Beverage tech 

Trends and innovations

  The emerging beverage technology trends primarily focus on improving sustainability to address growing concerns over climate change. Industry 4.0 technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data, advanced analytics, and robotics are also becoming mainstream in the industry. These technologies improve the overall productivity of beverage production, from sourcing and manufacturing to product distribution and sales.
    Commerce is another major emerging trend that is meeting rapidly changing customer preferences. Moreover, it allows beverage brands to reach their consumer more efficiently with much lesser upfront costs. Many beverage companies are also integrating immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to further boost customer engagement. In addition, blockchain-based solutions and advanced beverage production systems enhance supply chain visibility and production throughput, respectively. 

Impact of Beverage Technology Trends
    The growing consumer preference for sustainable products, along with governmental norms, are pushing sustainability into the forefront position of BevTech trends. In addition, IoT, AI, data analytics, and robotics improve production efficiency and minimise operational costs.
    Among consumer-facing solutions, eCommerce and immersive reality integrations are improving customer engagement and loyalty. There is also a significant boost in solutions that enhance food safety throughout the supply chain, including smart warehousing and blockchain-based supply chain monitoring.

    Concerns over global warming and climate change are driving companies and consumers to adopt sustainability. This is why sustainability is fast emerging as the top trend in the beverage industry. Consumers are aware of various environmental impacts caused by the industry and support brands that align with their sustainability goals. As a result, BevTech develop solutions that reduce the carbon footprint of beverage production operations through energy-efficient integrations and novel production techniques.
    Apart from these, beverage companies now use sustainable materials in their packaging choices, for example, plastic-free or reusable packaging. This significantly reduces the ecological impacts as single-use packaging is a major contributor to land and marine plastic pollution.
    Facilitating sustainable gin production. Dog and Spoon Distillery distillery runs on a solar-powered system and relies on sustainably sourced energy when there is no sunlight. In addition, it uses a biomass boiler to heat the distillery year-round. This approach decouples energy consumption from the grid and, hence, allows cut down emissions significantly. It also combines a custom-built water system to recycle water and plastic-free packaging, further reducing environmental impact.

Internet of Things
    Digitisation of industrial processes enables beverage manufacturers to establish a connected ecosystem from sourcing to distribution. Besides, the need for improved food safety standards and transparency is accelerating the integration of IoT into the beverage sector. Consequently, companies are able to improve their operational efficiency and constantly monitor manufacturing processes.
    To achieve this, b yproviding various IoT devices, including humidity, fluid level, motion, optical, and temperature sensors. Leveraging these solutions enables production and floor managers to track various environmental and process parameters to ensure optimal productivity. Besides, such solutions streamline inventory management and facilitate product tracking across the supply chain.
    Offering real-time fermentation analysis. To achieve this, Winely combines IoT and AI in its fermentation tanks. This mitigates the need for manual sampling, lowering contamination risks. Besides, it provides wineries real-time data analytics that allows them to reduce off-spec ferments and strengthens food safety. The solution, thus, saves time, reduces wastage, and improves the production quality.

Artificial Intelligence
    The use cases of IoT are enhanced further by applying artificial intelligence in beverage production. With the data from the connected devices, AI solutions extract the overall picture of manufacturing processes and derive meaningful insights into operations. In addition, it automates production operations such as cooling, inventory management, and flavor profiling. AI-based solutions also assist operation and maintenance (O&M) planning by enabling order forecasting and predictive maintenance, respectively.
    At the consumer end, AI algorithms running on kiosks and smartphone apps personalise product recommendations. BevTech leverage these insights to produce new flavors based on consumer preferences and social media trends.

Smart Warehousing
    Automating various aspects of warehouses allows beverage manufacturers to increase productivity while minimising labor and wastage costs. Smart warehousing ensures an effective material handling system that prevents damage or loss. Voice-controlled warehouse operations and the use of automated guided vehicles for product handling are on the rise, along with automated flow control and bottling solutions.
    In addition, advanced warehousing solutions facilitate inventory management of final products as well as raw materials. Especially in fermented products, smart warehousing reduces spoilage due to unwanted exposure that may affect product quality. When combined with IoT, it also provides end-to-end visibility into temperature-controlled storage conditions of ingredients and products.
    Providing a digital wine cellar management platform. Vinou-Cellar, combines all data generated within the cellar, including fermentation curves. It enables digital communication to the wine laboratories and provides an optional fully automated wine bookkeeping approved by the viticulture authority. Vinou, thereby, speeds up cellar operations and offers all the relevant information under a single platform, facilitating barrel, cellar, and sales management. Apart from these, they now offers near-field communication (NFC) chip-based solution to access wine tanks directly and monitor production processes.

