If you’re still looking for that holiday gift for the cocktail fanatic in your life who has everything, you might want to run down to Best Buy (or Dillards or Bed Bath & Beyond) and pick up a Bartesian.
That’s because over the past few months, the home cocktail robot has started to roll out across the U.S. at a number of different retailers. According to company CEO Ryan Close, the Bartesian is now available at over 250 retail locations across the nation, including Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Beth Bath and Beyond, and Dillards.
The Bartesian, which makes a variety of cocktails using a proprietary capsule system to add in bitters, fruit juice and other mixers to the user-provided spirits, started shipping online earlier this year. According to Close, retail has always been part of the plan.
“5 years (!) of talking about one day being on the shelves of #BedBathandBeyond …here it is,” wrote Close on Linkedin announcing the company’s latest retail rollout.
Close told me via Linkedin that while the company is launching its product in different locations across the U.S., they are primarily focused on higher-density markets like New York, Chicago and cities in California, to maximize awareness.
I’m curious to see how the Bartesian performs at retail. One potential sticking point for consumers is the need to buy capsules from Bartesian to make cocktails with the machine. The capsules, which include fresh ingredients such as fruit juice, are not cheap, selling in packs of six for $15. That’s about two and a half bucks per drink (before alcohol), which is certainly cheaper than a bar but pretty spendy for home cocktails.
However, while consumers have shown a reluctance to use proprietary pod systems outside of coffee, Bartesian isn’t the only company betting that home-based cocktails might be the next market to break open new capsule category. Drinkworks, the joint venture between Keurig Dr. Pepper and Anheuser-Busch, has rolled out to select markets in the U.S. Unlike the Bartesian, however, Drinkworks pods include alcohol.
The Bartesian, which launched over five years ago on Kickstarter, now faces a more crowded market than when it first launched. In addition to Drinkworks, Barsys has begun to ship its second generation bartender bot while newer upstarts like MyBar and SirMixaBot (best name ever) have started to make their way to market.