Web Exclusive: A cocktail at the push of a button

After a long day of travel or business meetings, when you get back to your hotel, you might want a cocktail. But, sometimes you get back after hours and the bar is closed or—worse yet—your hotel doesn’t even have a bar.

Now, thanks to Bartesian and its cocktail machine, a front-desk employee or the guest can be that bartender at the touch of a button. Similar to the popular Keurig coffee makers, users insert a cocktail capsule containing real juices, bitters and extracts to mix with spirits that are in reservoirs connected to the machine. Users then select the desired strength ranging from mocktail to strong. Bartesian draws and blends the appropriate spirit(s) with the capsule ingredients and dispenses the cocktail in seconds. An auto-clean cycle ensures each cocktail is as premium tasting as the last, and the capsules are made with 100% recyclable materials.

After spending time as a bartender in hotels, restaurants and bars in his native Canada, Bartesian founder/CEO Ryan Close worked at an incubator with two engineers who had an idea for what would become the cocktail machine. “They thought it would be great for home use, but coming from the hotel and hospitality world myself, it was this massive ‘aha’ moment for me that this could really usurp the minibar, which is a massive cost center,” he said. “I don’t think any hotel makes money or profit off of these minibars. They are costly, and the quality level in most of them is terrible.”

Close also said that when he would travel for business, he would often stay in select-service properties that didn’t have a lobby bar. “The idea was that if we could create a way where the customer can check into a room [and then]wants to go down to the lobby and have a cocktail, they can get a great cocktail from the person who checked them in,” he said, adding, “And, [the hotel] doesn’t need professional bartenders on staff and trained.

The guest can also get the drink themselves if there is a Bartesian machine in their room. “They can grab a capsule, pop it in and have a perfectly mixed old-fashioned,” he said. “The hotel will bill them, and they don’t have to put on pants.”

The machines allow the users to put any brand of alcohol in the reservoirs for the variety of cocktails that are offered. The company will also offer customized menus. “We have a card with 40 different cocktails, but typically a hotel will offer eight or 10,” said Close.