Johnnie Walker ‘smart bottle’ debuts in Thailand

14th December, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

Diageo is to launch its Johnnie Walker Blue Label ‘smart bottle’ on a trial basis in Thailand this week, marking the first time the product will be used by consumers.

A new 'smart bottle' for Johnnie Walker Blue Label will make its debut in Thailand

A new ‘smart bottle’ for Johnnie Walker Blue Label will make its debut in Thailand

In February this year, Diageo’s Technology Venture’s team collaborated with Thin Film Electronics to launch the device, which uses printed sensor tags to detect whether the bottle is sealed or open with the tap of a smartphone.

In addition to its ability to clampdown on counterfeiting, the smart bottle offers unique marketing opportunities, allowing Diageo to communicate with consumers in a more personalised way. Once a consumer has interacted with the device through their smartphones, Diageo is able to send ‘targeted and timely’ communications.

Furthermore, the technology will enable the drinks firm to follow bottle movements through the supply chain, in stores and up to the point of consumer consumption.

Until this week, the bottle has only been used as a prototype, but will be launched on a pilot basis in Thailand for an unspecified time period from this week.

Speaking to The Spirits Business, Sam Maguire, senior innovation manager at Diageo’s Futures Team, said of the launch: “It will be small-scale, but this is the first time the product will be out in a market and in consumers’ hands. This will help us see how consumers interact with the technology. We need to understand the best way of engaging with consumers in a way that adds value to their experiences.”

Maguire also said that Thailand was selected as an ideal trial location for the bottle because it is a “dark market”, meaning alcohol advertising is largely prohibited. “It doesn’t conflict with any laws that exist,” he claimed. “We were very cautious with this and worked within the laws that exist.”

“This is a new technology and no-one has really done this before, so it’s a bit of an unknown. But all content complies with regulations.”

He added that Thailand’s “high smart phone penetration” made it an ideal market for the trial launch.

Marketing benefits

Maguire added that while the smart bottle offers unique opportunities in terms of combating the counterfeit spirits market – since the majority of illicit spirits are sold in once-legitimate bottles – it primary benefits lie in marketing.

Diageo is currently running background operations to test the bottle’s scalability.

“My vision is to make every bottle in Diageo’s portfolio a connected object that allows us to deliver content to consumers every time they interact,” said Maguire. “ But the journey to this point will be a long one and we need to make sure we have the right brands in the right markets and that the content is relevant.”

A limited run of 500 bottles will be sold through two channels: selected ‘valued customers’ and ‘traditional’ off-trade channels, including 10 outlets in Bangkok. A small number of pre-sales have already resulted in “positive feedback”.

Maguire said that Diageo does not plan to expand the availability of the smart bottle outside of Thailand in the near future.

Created using technology by Selinko, the Johnnie Walker Blue Label smart bottle is one of a number of app-connected devices launched in recent years.

Selinko is a software and solution provider. Selinko’s Smart Bottle solution relies on an Inside Secure patent pending CapSeal tag technology and an Amcor capsule.

Rémy Martin unveiled its ‘tamper-proof’ Club Connect bottle in China this autumn, while Pernod Ricard has used a patented QR technology, called Puma, for all of its products shipped to China over the last three years.

For more information on the rise of smart bottle technology in spirits, see the December 2015 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.

One Response to “Johnnie Walker ‘smart bottle’ debuts in Thailand”

  1. Reuben says:

    Did the Remy Martin bottle ever launch in China? I can’t find news of it.

Leave a Reply

If that's interesting, how about these?

Glenfiddich revamps Cask Collection for Cannes

Glenfiddich has redesigned its Cask Collection series – the brand's first more...

Emma Walmsley steps down from Diageo board

GSK's newly appointed CEO designate, Emma Walmsley, has stepped down from more...

2015's biggest spirits brands in travel retail

2015 was a mixed year for spirits in the global travel retail channel, with more...

Edgerton Gin names 22-year-old as new MD

UK-based pink gin brand Edgerton has named 22-year-old Gruffald Salter as its more...

Whitley Neill releases Blood Orange Vodka

Halewood Wines & Spirits-owned Whitley Neill Gin has moved into vodka with the more...

Johnnie Walker debuts refugee documentary

Diageo-owned blended Scotch Johnnie Walker has unveiled a new documentary film more...

Diageo 'confident' of growth in fiscal 2017

Diageo’s 2017 fiscal year has “started well”, giving the group more...

Whisky investment firm offers trading update

Whisky Invest Direct has seen its customers purchase enough liquid to make five more...

Scotch whisky gets registered trademark in Taiwan

In what the Scotch Whisky Association has hailed as a "major legal more...

Bacardi snaps up Bell as malts ambassador

Bacardi has appointed former Diageo ambassador Georgie Bell as global malts more...

Scotch slips in travel retail brand standings

While Scotch whisky continues to dominate travel retail spirits, half of the more...

Haig Club launches Clubman ad starring Beckham

Diageo has unveiled a new print advertising campaign for Haig Club's new line more...

Oz wine region becomes key brandy producer

Beverage producer Bickford’s Australia has established a new AUS$6.6 million more...

Knob Creek to lose 9yo age statement

Beam Suntory-owned Bourbon brand Knob Creek is to lose its nine-year-old age more...

Travel retail in focus: Asian spirits

Asia travel retail has been the bastion of luxury – but does this need to be more...

Buffalo Trace unveils vintage-dated Bourbons

Buffalo Trace Distillery is set to release three unique vintage-dated Bourbons more...

Sipsmith kicks off gin subscription service

Following a successful crowdfunding campaign and sell-out trial, Sipsmith is to more...

Buddha-Bar marks 20th with Tanqueray tie-up

Buddha-Bar Restaurant Group has formed a partnership with Diageo Reserve and more...

Diageo ‘to cut jobs’ in productivity drive

The world’s largest spirits producer Diageo is reviewing staffing levels at more...

Diageo North America streamlines commercial team

Diageo North America has announced changes to its commercial leadership more...