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Is Brewery Analytics Big Beer’s Secret Data-Driven Weapon Against Craft Beer?

a photo of a beer with a laptop behind it in the thick of the rise of brewery analytics

It’s certainly not under wraps that the craft beer industry is booming. In 1979, there were fewer than 50 craft breweries in the country. Today, over 6,300 craft breweries, brewpubs, and microbreweries exist. And in fact, beer sales in the U.S. today show craft beers outselling the “big boys” like Bud Light and Lite. It’s therefore of little surprise that the larger beer-makers are exploring new ways to compete with these craft beer industry trends. Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are impacting all businesses today, and breweries are no different.

The use of brewery analytics is emerging, and naturally, brewers with the largest amount of data have an advantage. Such breweries have already been using data to drive their marketing strategies. But now, they are finding other ways that brewery analytics can help them succeed.

a photo of Eric Franco's quote on the discussion of brewery analytics
Eric Franco gives his point of view in the discussion of brewery analytics

Using Brewery Analytics and Data to Drive Better Customer Relations

For any brewery, having a great product is important. However, with craft beer industry trends, the fact is that there are many tasty brews available. Knowing how, when and where to present your product to customers is imperative. Many major brewers are therefore using brewery analytics and data to guide these marketing practices more effectively.

For example, Heineken recently partnered with Walmart in using data to understand consumer behavior in front of store shelves better. The partnership employs the services of Shopperception, which offers insights on how best to place Heineken’s products in the store.

Heineken, of course, is not alone in using brewery analytics to drive marketing practices. Founders Brewing Co. recently signed with BeerBoard, a leading consumer data insight company in the hospitality industry. BeerBoard monitors beer draft lines at leading restaurants all over the country offering a wealth of consumer data. With such brewery analytics, Founders can better compete with other beers using strategic placement given current craft beer industry trends.

a photo of a shelves filled with different kinds of beers in the thick of the rise of brewery analytics and predictive analytics today
For any brewery, knowing how, when and where to present your product to customers is imperative.

From Marketing to Brewing —How Brewery Analytics Are Changing the Landscape

Many beer companies are data-driven in their marketing efforts, but the potential for brewery analytics offers much more. For example, Heineken has already experimented with a new beer bottle called Ignite. Equipped with 50 IoT sensors, the Ignite bottle has LED lights that “beat” with the music. Likewise, they also flicker when the bottle is tilted or “cheered”. Of course, these sensors offer additional opportunities for brewery analytics as well.

One of the new craft beer industry trends involves the use of brewery analytics in the actual brewing process. At Deschutes Brewery Inc., analytics are used to predict optimal sampling times during fermentation. This case has allowed Deschutes to reduce fermentation times by 4 percent while improving beer consistency. These benefits improve not only customer loyalty but also their bottom line.

a photo of Tim Alexander's quote about his company's mission amidst the discussion of brewery analytics
Tim Alexander on their company’s mission in the midst of the rise of brewery analytics

Are AI Brew Masters the Next Big Craft Beer Industry Trend?

While the larger brewers have greater consumer data to leverage, don’t count out craft beer brewers yet. Some innovative brewers are using brewery analytics along with artificial intelligence to create the actual beer produced. For example, IntelligentX Brewery Co. utilizes artificial intelligence to connect brewers with customer feedback to guide the brewing process decision-making. As a result, their beers are constantly evolving based on data and customer taste preferences.

Others have been even more innovative in their use of artificial intelligence and brewery analytics.

By the end of 2015, the British data-driven marketing firm Havas Helia gathered social media messages or posts from party attendees of the coming New Year’s Eve and analyzed them to determine the most-shared emotions the attendees felt for the new year. The British firm then collaborated with High Peak Brew Co. using IBM Watson to design a beer that matched the umbrella of emotions people felt for New Year’s Day. Havas Helia used the Watson Alchemy technology and the Watson Personality Insights tool—which connected the described emotions with the ingredients—to develop the beer recipe. The result was a limited batch of the beer “0101” for customers to enjoy.

brewing perfection made easy using data, a brewer improving beer using data in a lab
Breweries are now finding many ways to use brewery analytics to succeed.

Brewery Analytics and Predictive Analytics —One Among Disruptive Craft Beer Industry Trends

The largest brewers today are undoubtedly making moves to utilize their massive amounts of data to compete better. But brewery analytics offer an innovative potential for brewers of all sizes.

Indeed, companies like Heineken and Anheuser-Busch enjoy internal data and brewery analytics. At the same time, companies like BeerBoard provide services, such as brewery analytics, to smaller size breweries. And the opportunities to utilize brewery analytics in the actual brewing process could offer anyone an advantage. Regardless of brewery size, brewery analytics looks to be burgeoning as a necessary tool for those wishing to succeed in the future.


Founders Brewing Co. Signs Partnership with BeerBoard

A digital approach to an ancient craft

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