MillerCoors is giving lazy beer drinkers another excuse to stay put: The option to order beer with the touch of a button or a simple voice command.
The brewer and IPG Mediabrands today announced a new suite of connected home services called "Miller Lite On-Demand" that will allow consumers to stock their fridge using a voice-activated Amazon Alexa command, or by using a programmable button known as AWS IoT that is based on the Amazon Dash Button hardware. The delivery requests will be fulfilled within one hour by Drizly, an online alcohol ordering platform, according to the agency and brewer, which have partnered on an incubator program aimed at testing such technologies.
Drizly currently serves more than 40 cities, according to MillerCoors.
The Miller Lite beer button is only available to a preselected group of 500 Drizly customers, according to the announcement. Ordering via Alexa is open to owners of Alexa devices including the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Tap. Device owners can enable the option by searching for "Miller Time" in the Alexa skills store. The ordering voice command is "start Miller Time."
The program was developed by the IPG Media Lab, the creative technology agency of IPG Mediabrands.
"Consumers are expecting a frictionless shopping experience across every area of their lives and we're working to make it easier for legal drinking age consumers to get their hands on a beer through several testable areas," Brian Pokorny, senior manager of digital marketing and media at MillerCoors, said in a statement.
The program comes as alcohol marketers continue to seek new ways to tap into connected-home technology. Earlier this week, Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Michelob Ultra announced its own Alexa skill that is decidedly not for lazy beer drinkers. The skill, called Ultra 95, unlocks 12 audio workouts designed to burn 95 calories, which is the same amount in each serving of the low-calorie beer. The brand -- whose marketing positions the brew for health-conscious drinkers -- partnered with health and wellness content provider Rodale Inc. on the initiative.
A couple years ago, Bud Light launched a Wi-Fi-connected refrigerator that promised to give drinkers real-time data on their fridge -- like how much beer is on hand -- via a mobile app.
MillerCoors is not the first brewer to experiment with ordering by button. Carling -- which is owned by MillerCoors parent Molson Coors -- last year introduced an e-commerce button that is directly linked to five online grocery retailers in the U.K., according to published reports.
Other beverage brands adding connected-ordering services include Starbucks, which today announced that starting later this year customers in Ford vehicles with the SYNC 3 system will be able to place orders by saying "Alexa, ask Starbucks to start my order." Starbucks Chief Technology Officer Gerri Martin-Flickinger discussed the upcoming addition to the coffee giant's ordering lineup at the company's annual meeting Wednesday. Starbucks announced an Amazon Alexa skill earlier this year.
Contributing: Jessica Wohl