Technology pours into happy hour

January 9, 2017 by Glenn Chapman
Opn manager Tristan Capelier demonstrates the Pernot Ricard-backed home "mixology" unit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada

The array of products featured at the Consumer Electronics Show flowed into all aspects of modern life—even freshening up happy hour.

Those inspired to reach for a cocktail after navigating seemingly endless CES show floors packed with dizzying displays and throngs of people were in luck: there were gadgets for that.

Whether one's preference was beer, or spirits, thirst could be sated.

Thibaut Jarrousse and fellow co-founders of French startup 10-Vins were on the show floor serving glasses of wine at just the right temperatures and aeration with the help of their creation D-Vine.

Large, sealed tubes holding a glass-worth of wine were slipped into the top of the counter-top appliance, which made sure a particular vintage was served just right.

"It is like a sommelier," Jarrousse told AFP as D-Vine prepared a Bordeaux.

"You come home from work and have a perfect glass of wine in one minute."

The startup founders planned to visit the premier Napa and Sonoma Valley wine regions after the end of CES on Sunday to explore adding California vintages to D-Vine's menu.

A first-generation version of D-Vine was released last year, with the entire production of 500 units priced at $1,200 each sold out in less than two months, according to Jarrousse.

"We were surprised because we didn't know if wine and technology would be good in France, but a lot of people wanted it," he said.

A second-generation D-Vine unit featuring touch screen capabilities for menus, buying wine and more was shown off at CES and was to hit the market at the end of this year.

The $799 PicoBrew system on display at the Consumer Electronics Show uses PicoPacks based on recipes from craft breweries around the world to produce beer at home

Home-brewed beer

Nearby on the show floor people were bellying-up to a PicoBrew trailer for samples made with the all-in-one kit for crafting beer at home.

The $799 system includes a counter-top machine for brewing hops, oats or other ingredients, along with small kegs for fermenting and storage.

The US company has licensing deals with craft breweries around the world for recipes, which are pre-measured and sold in "PicoPacks" that slide into the machine to start the home brewing process.

PicoBrew announced the addition of a free-style option that lets users go online to create their own beer formulas.

The company planned to soon let home brewers publish their recipes, and earn royalties from PicoPack sales related to them, according to marketing vice president Donald Brewer.

Each PicoPack makes five liters of beer, and prices range from $19 to $29 each, Brewer said.

Cocktail mixology

Meanwhile, in a suite at the Venetian hotel, Tristan Capelier served up cocktails with an Opn home-"mixology" device designed for people preferring to entertain at home instead of going out to bars or clubs.

"People want more and more to go out at their own place," said Opn manager Capelier.

Opn is a product of a Breakthrough Innovation Group at wine and spirits powerhouse Pernod Ricard, and expects to make its market debut early next year.

Opn home bartending involves spirits packaged in boxes the size of hard-covered books, which sit on a tray synched to a mobile app that helps people select cocktails and then walks them through preparing the drinks.

People slice their own citrus and add their own mixers, but the "smart" tray informs alcohol-filled cartridges exactly how much of the spirits to add.

Opn has been tested in Paris, London, Munich, Madrid and Moscow. The product is slated to launch first in Paris where the company is located.

Explore further: French startup aims to be your cup of wine

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