With thousands of craft beers inundating the market, how does a brewer go about getting noticed? At Coronado Brewing Co., which is one of San Diego County’s oldest craft beer makers, the answer lies in sensor-based coasters that engage the brewer’s consumers with the simple tap of a smartphone.

Coronado Brewing’s smart coasters are based on Thinfilm’s technology, which embeds NFC sensing in packaging, labels and many other kinds of items. Consumers tap NFC-based products with their smartphones and then see a customized landing page, video or other digital asset provided by the brand. The brand can, in turn, see a customer’s data inputs in real-time.

“Any physical product can be turned into a channel at any point in time,” said Davor Sutija, Thinfilm CEO. “Thinfilm’s integrated mobile marketing solution empowers brands to own and manage the communication no matter where the consumer is, whether in the store, at the bar, or in the home.” Thinfilm also has a downloadable case study on its work with Coronado Brewing and the coasters’ impact on online conversions:  “Innovative Coasters Help Brewery Boost Website Conversions”

By deploying the coasters, Coronado Brewing Co. reportedly saw a significant increase in consumer engagement, particularly compared to click-through rates of 0.2% for its existing advertising. In fact, the coasters produced a 13 – 17.5X increase in website conversions, as measured by visits to the website resulting from consumer-initiated taps. Overall, Thinfilm has driven an estimated 92% lift in mobile traffic to the CoastWise landing page.

The smart coasters have been tested with CoastWise Session IPA, a new craft beer introduced by Coronado, brewed in collaboration with Surfrider Foundation, an environmental group. Coronado donates part of its revenues to Surfrider.

“Competing for the attention of craft beer drinkers is intense,” said Brandon Richards, COO, Coronado Brewing Co. “Getting people to hear your brand story without interference is even harder. The Thinfilm team made everything a snap. And our customers really enjoyed the interactive experience.”

Coronado Brewing Co. plans to have its remaining coasters direct consumers to its ecommerce page. The company is also considering using Thinfilm technology for additional point-of-sale opportunities.

Sensor and infrared technologies are also having an impact on managing bars. For example, we’ve covered Nectar Labs’ Getnectar, an IoT-based inventory management system. It uses sensor and infrared technology baked into bottle stoppers to track volumes left in each bottle at a bar. The system produces a dashboard of data that shows amount poured versus estimates and connects to an app to alert the manager when a given bottle is finished. The technology connects to ordering system to keep inventory topped up.

Meanwhile, Thinfilm is expanding its use of NFC sensing and tags within the beer industry. You can find a related set of case studies here.

Image credit: Flickr user John Kannenberg under creative commons license. 

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