Just as pizza has paved the way for interesting food technology, beer appears to be the beverage to watch when you want to know where drink automation is heading.
Two companies on opposite ends of the beer spectrum are leading the way; Hop Robotics is a small, one-man operation that only has one commercial prototype, while Heineken is a giant global using robotics more as a promotional gimmick. Regardless of their intentions, both companies are looking to make it easier and faster for consumers to grab a brew.
The ‘homebrewed’ beer robot has come to the market courtesy of Hop Robotics in South Carolina.
Dubbed Walter, Hop Robotics’ beer robot uses an articulating arm and bottom pouring cups to automate beer dispensing. The robotic arm is built on a kegerator with four dispensers. Walter can take an order, dispense, and serve a drink in roughly 25 seconds, and do roughly 140 cups of beer an hour.
Meanwhile, Heineken has created the Heineken B.O.T (Beer Outdoor Transporter). The robot is autonomous and uses motion sensors to follow you around and avoid obstacles. It’s summer in the U.S and many regions are experiencing record temperatures, so Heineken’s timing couldn’t be more perfect.
In its promotional video, the beer giant points out that lugging coolers around on a hot day is heavy and no fun. The B.O.T.’s cooler holds 12 cans of beer and ice and since it goes where you go, a frosty beverage is always within arm’s reach.