How Beverage Companies Are Leveraging Unique Experiences
Alcohol and soft drink brands are piquing consumer interest with new experiences, from robotic decanters to chatbots and cocktail vending machines
The rate of decline in global alcohol consumption is accelerating, with the global market for alcoholic drinks shrinking by 1.3% in 2016, compared with an average rate of 0.3% in the previous five years. Faced with this reality, alcohol brands are redesigning the consumer beverage experience, leveraging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality to provide multi-sensory dining and on-demand bartending experiences, all in the hopes of capturing consumer interest.
One way brands hope to elevate the consumer experience is by personalizing it, experimenting with automated robots, IoT-enabled products, interactive vending and chatbots to prepare custom cocktails or provide notifications when drink orders are ready. Here’s how five brands are upping their game by offering niche beverage experiences:
Somabar is a drink-mixing robot that serves a number of mixed drinks with a push of a button. It pulls ingredients selected from the touchscreen and begin to assemble the drink desired without any additional input, though you do have to pre-load it with your preferred alcohol. The idea is to have Somabar replace the hotel mini-fridge, as well as helping restaurants fulfill drink orders during busy hours.
Alcohol brand Jim Beam created a smart decanter called Jim that pours whiskey on command. Users can ask the device any questions, but the smart device replies with a witty comment advising the person to have a glass of bourbon. Though the product is largely a marketing stunt, the brand has listed a product page on its website for anyone interested in purchasing it.
French vodka company Grey Goose is offering a new bartender service called Cocktail Concierge for U.K. customers hosting holiday parties. The program entails offering professional bartenders to work at holiday parties, whether at one’s home or office, with 30 guests maximum. The bartender will provide an extensive list of cocktails made with Grey Goose vodka available for everyone to try. Additionally, the bartender brings their own ingredients and glassware to serve to the guests.
Pepsi created a Facebook Messenger chatbot called the Pepsi Bot-tler for a conference in Dubai, which accepted drink orders from event attendees and notified them when their drinks were ready. Attendees at the event had to locate a Pepsi Messenger code on Pepsi signs placed throughout the event or search for the chatbot in the Facebook Messenger app. Once they had it, they could start a conversation with the bot and place their drink order. When their drink was ready, the chatbot would notify them that it was available to pick up. The chatbot was exclusively designed for the Fashion Forward event.
LoneWolfSpirits, the distilling arm of Scottish craft beer company BrewDog, launched a pop-up vending machine in London that gives away free gin and tonics. Commuters walking through Old Street station have to Tweet to @LoneWolfSpirits to receive a token, which they can then redeem for a canned gin and tonic. The giveaway is a tribute to the 1800s, when during a period of gin prohibition, bar owners would create hidden slots to stash cocktails for those looking for a drink.
The memorable, personalized experience has become an indispensable part of attracting and retaining customers, a trend that the drinks industry is increasingly implementing. For more insights, see PSFK’s report Remixing The New Cocktail Experience.