Bosch sensors and IBM technology help craft brewer

Sugar Creek Brewery has turned to IBM’s artificial intelligence technology and Bosch to improve the quality of its craft beer.

Sugar Creek Brewing Company, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, was losing more than $30,000 per month throughout the manufacturing process. During filling, some bottles would have a greater amount of foam than others resulting in an inconsistent fill level. These bottles had to be pulled off the line and recycled, wasting time and product.

The company installed Bosch sensors along their manufacturing line to monitor fill time, temperature, pH, gravity, pressure, carbonation and level of its beer. All that data is continually fed to the IBM Watson IoT Platform on IBM Cloud for analysis.

IBM visual recognition AI in the Watson IoT Platform identified the issue causing excessive foaming in the bottle — saving Sugar Creek more than $10,000 per month. Bottles that were previously rejected for improper fill levels were nearly eliminated, which increased the amount of finished product Sugar Creek was able to deliver to the market.

The cost savings helped the company to expand production, test new recipes, enter new markets, hire more, and give back to their community of Charlotte, NC.

Small and independent American craft brewers like Sugar Creek contributed $76.2 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017; and 500,000 jobs. The Brewers Association puts the total economic impact of the craft beer industry in North Carolina at $2.2 billion in 2017. There are now more than 7,000 craft breweries in the United States, up 20% from two years ago. While craft beer sales increased by 5% in 2018, overall beer sales in the US declined 1%, suggesting an ever-tightening landscape.

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