Small Brewing is Big Business, and Tech Companies are Cashing In

Matthew Patane reported on the front page of the business section in Sunday’s Des Moines Register that, “Each day, it seems like more and more breweries pop up in Iowa and across the U.S.

“With them have come festivals, tours and companies looking to profit off their success.

“‘Small brewing is big business now as you look at it collectively,’ said Bart Watson, chief economist with the Colorado-based Brewers Association.”

The Register article stated that, “The number of craft breweries has exploded across the U.S. in recent years. There were more than 4,200 craft brewers in the nation in 2015, up from about 1,750 just five years prior, according to the Brewers Association.”

The article pointed out that, “Technology is also making its way into how brewers manage a key asset: their kegs.

“John Martin, the co-founder of Confluence Brewing Co., said brewers can stand to lose between 15 and 20 percent of their cooperage, or kegs, a year. Brewers send those kegs out to customers, such as restaurants or bars, and may never see them again…[S]o, Confluence decided to develop software that would help them track their kegs.”

Mr. Patane also noted that, “Another new Des Moines company, FliteBrite, is also gunning to introduce more technology into breweries by giving the traditional serving method for beer flights an upgrade.

“Beer flight paddles, typically made out of wood, are low-tech by nature. Customers may receive slips of paper with the name of their samples, but little else…[F]liteBrite’s paddles come with an interactive screen that would let customers see the name of the beers in their flights and find out more information. McDougal said FliteBrite wants to be able to provide breweries and restaurants with more data on what their customers are drinking.”

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