Three years ago, Ben McDougal had the idea for a smart beer flight. It arose from an evening filled with lively conversation, delicious food, and a beer flight. The growing industry of craft beer and craft breweries has led to the creation of an expansive variety of beers with distinct flavor profiles that can take the pallet on quite a journey. Once the flight of beers arrives at the table, remembering each flavor nuance can be a daunting task for the customer. However, McDougal knew that this experience could be drastically improved with a bit of help from technology.
Once the customer’s beer flight is delivered to the table, they are left with the challenge of remembering the flavor profiles and intricacies of each beer. Ben faced this reoccurring problem and explained that “data is available on the flavor profile of beers, and I wanted to use that information in a hand-held way to help me learn more about the beer and not forget which ones were on the flight I just ordered.” With an entrepreneurial mind full of ideas and potential, Ben landed on a product that could provide the missing link to enhance the craft beer experience.
It wasn’t long before FliteBrite launched and a team assembled, including fellow co-founders Ethan Davidson and Ben Sinclair. McDougal, Davidson, and Sinclair met through 1 Million Cups Des Moines, Iowa, where Ben and Ethan shared a part in the organization of the weekly entrepreneur meeting. Ben insists, “The team is the story of FliteBrite…you would have to go on a nationwide search to combine us all on one team. I provide marketing and innovation, Ethan is the manufacturing guru, and Sinclair is our technology magician, bringing ideas to life using software.” All three co-founders shared the stage and publicly announced FliteBrite to the audience of 1 Million Cups Des Moines in October 2016 to accelerate their company’s success of creating a smart beer flight. In January 2017, the first shipment of smart beer flights will be delivered to breweries, bars and restaurants across the United States to elevate the craft beer drinking experience.
FliteBrite isn’t the only entrepreneur and business endeavor for McDougal. In fact, Ben has created a 3 on 3 soccer tournament company and also operates as the CEO of Jet Set Studio a company focused on video game event management. Alongside his role as CEO of Jet Set Studio and co-founding FliteBrite, Ben shared that he views himself as a “community builder that uses the art of connection to bring people together.” As an organizer of the 1 Million Cups Des Moines weekly gathering, Ben organized the move from a local coffee shop to another space with theater-style seating and a stage. This was largely in response to seeing pictures and videos of 1 Million Cups Fargo, North Dakota. From that moment, Ben wanted to replicate the sense of community and support for entrepreneurs in Des Moines that he saw in the pictures and video of 1 Million Cups Fargo.
Learn more from Ben McDougal and FliteBrite as he speaks at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017at 9:15 a.m. at The Stage at Island Park.