Robotics

Asahi unveils robotic draft beer dispenser for high-volume bars

Asahi unveils robotic draft be...
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
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Asahi's Senior Chief Researcher Junichi Kitano at the launch
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Asahi's Senior Chief Researcher Junichi Kitano at the launch
The first public pouring of Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
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The first public pouring of Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
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Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
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Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
5/23
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
One of the funniest aspects of the launch was that as no drainage was possible in the Big Site halls, every beer had to be drunk
6/23
One of the funniest aspects of the launch was that as no drainage was possible in the Big Site halls, every beer had to be drunk
Another happy customer
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Another happy customer
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
8/23
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
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Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
10/23
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser contains an array of sensors and can recognise how many glasses have been inserted
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Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser contains an array of sensors and can recognise how many glasses have been inserted
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
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Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
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Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser
Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser and the Red Dot Design award it won this year
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Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser and the Red Dot Design award it won this year
Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser and the Red Dot Design award it won this year
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Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser and the Red Dot Design award it won this year
Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser
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Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser
Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser
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Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser
Asahi's Senior Chief Researcher Junichi Kitano at the launch
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Asahi's Senior Chief Researcher Junichi Kitano at the launch
The Asahi stand also featured its automated Tornado dispenser and "Stylish" home beer dispenser
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The Asahi stand also featured its automated Tornado dispenser and "Stylish" home beer dispenser
Asahi's automated Tornado dispenser
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Asahi's automated Tornado dispenser
Asahi's automated Tornado dispenser fills the glass from the bottom in a spectacular display
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Asahi's automated Tornado dispenser fills the glass from the bottom in a spectacular display
Asahi's new robotic dispenser is being developed in conjunction with Nagoya-based robotics company NST, and is expected to be available within two years.
22/23
Asahi's new robotic dispenser is being developed in conjunction with Nagoya-based robotics company NST, and is expected to be available within two years.
Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser
23/23
Asahi's "Stylish" home beer dispenser
View gallery - 23 images

Japan's largest brewery, Asahi, looks set to steal a march on its competition by developing a robotic beer pouring machine for high-volume bars. Connecting to the keg, the machine pours up to six perfect beers at a time, taking around 12 seconds per glass, but more importantly, doing so without specialized labor and with zero wastage.

Wastage is one of the key factors in the profitability of any hospitality outlet, and has been the focus of considerable effort over the last decade as special taps, lines, and temperature and gas regulators have pushed wastage in many high volume outlets below 5 percent. A robotic pouring machine which reduces wastage to close to zero will naturally offer a considerable boost to the bottom line.

Experienced bar staff who can "pull a good beer" in one attempt are also invaluable to a venue, as they increase throughput and reduce wastage at critical times. As anyone who has tried pulling a beer knows, it's not as easy as it looks, and it's all too easy to end up with a glass full of foam, or the tray beneath the glass full of the profits. A robotic machine will reduce the need for experienced bar staff and increase throughput at peak times.

The new Asahi machine was shown for the first time at the International Robotics Expo in Tokyo yesterday.

Asahi's Senior Chief Researcher Junichi Kitano at the launch
Asahi's Senior Chief Researcher Junichi Kitano at the launch

Gizmag spoke with Asahi's Senior Chief Researcher Junichi Kitano at the launch. Kitano said that the machine is being developed by Asahi in conjunction with Nagoya-based robotics company NST, and is expected to be available within two years.

Unlike the company's automated Tornado draft beer dispenser for bars, that has already been rolled out to more than 250 outlets across Japan, the new machine does not require specially-designed cups.

Asahi's automated Tornado dispenser fills the glass from the bottom in a spectacular display
Asahi's automated Tornado dispenser fills the glass from the bottom in a spectacular display

The Tornado dispenser (pictured above) fills the cups from the bottom, using a nozzle which fits into a valve in the bottom of the cup.

The Tornado dispensing system has been a huge hit for Asahi, as it is both efficient and theatrical in that the beer appears magically as the cup fills from the bottom in a whirlpool of foam.

Adding sizzle to the sausage, the seemingly magical appearance of the beer in the cup is enhanced visually with dramatic lighting. The Tornado dispenser uses technology licensed from the UK and reduces the time to pour a beer by 20 percent, making it ideal for sporting venues and high-volume outlets. It was fittingly launched two years ago during a baseball game at the Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Osaka

Kitano told Gizmag that efficiency and less reliance on experienced bar staff were not the only considerations in developing the new draft beer dispenser. "We want to create a unique experience for our customers", said Kitano, "and we're hoping this new machine will be an important factor."

View gallery - 23 images
3 comments
Dave Muckey
Perfect beers have a much better head on them. Don't know if it's the beer or the machine, though.
b2p
That's just swell. New score: Machines up 1 more, Human Work Opportunity down 1 one more.
Peter de Wolff
If that's what comes out there is no competition for humans. That beer look badly tapped (or it's there too long)