For the past few years, Leuven-based brewer AB InBev has acquired several data companies. Using the information given by them, it predicts which beers will become popular.
AB InBev is the owner of multiple beer selling webshops, by which it collects all kinds of data from buyers all over the world. On top of that, it acquired a minority interest in RateBeer which is the world's most popular beer review website. Data collected from these website allows the brewer to more accurately determine which beers thrive in which corners of the world, and even brew beers that will most definitely become a hit.
Last week, AB InBev acquired Weissbeerger, a data company which installs measuring equipment in beer taps. This innovation measures exactly how much beer is served, when and where it happens and what the quality is, from all taps simultaneously. This allows AB InBev to find out which types of customers in which area like which types of beer.
Data like that grants AB InBev the invaluable luxury of predicting which beers become popular before the hype peaks, such as the increase of strong blonde beers in Belgium about ten years ago or the current rise in popularity of IPA beers. Many believe this will have a positive effect on AB InBev's sales in North America, where its flagships Budweiser and Bud Light's customers have been increasingly changing towards the growing American craft beers market.