Beer brewing predates the production of cannabis, distilled spirits, and wine but while other industries from antiquity have been resistant to change, brewing has been quick to embrace new technologies.
The latest is IntelligentX, using artificial intelligence to craft and refine its own recipes.
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Brewing consists of discreet processes which in concert inflect the creation of the beer. The company plans to continually refine its four recipes using customer feedback and machine learning to improve its four beers.
Meanwhile, more traditional breweries have also been quick to embrace new technology.
The meteoric rise of craft beer has lent itself to revolutionary brewing techniques.
Brewing is also an industry that suits newer methods, largely thanks to the combination of batch production, mathematically-based recipes, and stiff market competition.
Both the celebrated Stone Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing companies appear in GlobalData’s Internet of Things Innovation Tracker, along with many others.
Like IntelligentX, all of these innovative deployments combine data and manufacturing process to reduce wastage and optimise production.
Brewers have also been quick to market the other benefits of the latest operational technology. One of the key marketing differentials for the millennials chugging craft beer is sustainability.
New Belgium Brewing Co, one of the largest craft beer companies in the US, has strict environmental goals. Powering its on-site green energy plant, a Wonderware platform reduces both water and energy use.
While Sierra Nevada is using software from Johnson Control building management systems and a raft of motion sensors, ambient light sensors and timers function to optimise energy usage.
It’s not just the making of beer which has seen an influx of technologies.
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Scotty’s Brewhouse 11 locations all use SteadyServ to record tapped barrel weights to record beer levels and consumption data.
The tavern group joins almost 200 locations across the US in getting unparalleled insight into potential wastage and customer preferences.
Home brewing is also chock-a-block with Internet of Things (IoT) products. For example, best in show at the recent London & South East Craft Brewing Competition won the all-in-one Grainfather IoT fermenter.
Whilst many of can toast the successes of the brewing technology, many industries need to learn from this best practise that has contributed to craft beers causing significant disruption to the brewing giants.
Other consumer goods may have faced similar threats but any market which can be replicated by hobbyists faces comparable challengers.
Bee keeping is an excellent candidate; niche producer Yonder Honey has networked its hives with IoT and cheese, baking, and condiment markets could also be threatened.
The lesson is that these disruptive manufacturers are using technologies like IoT and artificial intelligence to revolutionise product development and sate customer demand.
As long as larger businesses look at technology purely as a means to cut costs they will never compete with their craft competition.