By Mike Pomranz
Updated October 07, 2014
Credit: © Steve Raymer

First we started seeing self-service beer taps, now self-pouring beer taps are coming into the mainstream. Anheuser-Busch is trying out the I-TAP beer dispensing system at its research and development draught room in St. Louis.

Unlike traditional beer taps with all that handle pulling and foaminess having, the I-TAP takes care of most of the manual labor and guesswork. The “hands free” system uses “preset portion-controlled cups” that I-TAP Inc. claims can increase beer yields by more than 30 percent by always giving a “perfect pour.” All the while, sensors monitor the entire system, including things like the kegs, coolers and carbonation so you know your beer is still desirable to drink. The only thing left for us humans to do is hold the cup and drink the beer. But can beer-drinking robots really be that far behind?

The contraption should theoretically be a boon to both sellers and buyers, because now customers will get what they pay for. But I-TAP also provides “real-time sales reporting,” which means the days of your friendly neighborhood bartender passing along a free pint or two could be in jeopardy.

For now, the I-TAP is geared toward high-volume beer sales locations like stadiums and arenas. According to the company’s data, only 70 percent of the beer in a keg actually makes it into cups. I-TAP Inc. claims its system can boost that yield to 98 percent. It’s hard not to get behind the idea of wasting less beer.