The Menabrea bicycle-powered beer dispenser

Earlier this year we were approached by our friends at Wire to collaborate on an in-bar experience for Menabrea. The brief was to create something that would tie into the Giro d’Italia cycle race that passes close to the Menabrea brewery in Biella.

The Menabrea beer-dispensing bicycle

We came up with a bicycle-powered beer dispenser: pedal fast to beat the on-screen pace bike and you win a free pint, automatically poured by the machine.

Once the design was agreed, we pulled everything together in a couple of weeks. The guys at Wire did all of the graphic design work while we did the physical build, electronics and software.

This was probably one of the most enjoyable builds I’ve worked on. We had a really clear idea of what we were doing from the start, and we managed to reuse loads of parts from the donor bicycle as we simplified the bike and built the pouring system. For example, the hinged pouring mechanism uses the bike’s bottle cage and it’s brake levers to cleverly cradle the pint glass at just the right angle as it pours.

The entire system — from the 24-inch, full HD screen to the buttons, lights and motors that control the pouring mechanism — is powered by a single Raspberry Pi.

The machine is currently on a four-week tour of bars across central Scotland to coincide with the Giro d’Italia. If you’re in the area, please pop along and give it a try.

There’s a lovely write up of this build on the official Raspberry Pi blog.

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