Tech Transformers

This whisky bottle talks to your smartphone


Drinks giant Diageo is putting electronic stickers on its whiskey bottles which will be able to communicate directly with drinkers' smartphones.

The so-called "smart bottle" will allow Diageo – which owns whisky brands including Bell's, Johnnie Walker and J&B - to send targeted marketing ads, promotions and cocktail recipes straight to consumers' devices. It will be showcased at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

"Having sensors on the bottle, combined with people being in specific locations, will allow us to offer to consumers deals unique to that time and place," Venky Balakrishnan Iyer, global vice president of digital innovation at Diageo, told CNBC in an interview.

The sensors are on small stickers manufactured by a company called Thinfilm, and will be on bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The Norway-based company prints the electronic components of the sticker, making them ultra-low cost.

Customers can use their smartphone to scan the sticker and receive Diageo's advertising. The sticker can recognise when the bottle has been open so Diageo can send through cocktail recipes for drinkers. Diageo also says it will help the company track the bottle along the supply chain to ensure the authenticity of the product.

Soon, the bottle may be able to judge when supplies are running low and send you a message reminding you to buy another one if it is almost empty

"A detection of liquid level is on our roadmap. It is a likely possibility for the future," Thinfilm CEO, Davor Sutija, told CNBC in an interview.

Diageo would not confirm when the smart bottles would be available to consumers, but told CNBC it was in talks with retailers to roll it out with specific promotions.