- Diageo debuted a voice-based skill that serves up cocktail recommendations for people through Amazon Alexa, according to a press release by the company. Users of the digital assistant can ask to "open Happy Hour" to explore three features including "Mix-It-Up" that suggests drink recipes based on mood.
- The "Cheers" feature helps people find an occasion to celebrate in a witty tone, while the "Find a Bar" feature uses a Yelp integration to recommend a nearby bar for a Diageo cocktail. All recommendations are sent directly to the Alexa app on the user's smartphone.
- Hip-hop celebrity Snoop Dogg will offer drink a recommendations when user's ask Alexa for "Snoop Dogg's drink of choice." Diageo's brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, Ketel One, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.
Diageo's "Happy Hour" skill for Amazon Alexa leverages the growing trend of voice features to reach customers in their own home, where many people host parties, enjoy a drink, make grocery lists and interact with their connected devices. The hands-free feature helps to directly reach consumers at home without intermediaries like search engines that may steer people toward other non-Diageo products. For those who are already customers of the brand and know to search it out on Amazon, this direct control can help the brand make a connection and provide a seamless experience on an emerging platform.
The news also points to how Amazon, the leader in the smart speaker space, continues to attract brands to its platform, leaving others like Google Home and Apple HomePod to play catch up. Diageo executives said Amazon will be the home of the liquor brand's interactive voice technology, as Alexa allows for ongoing updates. Perhaps the brand will look to integrate a voice ordering feature into its Alexa skill that lets people purchase Diageo spirits through Amazon as the e-commerce giant rolls out its alcohol delivery offerings. After launching online alcohol ordering and delivery in London, Amazon now offers the service in Cincinnati, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and several other cities through its Prime Now service.
The voice skill comes several months after the spirits maker introduced similar features on a microsite to help people find drink recipes in a more traditional manner. Like the new voice-based skill, "The Bar" microsite provides drink recipes based on personal user preferences and guides users through the steps of making a drink. It also has a feature to help people learn mixology skills like muddling a mojito, per a statement. The new voice-based skill is a natural upgrade to this microsite, especially as people might be more willing to interact with a voice-enabled device than a computer while they host parties or make cocktails for guests.
Diageo is among the liquor companies experimenting with the development of skills for Amazon's voice platform. Pernod Ricard UK in November introduced a "What Cocktail?" skill for the Amazon Show, the voice-enabled device with a video screen, and Moët Hennessy USA in December introduced its "Bottles and Bubbles" skill on Alexa to teach consumers about champagne and how to create their own cocktail experiences at home.