Darrel Brown

Founder and Owner, Savagewood Brewing Company

Supernova Award Category: 

Internet of Things

The Company: 

Crafted in the heart of San Diego, CA. Savagewood Brewing Company produces a wide range of beer styles, including IPAs, brown ales and blonde ales. With the north-inland Rancho Bernardo community at the heart of every decision, Savagewood keeps a constantly rotating selection of fresh small batch beer and offers something for every taste. Additionally, the brewing company serves cold-brew coffee and house-made craft sodas on tap and holds various youth-oriented events such as movie nights featuring ‘80’s movies and popcorn. Savagewood hosts at least one event raising money for local charities per month.

The Problem: 

Most of the 645,000 restaurants in the U.S. use glycol chillers to control temperatures of refrigerated systems, adhere to regulatory standards, and retain freshness of perishable food and beverages. But when the equipment malfunctions, serious losses can occur. How can an establishment, like a local brewery,  ensure that food or beverages are kept at optimal temperatures if there is a power outage? Chilling system malfunction and failure can cause huge financial loss. Large venues such as sport stadiums spend as much as $500,000 on chilling and monitoring systems to guarantee a malfunction never happens, but that budget isn’t realistic for every business.

For craft brewers, glycol chillers control the temperature of beer during brewing, storage and in-draft systems. Savagewood’s glycol chillers malfunctioned over a recent weekend, causing a temperature change that ruined eight vats of beer and cost the company $23,000 in inventory and nearly $60,000 in potential revenue.

The Solution: 

After experiencing chilling system failures twice before, Savagewood sought a solution that could help prevent these malfunctions and the resulting financial loss. Direct Communications Systems (DCS), an industry-leading developer and reseller of wireless technology solutions, was challenged to develop a solution to facilitate the monitoring of glycol chillers, while keeping small-to-medium business needs in mind. The solution needed to be reliable and cost effective .

At the core of the DCS solution is an application that sends real-time alerts via text or email to instantly notify staff if there is a malfunction that needs to be addressed. The complete solution is enabled by the CalAmp TTU-2830 telematics device and then customized for the individual customer use case with the appropriate environment sensors. It also has a backup battery and on-board LTE cellular connectivity to ensure alerts can be sent even during power outages.

The Results: 

Before implementing the DCS glycol chilling solution, Savagewood Brewing Company had no way of knowing about a system failure, and more importantly did not have proper information to take action to avoid loss before it was too late. With the system in place, Darrel and his Savagewood employees have peace of mind knowing they have up to date information and alerts about any equipment malfunction. While the device cannot prevent a malfunction, its backup battery and LTE capabilities ensure that it will always notify the correct staff as soon as a malfunction occurs, enabling the business to save money and inventory that could be lost if a malfunction goes unnoticed.

Savagewood can also keep records and generate reports from the DCS solution to serve as proof of compliance to food temperature safety standards. The reports help prove how temperature spikes have been addressed to prevent damage or spoilage, which can be a useful tool for managing the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) programs required by the FDA.

Having reliable monitoring systems not only preserves Savagewood’s perishable inventory but also protects the company’s overall brand and customer experience. Real-time monitoring and reporting can help any sized business ensure consistent quality of products and services and protect their bottom line.


After losing nearly $23,000 in inventory and nearly $60,000 in potential revenue each time their systems malfunctioned, Savagewood Brewing Company sought peace of mind to ensure that they wouldn’t experience this kind of loss again. Any restaurant can gain the same peace of mind if and when their equipment malfunctions, be made aware of it and have the opportunity to fix it in a timely fashion.

For Savagewood, the proof isn’t in the ROI, but rather in the losses prevented. During July and August of 2018, Southern California experienced some of the hottest temperatures the area has seen in some time. On a day when the brewery’s warehouse temperature rose to more than 102 degrees, Darrel received an alert from the DCS sensor that the heat had caused a pressure build up and the product brewing was at risk of ruin. Six full tanks of beer were fermenting, but because the company was notified immediately of the malfunction, employees cooled the tanks off and saved $16,000 in beer.

Without the alert, not only would Savagewood have lost this inventory, but it would’ve lost the opportunity to participate in events in their community. Of the six tanks of beer brewing that day, much of it was promised in collaboration with local organizations for several charity fundraisers in the coming weeks. If the beer had ruined, it would force Savagewood to reschedule these fundraisers and in some cases, miss an opportunity to help someone in the community in need.

The Technology: 

DCS MiSensors glycol chiller and temperature and humidity monitoring solutions are supported by the CalAmp TTU-2830 asset tracker device. The TTU-2830 is equipped with programmable settings that monitor the storage tank and tap lines, sending an alert if the temperature exceeds a certain threshold. A backup battery and on-board LTE cellular connectivity ensure that alerts can be sent in the event of a power outage, when chilling systems are most likely to go offline.

Disruptive Factor: 

For Savagewood Brewing Company, adopting the DCS solution was a simple process and took around fifteen minutes to install. But for Darrel and his company, it was important for these solutions to be not only practical, but reliable and affordable.

DCS created a competitive and tailored solution for Savagewood, combining LTE enabled technology with affordable prices. While many competitors are still integrating LTE for their connected solutions, DCS and CalAmp are already there, giving their customers a big head start in the industry. By leveraging the CalAmp product quality and certifications with all major carrier networks, DCS monitoring solutions are more reliable than other IoT offerings on the market.

Additionally, the devices have a backup battery, which is a huge differentiator with businesses, like Savagewood, that are looking to mitigate the impact of power outages or system failures. Designed with SMBs like Savagewood in mind, the DCS glycol chiller is half the price of its competitors, but provides users with its LTE capabilities and back-up battery power that is double what the competition can offer.

As a small, local and family-run business, Savagewood didn’t have the resources to hire round-the-clock staff to monitor these chillers. This technology gives peace of mind to prevent financial ruin, remedying the previous losses acquainted with system malfunctions and eliminating the need for larger, more expensive alternatives.

Shining Moment: 

While Savagewood’s use of this DCS solution is practical in implementation, there is a much broader impact on business performance. Anyone who walks into a bar and asks what's on tap can experience the lack of efficiency. For example, if a keg puts out too much foam, that’s likely the result of a glycol chiller malfunction or CO2 imbalance. Restaurants and breweries lose thousands of dollars every day due to this issue; DCS and CalAmp technology helped Savagewood remedy it.

About Savagewood Brewing Company

Crafted in the heart of San Diego, CA. Savagewood Brewing Company produces a wide range of beer styles, including IPAs, brown ales and blonde ales. With the north-inland Rancho Bernardo community at the heart of every decision, Savagewood works hard to keep a constantly rotating selection of fresh small batch beer and offer something for every taste.