Sometimes a good cocktail takes a while to make.
And a good home cocktail robot? That can take almost half a decade to get things just right, at least if you’re Bartesian.
Of course, taking a long and circuitous route to market wasn’t originally part of the business plan for this Canadian startup. Like many companies who have initial Kickstarter success, Bartesian came out of the gate strong with plans to ship their hardware and capsule-based cocktail machine in a year. But, as is the case with so many Kickstarter hardware campaigners before and after, the original ship dates came and went as the company was hit with the hard reality of getting the product into production.
Over time, however, the company realized that their secret sauce – or rather, liqueurs, bitters and juices – was their capsule delivery system and not the robot itself. So last year, the company decided to hand over manufacturing to an established housewares brand in Hamilton Beach as part of a three year manufacturing agreement.
“It was soul searching time” said Bartesian CEO Ryan Close last year when asked about the deal. According to Close, the company had to ask themselves, “Do we want to be an appliance company or a CPG company?” Eventually they decided to focus on the capsules after realizing doing both a replenishable and hardware would too difficult.
However, the decision to sign a manufacturing partner came only after the company had spent nearly three years working on getting a product ready to ship to Kickstarter backers. Because of this, the company made the interesting decision to hand assemble over 300 units and send them to their backers and – once manufacturing started – send the same backers an additional Bartesian when final production units were available.
“Our Kickstarter backers have been incredibly patient and supportive while we battled through the R&D and production of launching both innovative hardware and customized CPG’s,” said Close in a June 2018 interview with The Spoon. “They will each keep the KS unit, the retail version is an extra and all about gratitude for being with us from the start – extreme patience – and cheering us on from the sidelines.”
And so now in early 2019, the company is finally ready to ship production units to backers and into retail this March. According to Close, the retail price will be $299 and capsules, which are purchasable through the website, will go for $14 per six pack.
You can see the Spoon’s interview with Ryan Close at last week’s FoodTech Live @ CES below.