Keg monitoring device will be the end of a pub with no beer

Keg monitoring device will be the end of a pub with no beer

Keg monitoring device will be the end of a pub with no beer

Updated 12 September 2017, 13:35 AEST

Homebrewer creates device that measures how much beer is left in a keg, the temperature and how long it has been away from the brewery.

Imagine it is a hot summer day, the beers are flowing and the barbecue is firing. And then the keg runs out.

It is every beer drinker, bartender and the host's worst nightmare.

But now Binary Beer technology, invented by home brewer Michael Burton and developed at the University of Wollongong, could be a saving grace and a game changer for the beer industry.

Mr Burton's device determines how much beer is left in a keg, its temperature and how long it has been away from the brewery.

Mr Burton said when brewing his own beer, one of the biggest issues he faced was when they would run empty, something that happened regularly.

''So I went about creating a solution," Mr Burton said.

He said the problem did not just have an impact on home brewers, but was a ''global issue''.

Smart keg in action

Mr Burton's simple device, which uses sensors that attach to the keg, has started rolling out worldwide.

It can run for years on normal batteries, transmitting over long distances.

"It tracks the temperature of the keg, how long it has been at those temperatures so we can tell how the product inside is coping, how fast it's staling and the location using geolocation technology," Mr Burton said.

Phillip O'Shea, of Wollongong's Five Barrel Brewing craft-beer brewery, said when he heard about the technology, it was like a meeting of minds.

"I was always really fascinated with technology and being able to apply a modern way of tracking kegs and their movements and relevant data to us as a brewery," Mr O'Shea said.

"In addition to knowing where our kegs are it will also give us the data to see whether they are being treated correctly, show us the temperature which is a good indication of quality and whether they are full to know when we should deliver more kegs to a venue," he said.

Industry Game changer

Binary Beer is now in talks with some of the biggest of the world's brewers, including Heineken and Anheuser-Busch.

With the rise in hardcore craft beer enthusiasts this Australian creators say this innovation could be make waves industry-wide.

"I am quite certain this is going to be a game changer, it's one of the hardest things to track.

"Kegs go through temperature extremes where they are in a fridge really cold or when they are being cleaned with boiling hot liquids and they get bashed and dropped around," Mr Burton said.

The innovation could also be revolutionary for outback country hotels that are constrained by travel and access to goods.

"In the craft beer industry taphouses have many kegs and keeping those stocked can be very difficult and from the brewer's side if kegs have been there for months it might be best to get them back so they don't serve stale beer and get a bad name," he said.

The idea has come to reality through the iAccelerate digital living lab at the University of Wollongong's SMART Infrastructure facility, which helps entrepreneurs create innovative technologies.

"Everyone loves beer. I'm sure it will be a huge success," said CEO of the SMART Infrastructure facility, Tanya Brown .

"Partnering with global partners, like Amsterdam, it is a perfect environment for young entrepreneurs to come on and test their product in a living environment and then take it to the world."