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iSpaniel launches to boost brewery efficiency nationwide

“It’s only with people like Scott from WMG who poke and prod that you get the answers you need"

Nick Davis, Founder of Hobsons and iSpaniel


Hobsons BreweryLink opens in a new window is an award-winning independent brewer based in Shropshire. They identified an opportunity to develop a cask tracking service that would be able to track casks from filling, to delivery, through to collection and return to ensure that the location and content-status of every cask was always known. They approached WMG to explore the feasibility and technology surrounding their business idea which they felt could add a lot of additional value to their business.


WMG worked with Hobsons to develop a ‘smart’ beer cask track and trace solution. It delivered real-time alerts, status, tracking, traceability, and asset management reports and a smartphone-ready ‘Near-Field Communication’ (NFC) tag robust enough to withstand a brewery environment. They also provided the Hobsons team with a proof-of-concept software application to visualise the location data. Using this proof-of-concept cask-based and staff-held technology, Hobsons were able to run a 4-month trial on 1000 of their own casks to prove the concept.

Phone showing a 'Programmed Tag'


  • Following the project, Hobsons were able to monitor their stock much more effectively, reducing working capital by 20%. The project also allowed the firm to understand its supply chain better and dynamically reconfigure based on supply and demand
  • Previously less than 1% of the business was online, now 20% is online – adding additional business of £500,000 this year which they want to double next year to £1 million
  • The growth has resulted in 2 new jobs and helped to secure £600,000 funding investment
  • Hobsons created another business iSpaniel to roll the technology out to other brewers as well as a range of other sectors enabling organisations to easily trace their containers, resulting in reduced waste and increased profit

Scott CrowtherLink opens in a new window from WMG who has worked with Hobsons from the outset said:

“It’s always good to be able to support innovation, especially one that helps other businesses too. The project, and its success, illustrates how businesses can grab digital by the horns and use it to transform themselves and others across industrial sectors”.

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Tue 15 Nov 2022, 12:00 | Tags: SME Success Story