1. PourMyBeer is such a brilliant concept. Can you tell us what inspired you to create a self-serve draft set-up?
The short answer is that when I was fired from my position at an IT staffing company, I realized that working for a large brand was not for me. I started looking for problems that needed solving. When I would meet up with friends to grab a beer, I realized that the process of ordering something at a bar is truly broken. It takes 6-7 steps to get a drink. We’ve all poured our own beer at a party or home kegerator, so we asked – why couldn’t we do it when we went out? I kept thinking about how this could be done. This eventually led me to the idea of connecting RFID cards, like the ones used in hotels, to precisely measure amount of beer, wine, cocktails, kombuchas or cold brew poured by patrons in any hospitality establishment.
2. You’ve had great partnerships with established brands like Whole Foods and WeWork. How did you begin those conversations and get the word out about your product?
I’ve always liked the movie, “Field of Dreams.” Kevin Costner plays Ray, a farmer that hasn’t had a good crop in a while. He starts hearing voices in the cornfield say, “If you build it, they will come.” This leads him to mowing down the corn and building a baseball diamond. Eventually, the ghosts of baseball past show up and start playing. I link that to how we acquired customers like the ones listed above. We contacted all of them early in the game. We built a successful business, they saw the market validation, and that we are the clear leader in stability, security, and consistency, so they contacted us directly through our website. We built it and they came.
3. In what ways have you found PourMyBeer to be more efficient than standard draft systems? There are 6 steps to get a drink in most traditional taprooms/ restaurants: 1) Place an order with a waiter; 2)The server places an order in POS; 3)The bartender gets a print out of the drink to make; 4) They make the drink; 5) Bartender places drink on the pick-up area with the receipt; 6) The server delivers the drink.
The PourMyBeer system is 1-2 steps:
We did a stress test at a high volume event: a bar with 20 taps and 4 bartenders vs. a self pour tap wall with 20 taps and 2 employees. Over the course of 3 days, our system outsold the traditional method 4 to 1. That means that you can sell 400% more with 50% of the staff. That’s a game changer. Less theft, waste, and four times the efficiency.
4. What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs in the Food & Beverage industry?
Bring as much value as you possibly can, and don’t expect instant success. The food & beverage industry doesn’t invest or buy from you in the first few years. They want to see that you’re around for a few years. You need to build trust and credibility. I remember coming into the industry in 2009 thinking, “I’m going to sell 100’s of self-pour systems at a convention we went to.” We sold one and it was four months after the event. Play the long game if you’re coming into this industry. It’s a big industry, but everyone knows everyone. There were times where I had to choose whether to pay a vendor or pay my mortgage and I paid the vendors. I’m a believer in always doing the right thing and it’s paid off.
5. What’s next for PourMyBeer in 2019?
I don’t want to give too much away, but I can honestly say that in the 10 years I’ve been in this industry, I’ve never been more excited about what we’re going to do in the next 12 months than I am right now. We’re transitioning into more of a data-driven company. We plan to implement new algorithms to help our customers better predict the longevity of a keg and also make suggestions for new brands. Our team has doubled in size in the last two years and our integrations are getting better and better with companies like Oracle, Toast, Untappd, and Clear, to name a few. We’re very excited for the year ahead!