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Roger le goéland

Cocktail machine

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hmmm, not sure Roger...I think the hurdle you would have to leap is not the machine (great idea) but the customers...I've lived in lots of countries round the world and enjoy a cocktail but I am in the absolute minority in the UK, I mean really absolute, so there would need to be some sort of major readjstment of habit to get the machine off the ground (a few large cities excepted)...the sort of booze one drinks is so intertwined with the culture I think there would be serious resistance in many quarters...and that applies to the nationality of airline customers as well... I mainly fly Cathay Pacific and its customers are mostly Chinese....huge market but more into wines in business and first and you are up against the lack of alcohol processing enzyme there in many people...now if you could make it a product that is perceived to be linked with wealth or sophistication you might have a chance in Asia...BTW I was lucky enough to have a few first class trips in the old 747s when upstairs wasn't business but a lounge and bar and drinks were certainly mixed there...excellent fun...I remember on a very long flight I suffered 2 hangovers :smile:

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Roger, you might want to get in communication with these folks:

Roboexotica

Until recently, no attempts had been made to publically discuss the role of cocktail robotics as an index for the integration of technological innovations into the human Lebenswelt, or to document the increasing occurrence of radical hedonism in man-machine communication. Roboexotica is an attempt to fill this vacuum. It is the first and, inevitably, the leading festival concerned with cocktail robotics world-wide. A micro mechanical change of paradigm in the age of borderless capital. Alan Turing would doubtless test this out.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Realistically I think the only way a product like this would be economically viable is if you could find some sponsorship from liqour brands or a bar/pub chain and made it as fun and gimmicky as possible with loads of media exposure. Disco drinks are the only thing that would work and you would be targeting the alcopop market but why not! Look how many dodgy FAB's and PPS's there are on the market and they still make a good return.

Would I try it? - probably not

Would you average punter in a UK high street pub with the right amount of hype and a pretty girl/guy in a tight t-shirt making the pitch? - definitely

Good luck to you.

RM


i´d rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal labotomy! Fred Allen.

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Would you average punter in a UK high street pub with the right amount of hype and a pretty girl/guy in a tight t-shirt making the pitch? - definitely

I agree - they will try it. What is far less certain is whether any significant numbers will buy a drink from it on anything like a regular basis. Most customers are conservative in their drinking habits, they stick to drinks they know and to big brands.

Its also a tough time to launch anything new into the on trade. On trade sales are plummetting, with the biggest volume declines being in the RTD/PPS sector. In the student market, which is probably contracting even faster than the on trade as a whole, the only growth areas are premium dark spirits,real ale and wine- but from a really low baseline . (There is also some growth in session lager volumes , but this is at the expense of premium lagers, and overall lager volumes are shrinking).

I guess the upside of this is that operators are desperate for anything that might increase sales, and in particular for offers that can't easily be replicated at home .Given that its more complicated to produce even 4 or 5 simple cocktails at home than it is to pour a can of supermarket lager into a glass- a cocktail dispensing machine might be something that operators would try .

On the other hand, its not terribly hard to train your staff to produce 4 or 5 simple cocktails,and if you choose cute staff, minimise the amount of clothing they wear and teach them a bit of juggling - you have something that's at least as much fun to watch as the fanciest of machines (even if the drink they produce is no better).

The point about brands is definately right though-branded machines can improve sales - Jose Cuervo have recently rolled out a branded back bar dispenser that seems to be increasing sales (For us it increased sales significantly for a few weeks , but once the novelty wore off, they fell back to something only slightly higher than they were before).

I suspect that the more of its working parts that are on view, the better. (this certainly works for fresh orange juice machines , people like to watch the machine doing its business, (though in fact the £30 manual machine I have at home is faster to use and gives greater extraction than the £1,800 machine we have at work, with the added benefit that it works brilliantly with pomegranates as well!)

