November 20, 2005
Those Koreans are at it again. First, they come out with cool breathalyzer cell phones...now, they've got robot bartenders. Meet the T-Rot, a robot with an unfortunate name and some pretty cool skills behind the bar.
The skin, developed by a team led by Gang Dae-im and Kim Jong-ho from the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, has polyamide film and three-axis sensors that can detect vertical pressure and horizontal sliding. It is capable of recognizing the weight of objects with a less than 10 g margin of error when it holds a 100 g object.
That means it can pick up glasses and accept your tips without applying robot-like crushing force, plus it can apparently carry on a converation. Hope you don't mind chatting about oil viscosity and how robosexy R2D2 is.
We did some digging around after reading about T-Rot and found another robotic bartender a bit closer to home, and with a slightly more intuitive name. The RoboBar is made by MotoMan, an Ohio company, and comes tricked out in its own tuxedo. Customers order their drinks from a touch screen, and RoboBar mixes them up and distributes them. The system can also make batches of drinks for distribution to tables..
There's no word on whether either robot bartender can listen to your problems and give you robotic advice, a great feature we've found in flesh-and-blood bartenders. Plus, you can be assured that robotic bartenders aren't going to give you a heavy pour because they like you - although we just found out about a new wireless liquor spout that might keep human bartenders from pouring heavy too. Damn you, digital age. Pardon us while we go out to find some real-live bartenders while we still can.
November 19, 2005
We keep reading in the news about people being up in arms about the dwindling privacy in our society. Cameras in dressing rooms, satellites that can track you within ten feet by your cell phone signal, the Patriot Act...all of these things pale when compared to the Orwellian nightmare that is Capton’s Wireless Liquor Monitoring System.
If this thing is adopted, gone are the days when you could sweet-talk your bartender into stiffer drinks, or they could give you a longer pour for stiffer tips. And Jeebus only knows what would happen if they tried to take the spout off the bottle...it probably features an exploding ink packet like they use to track bank robbers.
Capton’s Beverage Tracker system is an innovative liquor monitoring system that helps bar owners increase their liquor profits by providing real-time wireless liquor consumption data to help prevent against shrinkage. Our system help you identify over-pours and drink giveaways. Think of it as an electronic journal of everything that happens within your bar operations. Remember, you can’t manage what you can’t measure!
Welcome to 1984.
November 9, 2005
Anheuser Busch has been seeing some hard times, what with the whole Bud pong debacle and the fact that beer sales have been steadily slipping. That's not to say we think their executives wil be out on the street holding "Will make beer for food" signs or anything, but they seem worried enough about it that they're trying something new. The company is currently dipping its toe in the hard liquor pond, testing out a new liquor it's developed called Jekyll and Hyde, which comes as two liquors designed to be mixed together.
The product comprises of two liqueur bottles. Jekyll is a scarlet red, sweet spirit tasting of wild berries, while Hyde is an herbal tasting, black spirit that floats on top when poured over the red-colored Jekyll. The two products are meant to be served together, although consumers can drink them separately as well, the company said.
We're not quite sure about the idea of mixing wild berries and an "herbal" taste, but we're not in the early-20s demographic this stuff is aimed at, either. Jekyll and Hyde will be made by Long Tail Libations, a subsidiary of the beer giant, and if it is a success Busch will probably continue pursuing its hard liquor dreams. No announcement has been made yet about a national release of Jekyll and Hyde, and the jury's still out on whether it will give you split personalities, one good and one evil.
Read more about the new liquor at Reuters.
October 26, 2005
Here at the Liquor Snob offices, we love Bud Light's Real Men of Genius ads. We listen to them and laugh and laugh, sometimes until Bud Light squirts right out our noses. That's why we perked up when we read an article from CNN stating the latest one, "Mr. Discount Airline Pilot Guy," has discount airline AirTran in a huff.
(The ad) includes such taunts as "Your minimal experience flying a plane will never land you at a reputable airline. Luckily, you don't work for one" and "You put the fly in fly-by-night operation."
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story Monday, said AirTran Airways is considering dropping Bud and Bud Light beer from its flights unless Anheuser apologizes.
Oh no, a discount airline might stop serving Budweiser products on its flights? How will Anheuser Busch ever recover from that? Listen up, AirTran, just like the ad points out, your customer base is willing take 12 extra connections to save nine bucks. How much beer could they actually be buying?
Read the full article at CNN Money, plus you can listen to Mr. Discount Airline Pilot Guy at putfile.
October 25, 2005
This has been floating around the Web for a couple months now, but it's such an interesting idea we couldn't help but cover it. Apparently, a German company is deveoping a nicotine-laced beer called NicoShot to help cut down the craving for people trying to quit smoking, or at least make it through a night out without stepping outside to smoke.
Nautilus GmbH Laboratoriumsbedarf announced today the recent European launch of NicoShot™, the world’s first smoking-cessation beer containing a shot of natural nicotine, about what you would get in a couple of regular filtered cigarettes.
NicoShot is brewed to the German Purity Law of 1516 and contains 3 milligrams of naturally derived nicotine alkaloids, 63 calories and 4.5 carbohydrates, with 6.3% alcohol by volume per 250 ml shot can. The cutting-edge nicotine beer is fire brewed separately and a standardized herbal extract of natural tobacco leaf Nicotiana tabacum L.) of the Solanaceae nightshade family is added at the end of the natural brewing process.
