In the Sacramento Kings arena, guests in the suite and attic can make their own drinks at the Golden 1 Center using an internet gadget attached to the top of beverage bottles to check how much alcohol is being poured.
It sounds like a good idea from the point of view of the location: the NINA bottle-mounted device can lower personnel costs (sorry, bartenders) and help in ordering drinks and other cost control. However, it is not entirely clear why guests do that pay between $ 1,000 and $ 15,000 because premium seats in the arena would like to buy their drinks as if they were shoppers in a self-checkout supermarket. But the Golden 1 Center says the devices “allow guests to skip the lines and stay safe.”
This is how it works: you use a connected tablet to open a bar tab. You choose the desired drink and a bottle nearby with the NINA attachment light up to indicate that it is unlocked and ready for use. The device then measures the amount of alcohol that your beverage order needs. NINA is now being used in a handful of Golden 1 Center suites, the team says, and the device will be used in all suites and lofts in the coming months.
The team praises the NINA device as a “game changer” that allows guests to “customize the event experience.” I mean, I think so? If we think that shops without a checkout are a good thing and are in order with technology that makes it a little easier for richer people to have a non-vital product delivered to them a little faster without waiting in line and contact with service personnel, this is definitely a technological breakthrough.
The team said in a press release announcing the partnership with NINA that the suites and lofts that tested the device have seen a “significant increase in revenue” compared to last year, although they offer no details.
All this does not mean that the NINA device would not be useful, and it can make the beverage pouring process faster without resort to pre-made brews. A liquid measuring device would be ideal for medium-sized events such as weddings, where you can prevent Uncle Bob from being plastered for toast and you know how much that open bar costs you.
But nickel-and-dim guests who already pay a premium for seats at a basketball game from a few grams of vodka feel a bit cheap. It also takes the social experience away from interacting with a bartender whose expertise might make the drink a bit more pleasant.