There seems to be a trend lately of the mass market brewers to try to impress their increasingly unfaithful customers with shiny trinkets or flashy gimmicks.  Not too long ago Mike wrote about how Budweiser was releasing a “bowtie” can as a way to sell a smaller quantity"> There seems to be a trend lately of the mass market brewers to try to impress their increasingly unfaithful customers with shiny trinkets or flashy gimmicks.  Not too long ago Mike wrote about how Budweiser was releasing a “bowtie” can as a way to sell a smaller quantity">

Beer Bottle Gimmicks

heineken<em>ignite</em>images<em>0000</em>01There seems to be a trend lately of the mass market brewers to try to impress their increasingly unfaithful customers with shiny trinkets or flashy gimmicks.  Not too long ago Mike wrote about how Budweiser was releasing a “bowtie” can as a way to sell a smaller quantity of beer in a gimmicky can for the same price as a normal can.

These types of promotional gimmicks seem to be growing more popular.  As mass market brewers have been slowly losing market share and not increasing the quality of their product line or providing better offerings to compete with their craft brew brothers more and more it seems the mass market brewers are turning to advertising gimmicks.

Heineken has decided to “embrace the start-up culture of experimentation” by releasing the first “interactive” beer bottle.  This prototype, called Heineken Ignite was given to participants of the Milan Design Week.

This new, electronic bottle enhances the experience of drinking by creating the world’s first “smart” bottle.  Using micro sensors and wireless networking technology, Heineken Ignite bottles can sense the moment when the bottle is used to say “Cheers”.  It includes other features such as:

  • Heineken’s first interactive bottle uses micro sensors and wireless networking technology to sense the moment when a bottle is being used to say “Cheers”. The bottle can also actively respond to the music and the output of specific audio and data cues. For example, it can detect various motion types such as cheering, drinking and sitting idle on the bar top. The motions trigger certain light effects lighting up the complete bottle, enhanced by the swirls of beer, carbon dioxide and oxygen. Next to that the bottle lights can be remotely activated, so that each bottle becomes an active light source controlled by specially developed VJ software, allowing to synchronize all bottles to the music beat.
  • The housing under the bottle gives room to a custom designed circuit board based around the open source Arduino hard- and software platform. It features 8 bright LEDs, an efficient 8-bit microprocessor, an accelerometer to detect various motion types and a wireless network transceiver to communicate with the outside world. The 3D printed housing (designed and developed by C10) is built up of two parts, allowing to re-use the unit on multiple bottles of beer.

To see this modern marvel of bottle technology check out the video below.  While I think this is a fun, fancy way to dress up drinking in a party/concert setting it raises some obvious questions.  How expensive is it to add the various microprocessors to handle wi-fi, microphones, and/or accelerometer?  I know these electronics are becoming increasingly cheaper but they still aren’t nominal in price.

I would also wonder if it makes the bottle no longer recyclable due to the plethora of electronics stuck to the bottom.  The brewing industry as it currently stands has a fantastic record of providing containers that are easily reusable or recyclable.  I would be quick to reject any “advancement” in drinking technology that removes this eco-friendly aspect.  Ideally the bottoms would be removable/reusable on any bottle as a way to enhance your drinking experience.

Version 2.0 is already in the works and slated for mass market release in 2014.  I can just taste the anticipation!

Check out the enhanced bottle in action below: