Pernod Ricard SA (RI), Europe’s second-biggest distiller, plans to target at-home drinkers with a refillable dispenser to make cocktails as the company works to spur growth with new products and technology.
Pernod, the maker of Chivas whisky and Absolut vodka, is creating a system that can be linked to a computer, tablet or smartphone to help mix cocktails at home by dispensing liquor, Alain Dufosse, who heads the company’s Breakthrough Innovation Group, said today at an investor event in Paris. The product, known as the Gutenberg project, is in the early stages of development, Dufosse said.
“How do you improve and increase entertainment in your own home?” as consumers increasingly stay in to entertain guests, he said. The new device, stocked with a range of spirits in book-shaped tablets that drinkers can reorder online when emptied, will mean consumers “have a liquid library on hand anywhere in their house.”
Liquor companies including Pernod and its larger competitor Diageo Plc are seeking to spur growth globally with new products and technologies that cater to changing tastes. Pernod has introduced innovations such as Malibu Red, a rum- and tequila-flavored drink; Martell Distinction, a cognac blended to compliment the taste of Chinese food; and Absolut Tune, a mix of vodka and sparkling wine.
Paris-based Pernod hasn’t set an introduction date or price range for the technology, and declined to comment on how much it will cost to produce.
The Breakthrough Innovation Group is aiming to create products that facilitate new trends in drinking. The company has also introduced a website, absolutdrinks.com, which shows films that demonstrate how to make as many as 3,500 cocktails.
Pernod’s not the only company seeking to reach people choosing to enjoy a tipple at home, as Heineken NV (HEIA), the world’s third-biggest brewer, announced last year it would start selling a refillable beer dispenser called the Sub.
As cash-strapped drinkers in developed markets such as Europe save money by staying home, companies are working to help them replicate a freshly poured pint or newly mixed cocktail. Pernod Chief Executive Officer Pierre Pringuet said today that over the last three years, a quarter of the company’s organic sales growth has come from new products or technologies.
“Innovation is at the heart of what we do” and what will help drive growth, Thierry Billot, head of brands at Pernod, said. Innovations “shouldn’t be a gimmick that just lasts for a few months, then fizzles out.”
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