It’s hard coming up with a name for a product. It has to be catchy, memorable, and ideally give you some kind of inkling as to what the product does. With that in mind, I’m going to go ahead and declare SirMixABot to be a Hall of Fame product name.
Aside from scratching any 90’s nostalgia itch, SirMixABot is a pretty fantastic name for a cocktail making robot. Load up to six bottles on the top and then use the built-in touchscreen (or accompanying app) to see all the drinks you can make. Set your glass in the machine and SirMixABot does the rest.
Sadly, you can’t get a SirMixABot at this time. The company had been selling DIY kits where you assemble the robot at home but the stopped making and shipping that version. As Brendan Stiffle, Co-Founder and CEO of SirMixABot told me by phone this week: “Selling DIY was great because it let us bootstrap [our] first iteration.” However, he went on to add that “the market is much larger when you have a plug-and-play unit.”
Plug-and-play is just a fancy way of saying Stiffle and Co. want to sell a straight up countertop device, no assembly required. To help with that endeavor, Stiffle, who is currently a student at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, got SirMixABot into the MIT Delta V accelerator, which provided some funding as well as access to engineering resources at the school.
Stiffle’s plan is to roll out SirMixABots around Boston to discover and work through any issue before taking it out more broadly in 2020. The company is actually going after multiple target markets: home use, offices, and even event services. As such Stiffle wouldn’t provide any pricing information as it will change depending on whether someone is leasing it or buying the machine outright. FWIW, the DIY version of the six-bottle SirMixABot cost $499 plus shipping.
SirMixABot is stepping into a market that is already pretty crowded with established cocktail bots. Bartesian (made by Hamilton Beach) sells for $350, though that uses flavor pods to make drinks. The Barsys uses a similar bottle system as SirMixABot, but costs close to $1,000. DrinkWorks (a joint venture of Keurig Dr. Pepper and Anheuser-Busch) is slowly rolling out its countertop drink maker, which also makes beer and cider, and costs $299. And of course, let we forget the MyBar, which you can buy assembled for $399 or as a DIY kit for $299.
Then there is also the issue of scaling production. Right now, SirMixABot is bootstrapped with six students and other part-timers working on the project. As we’ve seen from crowdfunded hardware projects that have gone bust, moving from a prototype to a full-on mass produced appliance is not easy. But Stiffle doesn’t seem daunted by the task. “Hardware is hard,” he said, but “it doesn’t scare us.” Students on the team will be graduating with in a year and after MIT the company will shift into fundraising mode.
We’ll have to check in on SirMixABot next year to see if Stiffle’s baby got greenbacks. (ed. note; SORRY!).