Oh, So Now Startups Want To Replace Bartenders?
PourMyBeer proves nothing is sacred.
BY sarah rense | Oct 27, 2017 | Opinion
Innovative Tap Solutions is a startup that is putting automatic beer dispensers into bars so that bartenders don't have to personally wait on customers. Instead, customers help themselves from a digitized draft system, paying as a computer tracks their pours. The system is called PourMyBeer. Is this the future we asked for?
CEO Josh Goodman created PourMyBeer because one time, he couldn't get a bartender to serve him at a crowded bar before an Orioles game in Baltimore. Now, in its second year in production, his invention has been sold to 122 locations across the country, and he predicts, "We could eventually be in 10 percent of the bars in the U.S.," reports Crain's Chicago Business. The taps sell for $1,700 each, plus $500 for maintenance, and Goodman is pulling in more investment money to keep growing.
One craft beer bar in Chicago, the Navigator Taproom, is pleased with PourMyBeer, because it encourages customers to sample multiple beers—pours are limited to 4 ounces, and tracked via a card a customer swipes with each selection. The bar's owner says he hires one or two fewer bartenders a night now that machines are doing the heavy lifting.
One or two fewer bartenders doesn't seem like a big deal. But that's one or two people who just got replaced by a screen and a spout. That's one or two familiar faces that won't give you a quick nod to acknowledge they'll grab your order next as they rush down the bar to grab limes, or slide you a free whiskey shot on a crazy night as they down their own because hey, they need a drink too. And it isn't ridiculous to think that because automation is all the rage these days, devices like PourMyBeer (which has a handful of competitors) could eventually trickle down to smaller pubs with lower turnovers, taking out the familiar bartender and replacing them with self-service, for all the ambience of a soulless fro-yo shop.
And frankly, you're no pro at pouring your own beer. Any pour you try is going to be 40 percent head, which is about 35 percent wasted beer. So thank your bartender tonight. And don't forget to tip.