BruVue, a beverage data company, announced that it has closed $1 million in seed investment. BruVue also announced that it has won Heineken’s Innovators Brewhouse Challenge, in which Heineken searched the entire world for an IoT (internet of things) solution to give consumers more information about their SUB home draft system, including how much beer is remaining inside.
“BruVue has experienced incredible momentum over the past year,” said Christopher Lorkowski, CEO of BruVue. “That is because we are offering something that is truly revolutionary — the only beverage inventory system on the market where sensors can be ordered online, received in the mail, dropped on beer faucets, and set up on a smartphone in minutes. We will use this round of funding and our momentum to extend the reach of our system to global connectivity in 2018, helping the beverage industry around the world.”
Targeting the $500 billion global beer market, BruVue’s data help bar owners control waste and theft, saving them $12,000 per year in unaccounted loss. Its data help distributors see account inventory levels, enabling them to practice lean supply chain. And the data also help breweries validate ad and product performance.
The Heineken award comes on the heels of a year of recognition for BruVue from some of the nation’s leading entrepreneurial support organizations. BruVue won the RIoT annual startup pitch competition that recognizes some of the hottest IoT startups in North Carolina, which is judged by a panel of investors, many from Fortune 500 companies. Out of a group of 173 applicants, BruVue also was one of a handful of companies to win a seed grant from NC IDEA, a private foundation supporting the formation and fruition of high-growth entrepreneurial endeavors in the state. BruVue was accepted into the NC IDEA LABS accelerator, an intensive program for founders developing high-growth companies and the premier program of its kind in North Carolina. BruVue also was named a top 10 startup to watch by the North Carolina Technology Association, a not-for-profit association focused on advancing the state’s tech industry.
BruVue most recently won Heineken’s Innovators Brewhouse Challenge to connect THE SUB, Heineken’s home draft system, to the cloud. Heineken’s SUB gets its name from its submarine-like appearance. The SUB team searched the world for creative ideas and solutions to offer consumers an enhanced home draft experience, giving them more information about their SUB. BruVue developed a sensor and app with its technology for tracking keg levels to track how much beer a user has left in their SUB. The BruVue connected app also allows consumers to rate and share beers on social media, receive recommendations, and create an order queue of beers that they would like delivered next.
BruVue’s data benefit bars, distributors and breweries
“Keg inventory is one of the hardest things to manage for a bar,” said Michael Mitchell, vice president of sales for BruVue. “Not knowing how much beer is left in a keg is both frustrating and costly for bar owners, distributors and brewers. BruVue customers are relieved and excited to finally be able to track all of their beer inventory pour by pour without needing to shake heavy kegs that weigh up to 160 pounds.”
BruVue’s sensor simply drops onto beer faucets, and accurately tracks keg levels pour by pour in real time. BruVue shows bar owners their keg inventory in real time on their smartphones, enabling them to control waste and theft.
“Keg inventory is also a challenge for distributors,” Mitchell said. “You have to drive account to account to shake kegs and check inventory. Finding a keg full or empty is a problem. If you find a keg empty, your tap handle may have been replaced by a competitor’s. If you find a keg full, you sold that bar a product that their customers aren’t buying.”
BruVue enables distributors to see their product inventory and movement at bars in real time from their smartphones. Distributors no longer have to drive account to account to check inventory levels and can practice just-in-time supply.
“In the three-tier distribution system in the United States, the breweries are required to sell their beer to distributors, and the distributors deliver and sell that beer to retailers,” Mitchell said. “The three-tier system in the U.S. presents some tough supply chain challenges for everyone in beer, from bar owners, to distributors, to brewers.”
Breweries are thirsty for data. The growth of craft beer and the challenges of the three-tier supply chain are increasing the number of tap handles at bars, the number of SKUs at distributors, and the number of new products that brewers must produce. It’s difficult at every tier of the supply chain to know what consumers are drinking, and this problem is becoming more complex as product diversity in the market increases.
BruVue’s data enable brewers to see performance at the taps ounce by ounce to validate new product performance and promotion effectiveness.
“We are excited about the simplicity and scalability of the sensing technology that we have developed and are poised for significant growth in 2018,” Lorkowski said.