Smart Spirits is a new entrant in the at-home, pod-based, connected countertop cocktail appliance market (hat tip to The Drinks Business). Though unlike it’s competition, Smart Spirits doesn’t make mixed cocktails, it’s system creates a simulacra of straight up booze like whiskey, gin, rum and more.
Smart Spirits is basically a Keurig for spirits, with four parts to its system: A Bluetooth enabled dispenser, a bottle of “grain neutral spirit” drink, and a variety of flavor pods like “The Taste of American Bourbon,” and a mobile app you can use to control everything. Once set up, you create your drink and can even control the strength of the drink or add water.
Smart Spirits is taking a different approach from other alcohol-related home countertop appliances like Bartesian and Drinkworks. Those devices mix together actual cocktails like mai-tais and cosmopolitans. Smart Spirits just makes the base booze that you can either drink straight or use with other ingredients to make mixed cocktails on your own.
Whiskey and gin snobs will undoubtedly scoff at such a machine and Smart Spirits’ claim that “it is now possible to replicate the taste from the aging process with natural and nature identical flavours…” But aficionados are probably not Smart Spirits’ target market.
When I think about it further, however, I’m not sure who the target market is. Figuring this out is even harder as there isn’t any pricing information on the site for either the machine or the grain spirit or the flavor pods. So we don’t know how much any of it costs, or if there’s a subscription.
At first, this seems to be a fit for space-conscious millennials as there’s no need to buy or stock a full bar’s worth of bottles when you can get all the boozey flavor you want from easily stored pods. But since this only makes base drinks, you’d still need mixers like vermouth or curacao or Tide pods or whatever it is the kids are drinking these days.
Like so many other things, however, the success or failure of Smart Spirits will come down to execution. If it can indeed recreate “The Taste of Irish Whiskey,” it may find its niche among people the tech savvy who like to drink, but don’t want a bunch of bottles cluttering up their place.
We’ll see as the Smart Spirits System will roll out this year across the U.S., U.K., and European Union.
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