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The true cost of connected cocktail and beer machines

Ever walk into a bar and have a perfect cocktail or an exceptional ale and wonder why you can’t make this at home? Well, thanks to technology, now you can — and you don’t have to be a professional bartender or brewmaster. We have entered the age of the connected home bar — machines that mix the perfect cocktail or brew a batch of beer.

As we’ve learned from the pandemic, people are looking for alternatives they can enjoy in the safety of their homes, and these machines certainly get the job done. You can order all the ingredients you need and use an app to get started.

Connected home bars are starting to catch on, but are they worth it? We look at five models available right now that make everything from cold coffee lattes to craft beer and high-end cocktails, as well as the cost of each, to see how much you’re required to fork over in the long run.

What is a connected home bar?

The idea behind connected home bars is to make getting fancy beverages at home easy — and it usually involves using a mobile app. The machines do the majority of the work for you, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your drink. There are a few options available.

Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig

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Depending on your level of skill or interest, you can get a machine like the Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig that will do all the heavy lifting for you, but you have little say about the brand of alcohol since you get what’s in the Keurig-style pod. The good news is that everything you need is in a self-contained pod – you just add the water.

Bartesian

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If you’re looking for something that still does the work for you, but you can use your favorite spirits, the Bartesian might be just right. This model has capsules for the mixers, but you can fill the spirit bottles with the alcohol of your choice. You have the option to make a mocktail, standard cocktail, or make it a double.

Somabar

Somabar robotic bartender Kickstarter 6
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On the high end of the spectrum is the extremely expensive Somabar. Ready, set, drink: Somabar cranks out craft cocktails in under 5 seconds with the knowledge of a bartender or barista (it makes cold coffee drinks, too), but you provide all the liquids (coffee, spirit, juices). This model offers a lot more variety in the types of drinks it will make.

Beermkr

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Beer lovers don’t have to feel left out either. For anyone who ever wanted to brew their own beer, but were too intimidated to try it, these beer-focused home brewers are for you. These models are more compact than all the equipment you need to make beer in your basement. Once you purchase a unit, you can buy kits that have all the supplies so you can start brewing beer on your kitchen counter. The Beermkr ferments and brews beer in a week. The company offers MKR kits for brewing IPAs, stouts, kolsches, and wheat beers. You can also use your own ingredients to create a signature beer.

BeerDroid by BeerArt

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There’s also the BeerDroid by BeerArt. The concept is similar, but offers a larger variety and brews 10 liters of beer in a single run. Using the corresponding mobile app, you’ll be able to monitor and control your brews. This temperature-controlled fermenter comes with everything you need to brew a batch of beer in no time at all.

Machine cost

Drinkworks Home Bar $300
Bartesian $350
Beermkr $579
BeerDroid $450
Somabar $4,845

These machines aren’t cheap. For $300, you could stock a bar at home with some high-end alcohol and mixers, plus fancy glassware, then watch some instructional cocktail-making YouTube videos, and call it a day. These models aren’t exactly compact, so you’ll need to sacrifice some space on your counter or bar.

Supply cost

Drinkworks Home Bar Pods range in price from $17 to $20 for four, depending on the cocktail.
Bartesian Capsules range in price from $15 to $20 for six or eight capsules, respectively. You can also get a monthly subscription for $45 for three packs of six capsules.
Beermkr A MKR Kit four-pack costs $59 or $15 for a single type of beer. You can sign up for a subscription in the app or use your own ingredients.
BeerDroid BrewArt collections range in price from $26 to $44.
Somabar You fill the bar with your own spirits, juices, and coffee.

Most of these units require you to buy supplies from them, as well. Whether it’s one-off mixers or grains, hops, and yeast, you are at least a little reliant on the company long after you purchase the machine. You can also use your own alcohol and beer supplies in some of the models. So, if you’re feeling confident in your skills, have a preference in spirts, or want to start experimenting, get a unit with that option.

Overall, when you compare the cost of the supplies to how much drinks cost at a bar, it does end up being less expensive. On average, cocktails (not during happy hour) are about $12 depending on the market. The capsules or pods (depending on the model) cost about a quarter of that.

Classic home bar vs. connected home bar

When it comes to cocktails, there’s something so Mad Men about having a well-stocked bar at home. The connected home bars are more akin to something that might be on The Jetsons. If you’re someone who enjoys a good cocktail, a connected home bar could be just what you need. However, they are expensive and, depending on the model, you need to provide the alcohol, too, so the mixers costs could add up.

You’re also reliant on the drinks that are in the app or come in a capsule or pod. Whereas, with the right mobile app and a well-stocked bar consisting of a shaker, a few of your favorite spirits, and some mixers, you can make a large variety of cocktails. And you might just have fun learning to make the drinks.

Bartesian
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Beer lovers who have always wanted to make beer at home might find it worthwhile to invest in an automated smart brewer. It can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 to get a starter kit and the supplies needed to brew beer at home. That’s about half the cost of the machine. Brewing beer takes patience, skill, and a dedication to cleanliness. Models like the BeerDroid and Beermkr take a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. Plus, both models encourage you to experiment and make your own creations — something you can explore as you become more confident.

In the end, it’s a matter how much you’re willing to pay for convenience. These connected cocktail and beer machines make it simple and easy enough for the average person to enjoy their favorite beverages without the knowledge or experience of a bartender.

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Joni Blecher
Joni Blecher has been reviewing consumer tech products since before cell phones had color screens. She loves testing products…
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