Revellers with an eye for the stock market can now buy pints like they would shares – with a virtual drinks exchange.
The ground-breaking system prices beverages according to their popularity at the exact moment when a punter orders their next round.
If there is a sudden rush for a certain tipple, the price increases.
But if one type of booze is proving unpopular and nobody is drinking it, the price plummets like a stock market crash.
The ‘Drink Exchange’ has already been installed in 30 bars across the U.S. with another 300 installing it by the end of the year.
Experts believe the system could revolutionise the way that people buy alcohol on a night out.
Inventor Todd Schram said: “We wanted to add a new level of entertainment and customer interaction to the bar experience.
“If you stare at the screens long enough, you’ll start to see relationships between drinks and what people are doing at certain times of the night.
“Most bars open the market with a crash that sees drinks plummet to around half their original price. Then later in the night as people start to leave, the cheaper the prices.”
The exchange system includes several screens displayed around a venue. Red and green arrows and a rolling ticker like those used on stock market displays are also shown.
Prices can also be linked across several pubs within the same chain.
Schram said that savvy drinkers can cause crashes by ignoring certain brands – and spot when there is likely to be a price hike such as half-time in a football game.
Revellers might also be able to mimic City traders by purchasing a bottle of wine cheaply – and selling it back to the bar if there is a sudden price increase.
Speculators could even go ‘long’ or ‘short’ on whether they believe the price of a pint at their venue will rise or fall.
Schram added: ‘There are plenty of ways that consumers can ensure they get the best price.
For example, if a whole table orders a round of the same type of beet, you know that the price will go up, so it’s best to avoid that drink for a while.’
Dr David Bashaw, director of economic education at the University of Wisconsin said the system will help to analyse alcohol buying habits.
He added: ‘Bar owners will find it easy to track their inventory and customer buying habits to the day, as well as to the minute.
‘The Drink Exchange adds significantly to the overall, shared experience of crowd collaboration and encourages discussion between those not likely to otherwise engage.’
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