked on the path taken by mobile phones, television, and cars, and plans making the beer tap smart. The company's product enables bars and pubs to save money, boost beer revenue, and to better manage the supply chain.

Weissbeerger is a unique start-up that offers an alcohol monitoring system. Its Alcohol Analytics, which is already in use at pubs and breweries, is a kind of EKG that provides breweries with real-time data from hundreds of flow meters on beer taps in bars and restaurants, to reveal consumption statistics and trends.

The Alcohol Analytics system characterizes and analyzes the data and issues reports, which Weissbeerger claims boosts beer consumption and saves costs. It promises customers 7-12% reduction in theft and waste and 5-80% increase in consumption per user.

Weissbeerger's customers obtain the data via a simple and user-friendly app, which displays graphics. The app covers a range of data, including the amount of beer drunk in a given period of time. A publican does not have to be present behind the bar or make any exertion; he simply looks at the app on his iPad.

"We reinvented the beer tap," says Weissbeerger CEO Omer Agiv. "We make simple taps smart, which helps the business improve its consumption through learning. The idea of the product emerged a few years ago with the development of a self-dispensing system at bars."

The product's first version allowed customers to pour their own beer and pay per liter, rather than by the number of glasses. The product offered customers an important gimmick - no customer was forced to drink warm beer. A customer could pour himself a small amount of chilled beer at any time. "This idea," says Agiv, "increased bar sales and led to the creation of our system, which provides automated monitoring of consumption at bars."

Not on the house

Weissbeerger's flow meters on beer taps are connected in real time to a virtual cloud, which enables breweries to manage their brands and publicans to know consumption in real time. The data can be analyzed in many ways to provide information which was not available before in the industry. The new system allows publicans to deal with theft by telling them how much beer has been poured for free to be drunk by barmen or their friends on the house.

"This is a very interesting field," says Agiv. "Today, publicans can only get data manually or through focus groups and studies by brand managers. We do this remotely in real time, sending the data to the brewery, so the brand manager can know how many customers drink its beers, and how to promote sales. The jewel in the crown is the possibility of analyzing the data for bars to provide incentives at certain times to boost sales."

Marketing managers can also obtain data about the beer's temperature the moment it is served to the customer. The wrong temperature affects taste and may imply that a pub is serving a rival brand to customers.

Breweries' brand managers are the biggest beneficiaries of the system. In many cases, they share in the system's operating costs, together with the publican. "Our system can tell when customers drink less and offers special incentives at those times to the people at that location," says Agiv. He offers an example, "Many industries, such as gas stations, offer different prices in the morning and the evening. We enable the manufacturer to change the discounts on its products at the bar so customers will boost sales."

Anyone who frequents pubs is familiar with happy hour. The format is arbitrary, offered at various times on different days, irrespective of real-time sales. "We make it possible to analyze campaigns at the tap level, rather than at the annual level as at present," says Agiv.

Joint venture with SAP

Weissbeerger's product is already installed at many pubs in Tel Aviv, and the company is in cooperation talks with German and Danish breweries. It recently won global recognition for its analytics dashboard at the SAP HANA Start-up Challenge, where Weissbeerger was one of four finalists for most innovative company, out of the 600 participants from all over the world.

"SAP is using us to establish joint ventures for its systems and our sensors," says Agiv. He and his partners met SAP AG (NYSE; DAX: SAP) co-founder Hasso Plattner at an closed event for the representatives of ten start-ups.

Agiv founded Weissbeerger with VP business development Ori Fingerer and Victor Levitin in 2010. The company has eight employees, and has raised almost $1 million from LH Finance and private investors Dmitry Shpernovitz, Max Godin, Michael Lewkowicz, Fingerer and Levintin. The company is holding a new financing round in which it hopes to raise more than $1 million. An advisor is Rob Keve, and Englishman who founded Fizzback Ltd., which NICE Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: NICE; TASE: NICE) acquired for $80 million in 2011. Agiv says that Weissbeerger was reporting regular revenue from its first day.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 16, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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