Client had an idea to create a system of self-serving beer taps which can be easily implemented in pubs all over the world, so that beer lovers can enjoy their favorite drink and, at the same time, have a lot of fun by competing with each other and possibly win variety of awards. First business model was to rent system to pub owners and provide maintenance, but was later recognized that it would be better to monetize on advertisement which can be displayed on the same large screen with results.
Beer Story system is easily one of our favorite projects as it required the most diverse skill set. Also, there were a lot of challenges, but we successfully overcame them and had a lot of fun doing it. It consists of modified beer taps which allow self-serving customers, custom flow measurement hardware, POS terminal, desktop and web application, RFID tags, cards and card readers. Customers can choose if they want to use unpersonalized RFID tags or they can register and get a personalized RFID card with their name on it. Customers can also form teams in which case they can provide logo which is also printed on the RFID card. The score (liters of beer) for each user and team is stored in the database and can be displayed on large screen or website in form of leaderboard. Bartender can easily swipe card and see how much he should charge the customer and also see how much of each beer was poured.
The base team for this project consisted of only five people. One backend/desktop developer, one frontend developer, UX/UI designer, electronic engineer and QA specialist. Although, as usual, we did use additional people in some stages of the project.
Desktop: Winforms, WPF, C#
Backend: ASP.NET, Web API 2, MVC, EF, C#
Database: MS SQL Server, SQLite3, postgresql, memcached
Other: Arduino C (for prototyping only), C
During the course of 3 months, we have created a sofisticated prototype of the system which was implemented in Beer Story Pub for planned 6 months test run. As expected, there were some bugs during the initial stage, but we promptly fixed them and overall, test run was a success. Everything worked perfectly and the project gained a lot of attention and interest. Also, during the test run, we thought of a lot of ideas about how this project could be enhanced even further. Some of them are adding the ability to organize world wide tournaments and other events, creating a social network for beer lovers with video conferencing abilities between pubs, creating a membership system for sponsors, and many more. Unfortunately, owners of the project ran out of funds before they succeeded to secure an investment for needed certifications, marketing and further development, so the project was temporarily shut down. In the meantime, they’ve moved onto different ventures and this project remained inactive until this day. But, everything we developed is still there, system still works and we strongly believe that the project has potential. Therefore, we do hope that with right investor this project could become alive again.