The internet of things, #IOT. It can help us warm our house before we arrive home, but could it also save brewers thousands of pounds in lost beer containers?
That’s what the team at i-Keg think, with an innovation that could make lost drinks containers a thing of the past. This rings a bell with me as I can recall visiting a site once, somewhere in the Midlands, not exactly sure where, which was a four-acre-plus graveyard of beer casks and kegs. That image of tens of thousands of pounds worth of brewers’ metal lying unclaimed, having been rescued from various venues around the country has stayed with me.
And working occasionally for a microbrewer I know how much those casks and kegs cost to buy new, and what a major part of a brewer’s capital expense outlay they are!
Solutions have been drawn up before, but the folks at i-Keg reckon they have the best, most robust and secure answer yet in a unit which is generating huge interest. Next stop for Sales Director Darren Duncan is major trade show BrauBeviale, in Nuremberg, Germany, at the end of this month, where the latest step in the i-Keg’s technology will be demonstrated.
Every year, between 5 and 10% of the industry’s cask and keg stock are stolen, misused, or simply stuck in the current system, costing the industry globally between £500 and £800m.
i-Kegs are available in 50-, 30-, and 20-litre and casks, 9 and 4.5 gallon, all traceable thanks to the tracking unit i-spear within the keg, or i-tag in the cask wall, unlike some ‘fitted on top’ solutions on the market. Not only does the i-spear tell the brewer exactly where their keg is, the temperature and history. it can also reveal how much liquid is left in the keg. Imagine the phone conversation: “We see you’ve nearly sold out of that IPA — can we send you some more?”
The spear sits within a heavy duty bottle which is then surrounded by an “almost indestructible” outer sleeve. When the kegs and casks do come to the end of life, they are designed to be fully recyclable. Old shells can be recycled to form new shells, or as recycled material within another manufacturing processes.
The patent pending i-Spear, software, and cloud platform has been built from the ground up by i-Keg to deliver the industry’s first data analytics in near real-time. Secure, unobtrusive, with no welding or screw fixings, the i-Spear has been designed to replace brewers’ current steel fleet existing spears.
AWS-hosted secure cloud infrastructure ensures global accessibility and security with a full suite of data analytics at keg and cask owners’ fingertips.
• i-Keg is a commercial Patreon supporter of Beer Today. To find out more about i-Keg, visit i-keg.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Book an appointment to see i-Keg at Braubeviale 2023, in Hall 1, on stand 1333. To become a Beer Today commercial Patreon supporter, click here.