Diageo, the alcohol giant behind popular poisons like Smirnoff and Baileys, has teamed up with electronics company Thinfilm Electronics to develop a Johnnie Walker Blue Label smart whiskey bottle. The prototype connected bottle promises to enable distributors to better track stock as well as connect with user's smartphones and detect when someone has cracked it open prematurely.
Set to be showcased at next month's Mobile World Congress, the smart whiskey bottle is fitted with printed sensor tags that can detect when the bottle has been opened. This would give consumers another way to know the product is authentic and hasn't been tampered with.
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The sensors feature Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, enabling distributors to keeps tabs on the bottle's movement across a supply chain and opens up new marketing possibilities by connecting the bottle to a user's NFC-capable smartphone. This could see targeted promotions pushed to the user's device at the point of purchase, for example, recommending mixers or fancy cocktail recipes, or simply trying to entice them as they wander by.
"Thinfilm is enabling the smart bottles to carry digital information that can be accessed via NFC smartphones," says Thinfilm CEO, Davor Sutija. "Diageo can reap the benefits of the intelligence gleaned from our smart sensors and create engaging experiences for its customers.”
Connecting whiskey, or making it smart, seems to have much more value for those selling it rather than those drinking it. But who knows? A bottle that can talk to your smartphone is one step closer to a whiskey bottle that can talk back to you, and that might just be enough to win it some friends somewhere.