Faster flowing beer to cut bar queues at gigs

Long queues for beers at concerts and festivals to be tackled with new speedy approach to drink dispensing. PIC Phil Wilkinson/TSPL

Long queues for beers at concerts and festivals to be tackled with new speedy approach to drink dispensing. PIC Phil Wilkinson/TSPL

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It’s a quandary faced by many a gig goer. Is queuing up for a beer worth missing part of the show?

Now beers sales at concerts and major sporting events could be radically accelerated by new technology being developed by two graduates of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

Sam Pettipher and Nick Beeson of Ebar. PIC Contributed.

Sam Pettipher and Nick Beeson of Ebar. PIC Contributed.

Sam Pettipher and Nick Beeson, both MBA graduates, are working on plans to banish long queues and speed up service at large gathering of people.

Mr Pettipher, a rugby fan, said he was motivated in part by his experiences at Murrayfield - particularly after missing a Scotland try last year while waiting to be served.

Now he wants to install hundreds of self service units in venues that can dispatch and pour drinks at speeds currently only found in the brewing industry.

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Existing technology used in the drinks sector is now being researched with Mr Pettipher and his business partner also working with the oil industry to learn more about shifting large volumes of gassy liquid over short periods of time.

Mr Pettipher said: “This technology already exists at companies like Carlsberg and Tennent’s. When they are bottling cans or bottles they are not waiting 40 to 50 seconds. The beer is being poured, really, really quickly, probably in around two or three seconds.

“Our concept looks at taking technology that already exists, including that in the oil and gas sector, and then bringing it to a self-service environment.

“Rather than having 17 bar staff working at a bar at Murrayfield, why not put in 500 unit from which you can dispense beer yourself. It would be similar to a Tesco self-service area.”

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Mr Pettipher and Mr Beeson have established Ebar Initiatives, a business start-up, to develop the idea they began to explore as part of their MBA programme.

Shortly after completing their final assignments, their project was one of 20 selected from over 100 companies to join the Accelerator Programme at Elevator UK, which supports new enterprise in Grampian and Tayside.

The team will now be working with event venues across Scotland to develop a prototype.

Mr Pettipher said: “When I was at Murrayfield last year I did wonder why they still have these large bars which are really quite slow.

“If you were at a Beyonce concert at the front, how long would it take you to go and get a drink?

“If breweries can fill a bottle in second, then why can’t customers experience that as well?

“We have a lot of work to do on tis but I think that vision will carry it through - and the technology is there to do it.”

Dr John Park, RGU Lecturer and Serial Technology Entrepreneur, who teaches technology commercialisation on the Aberdeen Business School MBA programme, said:

“It was clear that the EBar team took this very seriously from the get go and their final presentation had me absolutely convinced that they could develop a technology business that has the potential to disrupt the hospitality industry on a global basis.”

Andy Campbell, Elevator project manager, said: “At Elevator, we look out for innovation driven companies with great ideas and great people to take part on our Accelerator programme. Out of the one hundred plus applications for our latest programme, EBar Initiatives stood out for these reasons.

“Not only do they have a great innovative idea with potential, we were impressed by the professional and academic calibre of the team. Elevator will work closely with the team to develop their business, validating and refining their ideas. We see great potential and opportunity for them in the future.”

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