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Diageo Looks to Pour New Tech Into Liquor With Venture Unit

on 09/09/14 at 8:16 am


imagesWill you be able to check your liquor consumption through an app on your smartwatch that talks to an chip embedded into a bottle of Scotch? Diageo wants to find out.

The world’s No. 1 spirits maker is looking for new ways to use technology to boost its drinks business and says it is ready to embrace any ideas that give it an edge in the competitive distilling market, from smartphone connectivity to wearable personal technology.

The maker of Johnnie Walker whisky and Captain Morgan rum is launching a startup accelerator, Diageo Technology Ventures, as it invites entrepreneurs to offer technology solutions to some of the key issues affecting the drinks business, including irresponsible drinking and retail theft. It is a departure from another Diageo accelerator which focuses on liquid development—an area of innovation key to boosting sales of its liquor ranges.

The England-based giant, which makes over $16 billion in yearly revenue, aims to support eight pilot technology schemes in the first year across four briefs. Each winning pilot will have a budget of $100,000, as well as Diageo input for the applicants. To help things along, it is partnering with startup communities Founders Forum in London and Kite in San Francisco.