Engineers perhaps have a history of being keener to invent mechanised ways of dispensing drinks than others have been to use them. The mechanical wine dispenser illustrated in the "Kitab fi ma'rifat al-hiyal al-hanidsiyyaa", (a culinary manuscript produced in Iraq in 1208) looks great -there's an illustration in Lilia Zaquali's book, Medieval Cuisine in the Islamic Worlds , U of California Press 2007, but its inventor probably built about as many of them as the people at Kis Cocktails have with theirs.

Gethin

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In that case I'll focus on the markets where there are currently no cocktails - e.g. airport lounge - and forget about the original "let's get the bartenders to serve them faster".

No gimmicks. Just a straightforward cocktail maker, like a coffee machine.

Although judging by what's outside my window at 3am weekends, I doubt Brits are drinking less.

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In that case I'll focus on the markets where there are currently no cocktails - e.g. airport lounge - and forget about the original "let's get the bartenders to serve them faster".

No gimmicks. Just a straightforward cocktail maker, like a coffee machine.

Although judging by what's outside my window at 3am weekends, I doubt Brits are drinking less.

There is actually some evidence that drinkers in the UK are drinking less, but its a recent and not that significant a drop.

The longer term and really quite dramatic trend, and the one i refer to, is the drop in sales through the on trade-bars and clubs. The off trade is still booming , in volumes at least. This is largely because of deep discounting by the supermarkets,who are using alcohol as a loss leader.

Pubs and clubs are increasingly used as somewhere used for the last few drinks of the night , after a long evening of drinking supermarket booze at home. Once they have had one or two drinks in the local bar, they come and misbehave under your window, so you blame the bar , not Sainsbury's who supplied them with the vast majority of what they drank, probably at a price lower than Sainsbury's themselves paid for it.

Not sure if airport lounges will be a better market than the high street though. Most UK airport bars will be run by high street operators on much the same model as their other branches. If the machine doesn't justify itself on staff cost grounds, in the high street, it isn't going to in airports (where sales prices are inflated so the staff cost ratio is lower).

Coffee machines (and fresh juice machines) work in bars , because they give you a product (or range of products) that you can sell at a premium price. Cocktails are an attractive proposition because again you can sell at premium price, but people will pay the premium for the hand made product not the machine made one.

A machine that's going to give you a product that you sell cheaper needs to really cut your costs - and i don't think mechanising one part of the job, the actual mixing of the individual drink is ever going to do so.

If you dont want to go down the route of lots of bells and whistles and brightly cououred cheap liqueurs. aiming at getting alcopop drinkers to trade up on special occasions i suspect your best business model will be the "smoothie package" companies.

There are certainly people making good money from the fact that lots of operatots want to offer fresh made smoothies and juices but don't really know how to go about it. These companies provide the kit, the product (often part prepared-eg sachets of prepped fruit ), disposables, menus, posters etc , staff training, and quite often a pricing structure and a brand.

There are no doubt operators who would like to try cocktails , but don't really have a clue how to go about it.

There may be a market for a cocktail machine as part of a package like that. I'd think about having a standard machine that could be used, with different graphics and branding, and re-stocking with different products to produce different "families" of drink.

e.g. you would brand it as a Classic Martini machine , stock it with 2 or 3 london gins, an Old Tom gin, a dry vermouth and a sweet vermouth , lillet blanc and celery, orange and aromatic bitters and produce a menu - martinez, martinis at various ratio's and with various bitters , vesper etc. The menu would provide some notes about the drinks -anecdotes about Winston Churchil, bits of Dorothy Parker etc ,

You would offer it as a package, machine, access to non standard products (Bitters, Pun e Mes, Old Tom etc), menus, table talkers and other promotional material, glassware, training.

The same machine could be re-branded as the "spirit of Latin America" or some such, stick on some appropriate graphics stock it with Tequila, Cachaca and Pisco, simple syrup, a few fruit juices .

I'd think about mounting the machine on top of a glass chiller (or at least having that as an option). Serving the drink in a ready chilled glass both improves the product and further distinguishes you package from the standard bar offering.

gethin

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Wasn't there a place in New Orleans that had a robotic bartender? I seem to remember it from my childhood. A wall covered with liquor bottles and a bunch of pulleys and gizmos that would mix your drink for you.


Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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