Quenching the thirst for innovation
Drinkworks designs, prototypes and launches the Home Bar, a new-to-the-world cocktail system, in only 18 months.
Drinkworks® is a design-driven, user-centric beverage-innovation company formed as a joint venture in March 2017 between Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beverage-alcohol company, and Keurig Dr Pepper, maker of the renowned Keurig home-brewing coffee system.
The company identified a gap in the market for crafting cocktails at home: People love cocktails, but they are often daunted by the knowledge, effort and ingredients required to make them, as well as the proper mixing techniques and cleanup involved.
Drinkworks set out to reinvent the entire drinking experience—from purchase to creation to enjoyment—striving to make it all more remarkable through innovation.
The ideal solution would be a smart product for the home that could prepare delicious cocktails, ciders, and brews at the push of a button, in effect establishing an entirely new category in alcoholic beverages.
Drinkworks partnered with Accenture [and its affiliate companies] to operationalize the young startup, help size and validate the market potential, and assist with designing the product.
Key areas of focus include:
The team wanted to make otherwise ordinary nights feel remarkable. After mining consumer insights, it was determined that efforts should be steered toward clever engineering and human-centered design. The approach highlighted how the end user would interact with a Home Bar to elevate the everyday, meaning the product had to be simple, intuitive and hassle-free. To create a design language for a new product category and build a connected product, experts in industrial design, branding, mechanical engineering, digital design, user experience and ecosystem, and product strategy were quickly assembled.
Next came rapid prototyping—essentially, bringing the connected-product concept to the booming alcoholic beverage market (no small feat). The team mantra was “Build, test, learn.” It took iteration after iteration, hundreds of prototypes and close collaboration across teams to arrive at the final product. However, Drinkworks did this at an accelerated pace by embracing a unique approach: Rather than build a single prototype to test the entire product, the prototypes tested very specific feature sets, ideas and problems. Through this method, the teams were able to lock down a complete design in just three months’ time.
Since the product itself was so creative, the launch of both the company and the Home Bar would need to be innovative, too. A new joint venture and company structure was established. New service level agreements and a new office were also set up to help integrate employees. Even as the Home Bar design was in development, the teams determined the target pilot locations, strategic retailers and product pricing to ensure a successful launch.
In just 18 months, the company launched its initial product, the Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig®: a first-of-its-kind system designed to prepare bar-quality cocktails, brews, and ciders, using proprietary Drinkworks Pods for quick, bar-quality beverage creation and minimal cleanup.
Even more impressively, the pilot-run products sold out in just a few weeks. The Home Bar also racked up multiple press accolades, including from Engadget, Slate and Inc.com.
Along with opening an entirely new revenue stream, the success of Drinkworks has enabled AB InBev and Keurig Dr Pepper to continue experimenting outside of their usual business models. By investing in innovation, the companies are now better positioned to reinvent how they deliver a wider variety of goods and services, and also build consumer relevance at scale. Cheers to that!
"Our success so far is a direct result of the partnership between three great organizations and years of relationship and trust building. We leveraged the best of the Accenture platform to achieve a market launch 12 months faster and three times more cost efficient than anticipated. We have and will continue to count on the Accenture team's capabilities to help us deliver the remarkable."