Sidework Rebrands From Backbar, Raises Capital to Help Hospitality With Beverage Automation

Sidework has obtained funding to become a lead player beyond beverage dispensing.


Backbar has rebranded as Sidework.
Sidework said the rebranding marks its shift from being a dispenser manufacturer to being a provider of beverage automation and other technologies.

The hospitality industry has plenty of opportunities for automation. Sidework, which has been developing robots for beverage dispensing, today closed new funding, bringing its total raised to more than $10 million.

“At the end of the day, there is a massive gap between what consumers can drink at home and what’s available to them while they’re out and about,” said Rishabh Kewalramani, CEO of Sidework, in a release. “Even venues that serve premium beverages like high-end cocktails and specialty coffees constantly struggle with the amount of complexity, make time, and need for specialized labor.”

San Diego-based Sidework, formerly known as Backbar, said it has focused on automation, precision, and innovation. The company claimed that its dispensers offer efficient and precise dispensing of a wide range of beverages.

Sidework said its rebranding signifies its evolution from being solely a dispenser manufacturer to being a comprehensive beverage technology company. It added that its customers can dispense drinks, manage inventory, and buy ingredients through its hardware, software, and marketplace ecosystem.

Sidework ecosystem serves up custom drinks

Sidework said its product ecosystem simultaneously answers questions such as “What’s the easiest way to make an iced cold brew with light almond milk, two pumps of salted caramel syrup, and one pump of sugar free vanilla?” and “Why can’t I get a simple flavored sparkling water or health-conscious soda options from my favorite restaurant?”

The company asserted that its systems can dispense fresh ingredients; highly viscous ingredients; ingredients with particulates; and pulp, dairy, and more. Sidework credited its novel storage, pumping, and refrigeration capabilities.

With a single dispenser, “operators can dispense a diverse and high-quality beverage menu that adapts to shifting consumer tastes and various factors, such as the time of day, without any hassle,” said the company.

A sample menu could include iced pumpkin-spiced lattes, a variety of flavored sparkling waters, and craft sodas to cater to the lunch crowd. It could then transition to cocktails for happy hour and dinner.

Sidework said its dispenser line “includes hardware that’s just as customizable as the menu it serves.”

Venues can choose between ingredient storage units of different sizes, based on menu complexity, as well as different levels of dispensing automation, based on volume. Sidework said its customizable approach enables it to serve a beverage-focused venue serving hundreds of drinks a day or one just looking to establish a limited craft beverage menu.

Sidework informationClick on image to enlarge. Source: Sidework

The company said its software gives operators “unparalleled control, insights, and data regarding their beverage program.”

“We believe in Sidework's potential to disrupt and elevate the beverage industry, which is an industry that hasn’t had technology upgrades for decades,” stated Gifford Brown, chief customer officer at Leahy, which said it is the largest high-acid, aseptic manufacturer in the U.S.

“Their dedication to beverage dispensing and operator efficiency aligns perfectly with our innovation philosophy,” he added. “We’ve seen multiple attempts at creating an all-in-one dispenser, and this is the best on the market.”

Ingredient Marketplace designed for larger quantities

Sidework plans to launch an Ingredient Marketplace that will offer a selection of ingredients in larger quantities at wholesale prices. It said this will make it “a comprehensive, one-stop solution for creating exceptional beverage programs.”

Venues will be able to find brands such as CleanCo non-alcoholic spirits, Hella Cocktail Co., La Colombe Coffee Roasters, and Strangeways Cordials available through the marketplace. The marketplace will opens door for beverage brands that struggle to secure physical space in venue fridges, said Sidework.

The company added that, thanks to its latest dispenser, “new-age beverage brands can be dispensed on premise!” Sidework said it is committed to helping the hospitality industry solve its most challenging problems through innovation.

Financing follows shared philosophy

Cherubic Ventures led Sidework's latest investment, with continuing participation from Finistere Ventures, SOSV, Outlander Labs, and Pathbreaker Ventures.

“We believe Sidework’s vision to revolutionize the beverage industry, and their innovative approach aligns perfectly with our investment philosophy,” said Matt Cheng, general partner at Cherubic Ventures. “This funding marks an exciting milestone for them and us, reflecting the industry's faith in their game-changing technology and the pivotal role they are playing in reshaping how beverages are crafted and served.”

Sidework demonstrates its beverage automation.

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Backbar has rebranded as Sidework.

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