Blockchain is the newest supply chain buzzword, but lack of real-world examples is sobering. Working with Oracle, one small beer brewery in Belmont, CA, though, is using blockchain to ensure that it keeps its promise of using locally grown ingredients and vendors, and that its product quality remains at the highest level. The results have made them giddy. There’s a lesson here for the global electronics supply chain: Whenever you see the word “beer” just think “semiconductor” or “capacitor.” It really does work the same our industry.
All images courtesy of the author.
Alpha Acid Brewing Company, which was founded in 2014, focuses on making “IPA's, adjunct stouts, fruited sour ales, and barrel-aged wild ales,” according to owner Kyle Bozicevic. To make great beer, local ingredients, careful and creative crafting, and imbibing soon after being made are all critical. Alpha Acid sources its yeast from Giga Yeast in San Jose, hops from New World Ales in San Jose, and malted barley from Admiral Maltings in Alameda to adhere to its local sourcing strategies. The brewery also monitors the temperature and pressure in the brewing and fermenting tanks during processing. And it serves most of its small batch products to local customers in their own tasting room. Blockchain helps Alpha Acid maintain transparency and honesty across the supply chain, Bozicevic said. “The more detail I have the better I can make the final product,” he added.
Alpha Acid tanks are equipped with IoT sensors that monitor pressure and temperature to ensure the beer adheres to quality standards.
As with an electronics product, choosing the right components is critical. For example, yeast produces flavor and the right yeast allows the IPA maker to make its beer in ways that achieve full and interesting flavor without adding a lot of expensive hops. What you are looking for in mass produced beer is consistent taste but in a boutique beer, it’s all about flavors you can’t get anywhere else,” said Stephen Chin, director, developer community for Oracle. Oracle will be demonstrating the Alpha Acid use case at the upcoming Oracle OpenWorld.
Alpha Acid uses Oracle’s cloud-based blockchain solution to create a decentralized distributed ledger that tracks its ingredients throughout the supply chain, as well as the beer making process, from the grower to the consumer at the end of the chain. “You need to track that it is locally produced,” said Atul Mahamuni, vice president of IoT and blockchain apps cloud at Oracle. “If there is a problem or recall, it will mean that you can recall only the product that has been affected. It’s about being able to track the entire process from conception to consumption.”
Users will even be able to scan a code on each container and see a lot of information about the beer they are drinking. “It is important that people know what’s going into their beer,” said Bozicevic. “We use expensive ingredients, and some people may choose not to buy our beer in favor of something that is mass produced because of the cost. We are telling the story of why this beer is special. “
The Oracle Blockchain app provides multi-tier visibility, root cause analysis, genealogy and chain of custody data, as well as track and trace and compliance capabilities. “The more data you get, the more trust you have,” said Mahamuni.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN