The smart home promises to be a more comfortable, functional space for the homeowner, but technology also promises to help out when entertaining guests. At CES, French wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard is highlighting how party hosts of the near-future will be able to get behind a functional smart bar, mixing up refreshing, lounge-grade cocktails with the help of its Opn smart cocktail system that connects the host with ingredients and cocktail recipes, turning him or her into a seasoned mixologist.
Developed by Pernod's Breakthrough Innovation Group (BIG), Opn debuts at CES as a refined version of the "Project Gutenberg" prototype Pernod showed two years ago. The smart cocktail ecosystem is designed to "transform the way we enjoy premium spirits and experience mixology at home." The four-part system combines liquor cartridges, a holding tray, a mobile app with drinks database, and an accompanying website.
Unlike the Somabar, which stores bottle-poured liquors in simple, built-in cylinders, Pernod's design cuts out the liquor bottle entirely and can even eliminate the need to go to the liquor store. Opn liquors come in 700-ml (24-oz) smart cartridges that store neatly on the accompanying smart tray like a book set. The cartridges feature integrated pour spouts and digitally connect with the greater Opn system.
The mobile app ties the system together, accessing a database of more than 300 drink recipes prepared by mixologists around the world. It provides straightforward, step-by-step instructions to guide the user through the process of making the drink, and the automated control system ensures a precise pour from the liquor cartridges. The smart tray monitors spirit levels, allowing the system to make suggestions as to what drinks can be made based upon current inventory. As the owner gains experience, the system encourages him or her to experiment more and create custom drinks, turning homeowner into master mixologist.
The Opn system can also create ingredient shopping lists or automatically order liquors to be delivered right to the owner's door, meaning this digital bartender not only helps mix drinks but also keeps the bar stocked.
The website is the simplest, most detached part of the Opn ecosystem, providing basic videos and articles about hosting and social gatherings. Pernod doesn't mention it, but we have to believe there will be some type of interactive social aspects to the website as well (is there ever not?).
The Opn seems like an intriguing concept for an end-to-end smart cocktail ecosystem, but it falls a bit short of what we'd really like to see: the Opn's sleek cartridges and features integrated into a Somabar-like machine that accommodates other key ingredients and mixes the drinks itself, at the sound of a simple verbal command or push of a button. Perhaps the Opn will evolve into something more like that someday, but Pernod seems heavily invested in the concept of hosting, so it might choose to maintain the human element.
Pernod plans to launch Opn in early 2018. For the next 12 months, the BIG team will "continue to finesse Opn's system" based upon feedback from trials in Paris.
For those wondering, Pernod Ricard labels include Absolut Vodka, Beefeater Gin, Jameson Irish Whiskey and many more.
Source: Pernod Ricard
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