By Mark Ambrogi
Steve Hershberger has made his career of analytics.
So when he became a co-founder of Indianapolis-based Flat12 Bierwerks, he was in for rude awakening.
“Running a brewery, I wanted to know exactly what beers we needed to put where because I wanted to sell as much beer as possible and sell it for the greatest margin as possible,” Hershberger said. “I realized how difficult the industry was and how backward it was is about using efficient data. It wasn’t that people didn’t care. There (weren’t) any tools. Imagine driving your car without a gas gauge. If you don’t know there is a gas gauge, you don’t know there is a better way to do it. You perennially run out of fuel.”
So the Carmel resident began problem solving and eventually started SteadyServ in 2012.
SteadyServ’s mission is to make certain the retailer sells every last drop of beer and doesn’t run out of customers’ favorites. The iKeg system helps with inventory and order accuracy, waste per keg and tap traffic.
“We have the one of the largest if not the largest and most comprehensive databases on beer in the world,” said Hershberger, who has sold his interest in Flat12. “We take the information, and we pair that with point-of-sale information. We married all that, and we have clear picture what is going on in that location. What beers are selling and which beers aren’t not selling? Which beers are under-priced? Which ones are over-priced? Which ones are going to go bad? Do you have too many IPAs or not enough?”
Hershberger said draft beer is the largest contributor to revenue and margin of a retailer.
“It’s worth two times more than everything else they sell,” he said. “So getting it right has a larger impact on it than anything else they can sell.”
Sensors fits around the bottom of the keg telling how much is left so retailers don’t overbuy or waste. SteadyServ studies show one in three kegs has sellable beer that goes to waste.
Hershberger said the retailer gets reports from SteadyServ, but they also can see the real-time information on a mobile app designed for retailers, distributors and brewers.
“Our job is to help them know how to sell more beer and sell it better,” he said.
The data shows which beers are delivering the greatest margin to your bottom line.
Hershberger said if your favorite beer is in stock, data shows that customer will drink a third less if they opt for the second choice.
SteadyServ is in 15 states and has just launched in some European countries.
The company has 32 employees and two offices, one in Carmel and one in North Carolina.
“We have either large independent retailers, large chains or retailers controlled by third parties,” Hershberger said.
Hershberger, 48, began his career working in Honeywell, then began moving into technology fields.
“For the last 15 years, I’ve been in the data and analytics side of it,” said Hershberger, who has worked for hardware and software companies, and has owned several analytics companies.
He said SteadyServ is working on an app for consumers so costumers can see which retailers have their favorite beer in stock. He expects it will be released early in 2016.
Red Herring named SteadyServ as a Top 100 North America winner, an award given for emerging companies.
For more, visit steadyserv.com