The press release goes on to state that "NicoShot...can significantly control cigarette cravings, yet it tastes like a fine imported European beer." Why do we picture it tasting more along the lines of when someone puts a cigarette out in your beer can?
Read the full press release here.
October 24, 2005
We found the following news report about Coors today, and we have to admit it makes us a bit worried.
According to a news report in Monday's Denver Post, Coors Brewing Co. uses waste from the beer production process to produce approximately 1.5 million gallons of ethanol, which is then sold in the wholesale market.
Coors, which partners with area engineering firm Merrick & Company to produce the alternative fuel, said they plan to build another ethanol facility due to the success of the program, according to the paper.
Not that we have anything against alternate energy sources - we love anything that will help battle high prices at the gas pumps. Plus, we think it's great to see beer fueling something other than bar fights and blackouts. No, our major concern is that if they start putting beer into gasoline, we'll have a full-time job keeping the interns from drinking the 93 octane.
Read the full story at CNN Money.
Ah, what a drunken century it's been, and thankfully the Modern Drunkard has been there to guide us through. From its humble beginnings in Boston, the Modern Drunkard has survived Prohibition, multiple world wars and the wine cooler-addled '80s with wit and style.
Our favorite headlines from the past:
"Should the Drinking Age be Raised to 13? No!" The Genteel Drunkard Sep. 1909
"Top 10 Speakeasy Passwords." Modern Drunkard Jan. 1922
"I Invested Millions in Scotch - One Bottle at a Time!" Filthy Rich Drunkard Aug. 1928
"Are Light Beers Light Enough?" Moderate Drinker Mar. 1985
Learn the full history of this plastered periodical with the comprehensive and humorous retrospective, 100 years of Modern Drunkard Magazine. And while you might have trouble finding back issues that extend all the way to the turn of the century, make sure to subscribe now so you don't miss out on any more fun in the future.
And while you're at it, don't forget to pick up your copy of the Modern Drunkard book.
October 16, 2005
Get ready for Michael Collins whiskey, an irish whiskey created by the Cooley Distillery, Ireland's last remaining independent distillery.
Remember Sidney Frank, the liquor pimp we told you about a few weeks ago? He is the man responsible for importing our favorite nectar Jagermeister into the US, and we just got wind that he will soon be adding a new liquor to his portfolio. The newest booze? Michael Collins Whiskey, a tribute to the life of the Irish patriot, and the announcement coincides with Collins' birthday, October 16, 1890.
According to a British newspaper, Mr. Frank's decision to launch the whiskey was inspired by the movie about Collins' life.
Sidney Frank, the company’s founder, saw the movie and then read Tim Pat Coogan’s 1990 book, Michael Collins: A Biography. Coogan has been retained as an adviser for the launch. The company has trademarked the name. Einsidler said a percentage of sales would be paid to Collins’ descendents, to be given to a charity of their choice.
Read the full article at the Times Online
. Plus, learn more about Michael Collins
, and check out the Cooley whiskey
site for more information on this Irish distillery.
Or, if you don't feel like reading, buy the movieat Amazon.
October 13, 2005
Even with the many late-night hookups their products have inspired over the years, it's hard to imagine the liquor industry as a very sexy beast. Sure, their counterparts in the beer world have known for a long time that you're more likely to sell your wares if someone in a bikini is waving it around, but liquor has taken a bit longer to catch on. Their ads have historically been more tasteful, product-oriented, subtle - if we're talking in sitcom terms, liquor is the Frasier to beer's Sam Malone.
But now that beer is slipping in popularity, it seems liquor companies are finally learning to aim their ads where they'll have the most effect. Not only are they running more effective campaigns, but according to an article at the Washington Post:
The ads these companies are running, too, have become considerably sexier and more youthful. And it's working.
"Because of the extensive marketing that's been done by a lot of these premium spirits brands, it's now quite cool and quite trendy to go for those kinds of long drinks," said John Michalik, North American director for the London-based beverage consulting firm Canadean Ltd.
The real test will be seeing if they end up going overboard and targeting the "extreme" youth culture and kids that are too young to drink. The last thing we need to see on TV is a guy jumping out of a plane strapped to a snowboard, chugging a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Read the full article at WashingtonPost.com.
October 12, 2005
We didn't need any new gussied-up beer ads to tell you that Miller High Life is the champagne of beers. We've been drinking it for years, savoring it more for the low price than for the taste. That's why we reported on High Life's new ad campaign last month with some trepidation...we had a feeling that it was going to focus a little too much attention on our undiscovered gem.
It turns out we were right...according to the Slate ad report card, people are digging the new campaign.
This spot is laughably formulaic. Its recipe for nostalgia includes a basket of familiar ingredients. 1) The sequence of iconic snapshots. 2) The wildly overused marimba theme from the film True Romance (which is itself derived from an older composition featured in Badlands). 3) The medley of vague, airy musings about savoring "the moments."
This voice-over script is a tribute to inanity. "These are the moments that matter. Sometimes I don't know what will come next. But then it does. Like it always does. It's you. Your life is made up of a history of moments. It's a scrapbook packed with the photos of your life." And on, and on.
But amazingly, I think the ad works. Simply because it looks like no other beer ad that's out right now.
The thing that made us most nervous was Slate's claim that "according to an industry expert I spoke with, is almost certainly to start charging more per case again for Miller High Life (or 'increase the pricing power,' as they say)." First it happened with PBR, now with the champagne of beers. If you need us, we'll be stocking up on the high life while we can still afford it.
You can download the TV ad spots at MillerHighLife.com, under "See My TV Moments."