Heineken has unveiled a first-of-its-kind, zero-contact robotic bar for its alcohol-free beer brand Heineken 0.0.
Its launch is timed to coincide with Dry July, with new data by Dan Murphy’s and BWS reported that sales in the non-alcoholic category increased 103% over the last 12 months.
The brand will use a contactless robotic arm, which has been developed by a team of robotics students and engineers from the University of Sydney, to create a safe twist to bar service.
Two robotic arms – named Heidi and Ken – will serve up Heineken 0.0 with the beer delivered via a ‘beer train’ – a conveyor belt that runs through the bar. No person-to-person contact is necessary before the beer is consumed.
University of Sydney Head of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and Australian Centre for Field Robotics marine robotics expert, Professor Stefan Williams, said: “We challenged some of our students, who recently completed an experimental robotics course, to create a robotic, contactless solution by delivering samples to Heineken®’s customers.
“The students programmed the robots to recognise when customers approach the bar and then hand them a beverage. Exploring this concept and putting it into practice, was a great way for our students to leverage the work they had done in their lab class.”
The Heineken Zer0.0 Contact Bar will open in Sydney from July 15 for a four-day run.
Open between 11am and 6pm each day, beer at the robotic bar will also be free for drinkers to enjoy.
The Heineken Zer0.0 Contact Bar will only permit one person at a time, bringing a new definition to ‘private bar’.
Malcolm Eadie, Brand Director of Premium and Craft Beer at Lion, said: “The past few months have been challenging and as we continue to adjust to physical distancing, we thought about how we could help more people try an alcohol-free beer during July, in a safe and responsible way.
“Heineken has a long and proud history of great innovation and is also renowned for providing first-class hospitality. The Heineken Zer0.0 Contact Bar represents both and provides a unique destination for trying a great-tasting alcohol-free beer in the current environment. We look forward to welcoming people along to our ‘alcohol-free, contact-free’ bar to enjoy a brand new drinking experience.”
The Heineken Zer0.0 Contact Bar will be open from Wednesday, July 15 to Saturday, July 18 at 249 Victoria St, Darlinghurst.