Making a robot that can replace a skilled bartender is hard. People and businesses have certainly tried—the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, has a few that look like they’re straight off the back of Doctor Otto Octavius—but they were designed for the industrial bar. Who with think of the home bartender looking for shortcuts? Apparently the Bibo Barmaid, a countertop device that’s like a Keurig for cocktails, will.
Bibo launched in 2016 and promised to bring bar quality drinks to your kitchen. It’s about the size of a small Keurig and kind of looks like one too. To make it work, you insert a liquor pouch and a pouch of cocktail flavoring. Claremont Distilled Spirits in New Jersey sells the liquor pouches, and they come in vodka, whiskey, rum and agave spirit. The cocktail flavors are made by Bibo, and come in Rum Punch, Appletini, Margarita, Mai Tai, Paloma and Cucumber Melon flavors. Once those are in you just have to hit the button and voila: a mixed drink comes dripping out as easy as a cup of coffee.
The selling point here, between using Bibo’s pouches and a regular bottled premix is that it’s single serve, so no having to worry about something going bad if you don’t make enough drinks.
“As the cocktail culture continues to prosper, we know consumers are looking for quality, hand-crafted cocktails in places where they haven’t been available before—hotel rooms, entertainment venues and sporting events,” Amy Sutton, the co-owner of Claremont, said in a recent statement. “Our partnership with Bibo Barmaid will help us capture more of these occasions and we couldn’t be more excited as to what this means for the industry.”
But again, replacing a skilled bartender is hard, and the Bibo cocktails aren’t exactly perfect. You might remember Juicero, a juice company based around pouches and an expensive, Keurig-like countertop machine. You might also remember that it turned out that you didn’t actually need the machine. Juicero was essentially a fancy and expensive juice pouch squeezer, and the company quickly went out of business when people figured out they could squeeze the pouches by hand. Bibo keeps from making itself obsolete because the machine adds water when it uses the pouches, diluting the mixture a proper amount.
The company has made some major strides since starting in 2016, though. Prior to the Claremont partnership that started in early June 2018, people had to add their own shot to their drink after it was already made. There are still some issues, though, like the fact that the drinks don’t come out chilled so you need to keep ice in your glass at all times. The cocktail pouches alone cost $2, and a price hasn’t yet been released for each of the alcohol pouches. At around the same volume as a mini bottle of liquor, they will likely sell for more than the cocktail flavor pouches. Then, of course, there’s the $200 price tag on the machine itself. Until all of Bibo’s kinks get worked out, there’s always all of the delicious canned cocktails so those who don’t want to shake and stir can stay satisfied.