A major drink distributor has invested in a Chicago startup that allows bar patrons to help themselves to their own beer.
Coca-Cola European Partners announced on Thursday that its CCEP investment arm has acquired a 25 percent stake in Innovative Tap Solutions, the company behind startup PourMyBeer. The drinktech startup plans to spend the cash on expanding its offerings to include soft drink dispensaries in Western Europe, beginning with a trial run in Spain.
“We’re a liquid-agnostic company that wants to grow in the non-alcoholic space,” founder and CEO Josh Goodman said in a statement.
Goodman came up with the idea for PourMyBeer while standing inside a crowded bar in Baltimore, an establishment packed with 150 patrons and just four servers. He thought about the steps necessary to serve just one customer: bartenders needed to know the patron’s order, collect and process their payment, and then mix and serve their drink.
“This inefficiency wasn’t just a problem for the thirsty guests, but also the owners losing out on sales,” Goodman thought.
He realized the need for an ATM-like system for serving drinks: and so PourMyBeer was born. The startup launched in 2012, and has since installed its self-service taps in more than 7,000 hotels, restaurants and bars, with clients ranging from Whole Foods to Caesars Entertainment. Its special taps allow imbibers to pour their own drink and pay by the ounce.
And while beer may be in the name, the startup is not limiting itself to just one liquid libation. PourMyBeer said its self-pouring technology has dispensed everything from olive oil to kombucha to coffee — notably, the coffee stand at 1871.
The company’s parent Innovative Tap Solutions has so far raised at least $1.6 million in funding. PourMyBeer is currently hiring for a full-stack engineer. Branded Strategic Hospitality also participated in Thursday’s undisclosed round.