Keurig to Launch New K-Cup System for Cocktails
Adulthood is a constant process of calibrating between caffeine and alcohol. Thanks to the advent of the Keurig (and competitors like the higher-end Nespresso) over the past decade, millions of people have enjoyed (tolerable) coffee at the push of a button. But when it comes to boozing, making a cocktail still requires a multi-step mixing process or—god forbid—going to a bar, paying money, and interacting with other people.
But perhaps it doesn’t have to be that way for much longer, at least if a joint venture between Keurig Dr. Pepper and AB Inbev takes off. According to the Wall Street Journal, the two companies have teamed up to launch Drinkworks, a machine that applies the K-cup model to take the effort out of mixology. Hot on the heels of a successful pilot in St. Louis, Drinkworks will be available for purchase in Missouri, California, and Florida later in 2019.
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As you’d expect, the main advantages of the Drinkworks system are uniformity and convenience. By combining single-serve pods containing a shot of alcohol and all of the necessary liquid mixers with water and carbonation, Drinkworks makes it possible to create cocktails like a Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned, or a gin and tonic with almost no effort. Given that Budweiser’s parent company is involved, it also sounds like the Drinkworks system will launch with three brands of beer and cider as well. It’s like having your own at-home draft system without ever having to clean out the tap lines.
Though a partnership between Keurig Dr. Pepper and AB Inbev might seem odd, the pairing comes at a time when the two companies are desperate to tap into a new revenue stream. Sales of AB Inbev’s flagship brands like Budweiser and Bud Light have declined as consumer tastes shift towards craft beers, spiked seltzers, and other alternatives. With 22% of American homes regularly using a Keurig, sales have flattened for the company’s products. In essence, Drinkworks gives Keurig a chance to sell more hardware while AB Inbev gets its drinks in front of more people.
Drinkworks hopes to cater to consumes who enjoy the occasional cocktail at home, but want convenience and consistency over the work that comes with measuring and mixing. While it’s not the first automated cocktail maker to hit the market, its price point of $299 should make it accessible to a greater percentage of the general public. A four pack of cocktails will retail for $15.99, making them at least cheaper on average than what you’d pay to order them at a bar.
Will budding cocktail aficionados be willing to pay $4 a drink when buying their own liquor and mixers ends up being a better deal in the long run? The failure of the Keurig Kold, which was basically a Juicero for soda that charged you $1.25 to make a Coke, suggests Drinkworks’ success is anything but guaranteed. Still, you can’t discount the convenience of pressing a button to get booze at the end of a long day. If the price per cocktail can eventually come down, that just might be enough to turn Drinkworks into everyone’s new favorite bartender.