Coca-Cola European Partners is bringing self-pouring technology to hospitality customers in Europe after acquiring a 25% stake in Innovative Tap Solutions (ITS).

The Chicago-based business develops technology for consumers to pour their own beverages, starting in 2016 with automatic beer taps in bars.

The ITS tech allows customers at restaurants, cafes, offices, stadiums and other venues to pour and pay for drinks themselves – cutting down queues, reducing the need for unnecessary contact and freeing up serving staff.

CCEP, which purchased the stake through its investment arm CCEP Ventures, will work with ITS to introduce self-pour dispense technology to its customers in Western Europe, beginning with a trial in Spain.

The Coke bottler said the move was a further step forward for its ‘Action on Packaging’ strategy, launched in 2017 to eliminate packaging waste.

“We are committed to supporting package-free technology and finding new ways to help our customers increase value and provide a better experience to consumers,” added CCEP chief financial officer Nik Jhangiani.

“ITS is an exciting and ambitious business. We are confident we can help them expand successfully into the soft drinks category and grow their presence in Western Europe.”

ITS founder and CEO Josh Goodman said: “We’re excited to take this self-pour revolution to the next level with CCEP. Less than five years ago, our company was just me and one other person and our focus was just self-pour tap rooms dispensing beer, wine and cocktails through our technology.

“The market has spoken, customers and business owners love the concept, the efficiency and experience. We’re a liquid-agnostic company that wants to grow in the non-alcoholic space. Our partnership with CCEP ensures that we can continue investing in our technology to scale with the increasing demand.”

Branded Strategic Hospitality, an investment platform headquartered in New York, also participated in the investment in ITS alongside CCEP.