Customer Engagement

Drinks on Demand: How KVM and Blue Agave Elevate Self-Serve Coffee with Kegerator Machines 

February 1, 2024 | By Cantaloupe, Inc.

Drinks on Demand: How KVM and Blue Agave Elevate Self-Serve Coffee with Kegerator Machines 

Why not build a nitro cold brew vending machine? 

That’s the question O’Neil Sawh and his business partner, co-founders of Kegerator Vending Machines (KVM), asked themselves one day in 2018.  So they built their own machine with an integrated point-of-sale system that can dispense cold brew coffee on demand.   

Getting started 

It was an idea that had some backing in the coffee culture. According to the National Coffee Association, the popularity of cold brew coffee has been on the upswing since 2016. And it came at a time when major chains only made cold brew in small batches.  

According to O’Neil Sawh, “it works like a gas pump. Customers swipe or tap their card at the card reader, and they only pay for what they pour. So, if they just want six ounces, they only pay for those six ounces.” It can also be programmed to dispense at no charge to a customer.  

O’Neil and his partner spent a year developing their first KVMs, and the first prototype was an immediate success. So much so that when they looked at their sales data, they were convinced something was wrong with the code or software. But when they returned to their first location to check the machine, they received a pleasant surprise. 

“We drove back to that first office location and there was just a line of people at the machine. It was accurate — we just didn’t think it would happen that quickly.” 

The “Trojan Horse”  

In 2023, KVM has 350 machines in the field owned by operators. They work well as a standalone unit or integrated in a micro market setup. And the flexibility of the kegerator empowers businesses to use KVMs for non-coffee purposes. Operators around the country are experimenting with kombucha, beer, and other craft beverages on tap. Their simplicity and custom capabilities are attractive to many kinds of operators. Quinn Miller, owner of Blue Agave Vending, is one of those operators who has found success placing cold brew kegerators in multifamily apartment complexes. 

“They are different from a traditional machine, in the sense that you can get the budget from the properties. Multifamily apartment buildings tend to have some type of coffee machine, right? Which means they have some type of coffee budget, and it’s rarely just free for the residents. These KVM cold brew machines are a spin-off of that, and the property managers don’t have to maintain it themselves.” 

Quinn thinks cold brew KVMs are a great Trojan Horse to introduce micro markets to apartment complexes. Once a community sees the success and ease of the KVM, it is easier to talk about adding a market. “When you bring up the word ‘vending,’ it kind of has a negative connotation. So, you lead with the coffee and bring in some markets.” 

Easy integration and data reporting 

Whether or not the machines are placed in markets, operators like Quinn can appreciate the analytical capabilities of KVMs because of their integration with Cantaloupe devices.  

“When we were first developing the system,” O’Neil recalls, “we called a couple other providers of payment services. They were all hard to work with, but when we called Cantaloupe, it was easy to work with them. We had someone we could talk to and it was an easy process. That’s why we ended up partnering with Cantaloupe.” 

 As more operators look to diversify their vending and OCS offerings, a KVM kegerator could be a good option. Cantaloupe is proud to partner with innovative companies and customers as they find success in new approaches.  


Cantaloupe, Inc.

Cantaloupe, Inc. is a digital payments and software services company that provides end-to-end technology solutions for the self-service economy.

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