Pernod Ricard pushes innovation agenda with connected cocktail library launch

Pernod Ricard unveiled the innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show in a move to ensure it shows up in unfamiliar environments.

Pernod Ricard is pushing further into the Internet of Things (Iot) by launching the world’s first connected cocktail library, allowing consumers to put together shopping lists, learn cocktail recipes and order spirits online.

The Opn product was unveiled at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday (5 January). Pernod Ricard says the aim is to transform the way consumers enjoy spirits and experience mixology at home.

The spirits company, which owns brands such as Ballantine’s, Malibu and Absolut, created the product through its breakthrough innovation group. Innovation is considered one of four “accelerators” within its business model, alongside portfolio management, digital acceleration and premiumisation and luxury.

Figures provided by the company show that innovation contributes to the breakthrough innovation group’s top line growth, delivering 1% of incremental growth.

The connected cocktail library is made up of four components:

  • The Opn cartridge, which is a design-led 70cl container replacing the bottle. Its integrated tech also enables it to communicate with the rest of the Opn system.
  • The Opn tray, an intelligent dock station that interacts with the cartridges. It releases measures through a pour application and monitors spirit levels while informing the rest of the system on what cocktails can be made with what’s available.
  • The Opn app, which houses more than 300 cocktail recipes and step-by-step instructions. As more recipes are learned by the user, it encourages independent experimentation and customisation of recipes. The application also puts together shopping lists and places cartridge orders. It also helps design event invitations.
  • The Opn website, which features articles and films that share the stories and personal experiences of hosts around the world who enjoy entertaining at home.

Pernod Ricard originally released its plans for the home entertainment system in 2014 as “a statement of intent”, but didn’t unveil the product until this year. Consumers won’t be able to get their hands on the item until early 2018.

Our aim is not to build a gadget that will sit at the back of the kitchen, but for people to repeat their purchase.

Alain Dufossé, Pernod Ricard

“We wanted to display it at CES as we could get a lot of exposure and it’s not necessarily a familiar environment for Pernod Ricard. [The product] is a statement about our consumers and our willingness to be very open-minded. The IoT is big this year at CES so it was definitely the right time [to unveil it],” Alain Dufossé, managing director of the Breakthrough Innovation Group, tells Marketing Week.

‘Offering a richer experience’

Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard identified ‘home entertainment’ as the next big opportunity four years ago, allowing its brands to offer consumers a “much richer experience than they have today”.

“It’s about delivering an experience, about content and having direct access to consumers. It’s an all-in-one system, giving us lots of opportunities to make sure we crack the way consumers understand [new technology],” he explains.

READ MORE: How Pernod Ricard is using the Internet of Things to bring ‘the product, experience and consumer together’

Dufossé adds that Pernod Ricard is currently in the process of unveiling more projects that have innovation at its core. It is determined to ensure the products are more than just a fad or trend. In order to do this, it is now testing how people are using the system in their homes and whether they keep engaging with it.

He concludes: “At the end of the day, the user can love it or hate it, and if they do hate it we can learn from it and understand why they don’t like it. Our aim is not to build a gadget that will sit at the back of the kitchen, but for people to repeat their purchase. It’s not just about the wow effect.”