Interbrew's beer.com will host StellaCam in three bars in Brussels, New York City and Vancouver, where patrons can enjoy beers bought for them by Internet users around the world.
"We want to position Stella Artois as the official beer of the Internet," says Rocco Rossi, Toronto-based president of beer.com.
"When we launched beer.com, we said the only thing we couldn't figure out was how to connect a beer tap to your computer," says Mr. Rossi. Now, he says, StellaCam has come close.
Internet surfers can visit beer.com and see live two-way video images from the three selected bars: Cafe Comm in Brussels, Belgo Nieuw-York in New York and The Shark Club Bar & Grill in Vancouver. If they like what they see, Internet visitors can then chat live by video with bar patrons, and even buy them a beer online by credit card.
For $6.50, surfers can buy a Stella Artois and chat for 15 minutes. It's $2 for the chat only.
"We want to capture the bar experience online and capture the whole beer community online," says Mr. Rossi.
Marketing includes a direct e-mail to beer.com's 175,000 members.
Plans call for a two-month trial, which, if successful, will lead to a roll-out of 17 more StellaCam bars by September in major European, American and Asian cities. "We want to cover all major time zones," says Mr. Rossi.
"It's blending the 14th century with the 21st century," Mr. Rossi says of StellaCam, noting that its namesake beer originated in 1366.
Next month Belgium-based Interbrew begins rolling out its key Stella Artois brand in major centers in Canada and the U.S., where the brand is now available in only a handful of cities.
Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.