    The rise of social media and online food aggregation platforms is encouraging beverage companies to take their products into online markets. Apart from facilitating direct consumer interactions, this allows brands to establish targeted marketing campaigns to accelerate sales. Additionally, eCommerce platforms facilitate multiple distribution models, such as omnichannel and direct-to-consumer (D2C) product distribution.
    This further elevates customer experience and positively impacts sales. To facilitate this transition, many do provide online platforms that allow brands to set up eCommerce channels without upfront costs. There is also a boost in subscription-based services that offer constant revenue for longer periods. Moreover, eCommerce data provides granular insights into customer preferences and product performance.
    YaVino provides wine subscriptions. They selects four different wines and ships them to the subscribers. It also provides a range of products from various locations, wineries, and processes. This, in turn, allows consumers to taste a wide selection of wines at the comfort of home and without any shipping costs.

Immersive Reality
    Augmented reality and virtual reality are very efficient at better connecting with customers. To facilitate their use in the beverage sector, developing immersive reality solutions that integrate immersive customer interaction into product packaging. This allows beverage brands to communicate their brand story and values efficiently, thereby improving brand loyalty. It is also beneficial in sharing information, like supply chain and carbon footprint data as more consumers care about sustainability and ethical concerns while consuming foods & beverages.
    Moreover, the growing interest in virtual marketplaces and changing consumer buying behavior are impacting how companies use these technologies. For instance, many wine producers now offer digital tours of their vineyards and other beverage companies using interactive storytelling and conversion campaigns.
    Providing AR smartphone apps for wine and spirit brands. The apps allow users to place digital content of their choice, including videos, comments, and awards, on existing labels. This, in effect, enables brands to broadcast marketing content to improve communication with consumers and increase brand loyalty. Since it does not need changing labels, Smartbottle’s AR solutions reduce development costs and speed up the time to market.

    Advancements in AI and data analytics accelerate the integration of robotics into beverage production lines and consumer-facing services. The range of applications on the manufacturing side includes vineyard management and protection, inventory management, packaging, and distillery automation.
    For bars and cafeterias, it provides robots to mix cocktails, dispense alcohol, brew coffee, and make smoothies along with food serving robots. This allows beverage brands and businesses to significantly reduce labor costs while positively impacting product consistency, operational throughput, and food safety. In addition, robotics lowers inventory and product wastage due to spoilage and defects, respectively, further reducing production costs.
    Offering robotic kiosks for dispensing beverages. RoboJuice kiosks use a dispenser unit for ingredient storage and distribution, a cutting system to shave ingredients, and a self-cleaning blender, along with artificial intelligence. This allows the kiosks to calibrate continuously and ensure error-free servings of juices and smoothies, thus improving product consistency. Besides, they only utilises organic ingredients, providing healthy drinks.

    Blockchain-based solutions strengthen food safety and traceability in the beverage sector. The technology provides immutable data into products in storage and transit, allowing brands to monitor their inventory constantly and identify counterfeits.
    Moreover, it ensures that no substandard or counterfeit product reaches the end-consumers that may cause severe health risks and impact brand image. It also validates customer concerns about a beverage’s carbon footprint and provenance. Transparency into supply chains improves customer satisfaction and loyalty, thereby advancing sales.
    Developing a beverage product traceability solution. It leverages blockchain for secure record-keeping, customisable enterprise resource planning (ERP) features, and scannable holograms. Software, Vault Software, allows autonomous data collection and facilitates winery asset management to track, trace, and authenticate wines. This provides customers granular insights into the wine’s supply chain.

Big Data & Analytics
    With social media, consumers generate and interact with beverage brands through visual content and surveys, creating data points at each step. The beverage industry uses big data and analytics to generate insights from this consumer data. Such solutions provide detailed visibility into customer behavior patterns that allow beverage brands to target their products and campaigns effectively.
    Along with IoT, big data & analytics enable beverage production companies to streamline operations. These include energy management, logistics optimization, maintenance, and yield prediction, among others.
    Developing an alcohol dispensing kiosk that provides brand performance data. They utilise cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and IoT to convert brick-and-mortar businesses into digital touchpoints. This allows Sylf to gather live consumption data to guide strategic business decisions and analyze product performances. By allowing beverage brands to recognize customer choices and improve their experience, they enables them to personalise product recommendations and boost sales. 

Advanced Beverage Production
    Along with optimising various operations across the industry, companies now also focus on improving manufacturing processes. For instance, many winemakers are switching to underwater aging as it provides consistent temperatures, ideal low light, and high pressures without energy inputs. Advancements in forward osmosis are enabling beverage companies to improve efficiency in concentrating beverage products such as beer and coffee.
    Developing ultra-fast cooling systems based on reverse microwaves to serve wine at recommended temperatures within minutes rather than waiting for the bottle to chill in the fridge. These technologies, among others, allow beverage manufacturers to improve product quality and food security.
    HB Pro, a smart fermentation chamber. HB Pro combines advanced heating and cooling technology and provides precise temperature control through an in-built touch screen and smart phone app. This allows fermented product manufacturers to automate fermentation programs and optimise conditions for microbes to thrive, providing better control over flavor. Also offers various fermentation programs to start and manage operations quickly.