As technology continues to evolve, more hospitality services are going digital. By this point you’ve probably seen an iPad menu in a restaurant at least once. Some bars are serving cocktails via drone, and now more than a handful have adopted systems that make customers pour their own beer from tap walls. The latter is currently a hot topic in beer-centric cities around the country.
Bars like Barrel Republic and Común in San Diego and the upcoming First Draft in Denver have adopted systems like iPourIt and PourMyBeer, both of which bring flashy new systems to bars, restaurants, sports stadiums, events centers and hotels from the East Coast to the West. How does it work? Customers use their credit cards to register for a wristband or beer card, which is scanned by the tap handle as one pours the beer into a pint glass. The number of dispensed ounces is logged and charged to the customer’s account. Each bar can set pour limits per customer to curb overconsumption.
The system offers new efficiencies for the host because wasted and unaccounted-for pours are reduced. There’s also something to be said for needing less staff to man the bar. For the customers, having the autonomy to serve yourself is also appealing. Paying by the ounce makes it ideal for those times you wish you could have just a few more sips without having to order a full pint. On the flip side, it feels like there’s an obvious lack of hospitality involved in the whole process; aren’t customers paying for bartenders and waitresses to serve us when they enter an establishment? The DIY system also leaves plenty of room for error; not every drinker is well-versed in how to pour a proper pint, after all.
Regardless of which camp you align with, we’ll definitely be seeing more automation in the hospitality industry, so maybe it’s something we just all have to get used to seeing at the local pub. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with debating the merits over a cold brew.
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