Is cocktail making an art form or something you want to let the bots do?
If you’re Ryan Close, the cofounder of Bartesian, the answer is both.
At last month’s Smart Kitchen Summit, Close talked about how some people initially resented the idea of letting a robotic drink mixer do the work.
“Early on we had some people at CES thumb their nose at the idea of (automated) cocktails,” said Close. He would tell them that he wasn’t there to tell them how to make a cocktail, and yes, it is an art form, but then suggested that they’re not competing with bartenders or self-styled mixologists, but instead the huge market for ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, a $3 billion market market growing at almost 7% a year.
RTDs are “high fructose, high sugar,” said Close. Not only that, he said, but bartenderbots make fresher cocktails since they are still local mixology while a mass-produced cocktail is not. RTDs are “batch made; you can’t offer variety to your guests. There is not anything visceral to it, it’s twisting a cap off, whereas the art of mixology is still happening in our machine, you can see the liquor coming in, everything is being reconstituted, so it’s incredibly fresh.”
He also pointed out how bartenders themselves like the idea of using their recipe-driven drink capsules, since it allowed them to do something they’ve never done before: Extend their reach beyond the bar.
“Some of these bartenders who are very proud of what they created, they can only offer it in the restaurant,” said Close. Now, “they can create mixology, and we can put it into our capsules, and they can brand a ‘Nobu Malibu’ line of capsules.’
This recipe licensing model is similar to the one PicoBrew if offering, only instead they license recipes from master brewers at craft breweries from around the world such as Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale.
This allows novices “stand on the should of giants, great brewers, and great recipes,” said Bill Mitchell, PicoBrew CEO, who appeared alongside Close in a panel moderated by Digital Trends Jenny McGrath.
Check out the video above to hear the full session.