Brett Danielson, co-founder of beer technology company BarTrack, remembers the “aha” moments that spurred the creation of his draft monitoring startup.

One incident includes receiving only a $5 dollar tab after drinking a hefty amount of tap beer in college, served by his roommate, the bartender.

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that’s crazy how much money they’re giving away,’” said Danielson. “I thought to myself, ‘Man, I’ve done this before when I was a bartender and my buddies came in,’ so I guarantee this is a profit issue that exists in every bar.”

With the idea of creating a system to better track beer waste, Danielson and co-founders Grant Hobar and Hunter Markle set out to brainstorm, heading to a brewery to test the waters when another lightbulb moment flickered after two ordered the same beer, but had different experiences. Despite coming from the same tap line, one beer came with foam while the other didn’t.

“We thought hey, we can do so much more than just manage inventory or variants, we can help restaurants and breweries with insights into the quality of their beverages, which is so important,” said Danielson.

Amid newfound inspiration, the trio set out to create BarTrack in 2018, a beverage technology startup that creates a sensor for drafts to help bars and restaurants manage waste and dispense products consistently.

BarTrack’s SmartDraft sensor tracks waste and quality by plugging right into a draft line, with no moving parts or obstructions.

BarTrack’s flagship product is the SmartDraft system, a beverage monitoring sensor that’s plugged right into a draft line, with no moving parts or obstructions. It’s able to monitor a dozen beverage-specific variables including keg levels, pressure, line temperature, cleanliness and more while submitting “flow data” to BarTrack’s software. The company states its system solves the quality, accuracy and maintenance challenges associated with traditional industry monitoring systems like the turbine flow meter.

Answering the when, where and whys

Through point-of-sale (POS) integration, BarTrack reports real-time data based on pours and sales, allowing management to pinpoint where, when and why waste occurs, eliminating waste due to human error such as unrung pours to draft-system-related health issues.

Quality alerts are made possible through the system’s internal AI beverage consultant “Bart” which informs operators when equipment needs to be serviced before issues arise.

The tech stack also includes the BarTrack app, for on-the-go monitoring.

BarTrack’s app allows real-time data monitoring on-the-go.

“It’s kind of like a bird’s-eye view,” said BarTrack Texas Territory Manager Marcus Sims. “An operator can not even be on site and immediately know, okay, line number two, the pressure is too low…you can start to see problems before pouring anything.”

“The key to all of this is just information, having a breath of information that we can deliver in the palm of your hand, wherever you’re at, that’s a really powerful tool.”

Looking to scale 

Five years after fruition, the Virginia-based, now 45-person company continues to expand, recently inking a major deal with Micro Matic, one of the largest global beverage equipment providers. The partnership enables Micro Matic to pre-install BarTrack SmartDraft units on its kegerators they sell.

“We are thrilled to see our dream become a reality by partnering with Micro Matic. This will allow us to combine our world-class technology with the highest-quality draft system equipment,” said Danielson.

The company also works with large venues including Levy at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and is present in over 1000 bars and restaurants across the country.