In the race to help consumers create a connected home, a variety of products have hit the market ranging from smart thermostats to smoke detectors and even light bulbs.
But one segment that has not seen a lot of connectivity love: beer drinkers.
Bud Light is hoping to make beer drinkers a little more "plugged-in" with the release of the Bud Light Bud-e Fridge. The Wi-Fi-enabled fridge will provide real-time updates on the status of your beer supply to your mobile phone.
The brand, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, is looking to leverage its role as the official beer sponsor of the NFL by making it easy for beer drinkers to know how much beer they have on hand on game day, when it is cold enough to drink, and where they can find nearby stores to replenish their supply. In certain cities, there's even the possibility of ordering more brew via a mobile phone.
"Considering that a huge portion of the consumption of our product takes place in consumers' homes, we're really interested in understanding how our brand can play a role there," said Azania Andrews, senior director of digital connections at Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The Bud-e Fridge, which is only available in California at the moment and costs $299, holds up to 78 beers: either 60 12-ounce bottles and 18 cans, or a total 78 cans.
It has five different temperature settings ranging from 41 degrees to 27 degrees, which chills beer "below 32 degrees without freezing." Once beer has reached its optimal temperature, users will receive a push notification to their smartphone.
The outside of the fridge has a display that can be set to either show the number of beers inside or the temperature of the fridge. A digital display, which looks similar to a fuel gauge on a car, also reflects how empty or full the fridge is at any given time.
The connectivity begins once the Bud-e app is downloaded to a smartphone and the fridge is connected to a Wi-Fi network. The setup process is easy, accomplished with just a few clicks.
Once connected, the owner can navigate the Bud-e app, which includes the ability to select a favorite NFL team so that a countdown timer will start 30 minutes before kickoff.
Alerts will be sent via the smartphone app when the stock inside the fridge is running low. Then, beer drinkers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego can opt to replenish their stock via home delivery service Saucey.
The Bud-e fridge has additional features like an alarm that can be set to go off whenever the door is open and sensors that can be set to count how many times the fridge door opens.
More bells and whistles emerge on game day as the Bud-e fridge will have a live feed from stats.com that will trigger celebrations and victory songs from the fridge based on events within the game.
Beyond the fridge itself, the company says the app can also be toggled to allow users to share notifications of weather, stocks, email and Twitter messages.
Anheuser-Busch officials said they are testing the concept this year and will consider making it available nationally next year in advance of the NFL season depending on consumer demand.