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Pernod Ricard to trial computerised cocktail bars in 500 homes in London and Paris

Published:  03 June, 2015

Pernod Ricard plans to trial its computerised "bar at home" project in 250 homes in London and 250 in Paris as it bids to revolutionise the way spirits are bought.

Project Gutenberg was announced last year in as an embryonic scheme to use cutting-edge technology to bring the cocktail revolution seen in the on-trade into people's homes.

It has now moved from development to the experimentation stage. The project's guinea pigs will receive 15 to 20 SKUs of Pernod Ricard brands and other brands that are important in cocktail making.

Instead of glass bottles, the spirits will come in containers that take the shape of books, as the concept is based on a "designer spirits library". Once users have poured a measure from one of the books, they plug it back into the electronic holder, and it registers how much has been poured.

Pernod Ricard is trialling its Gutenberg projectPernod Ricard is trialling its Gutenberg project

When stocks of a particular spirit run low, it triggers an alarm at the Pernod Ricard hot desk and further supplies are automatically ordered and delivered to the home. The computer learns which drinks the user is pouring most frequently and then makes recommendations for cocktails, creates personalised offers and provides a full range of tutorials.

Yves Schladenhaufen, innovation and portfolio strategy director at Pernod Ricard, told that in future he expects growth to come more from innovation in routes to market, such as Project Gutenberg and other e-commerce tools, rather than from new brands springing up.

He said: "This is the kind of project that takes time to grow. When we mentioned it last year it was the equivalent of a concept car. 

"Over the past 16 months we have developed techniques and found suppliers to make it work from a business and technical perspective.

"Now we are going into experimentations. We are going to put this tool in 250 households in Paris and 250 in London, to see consumers using it. Within this library will be 15 to 20 SKUs of key brands and others that are important for cocktails. We will see what business comes out of it."