Smart Drinking

Inside the Ambev Smart Drinking Lab, an incubator for new products and tech to help disrupt harmful drinking in Brazil

Posted: August 25, 2023
Smart Drinking Lab Banner
ABI Smart Drinking Lab Banner
ABI Smart Drinking Lab Banner

In 2021, our Brazilian brewer Ambev, opened the Smart Drinking Lab, a first-of-its-kind incubator for creating new products and tech-led solutions to help disrupt harmful drinking.

The lab is the latest advancement in Ambev’s work to promote moderation, building on more than a decade of Smart Drinking efforts that began with awareness campaigns and successful initiatives addressing underage drinking and road safety, to expanding its portfolio of low- and no-alcohol beverages.

The Smart Drinking Lab is led by a team of product development and research experts from Ambev’s Center for Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Rio de Janeiro, who collaborate with neuroscientists, biotech startups and local government officials on new products and tech to help people make better choices when drinking.

Ambev office

“We have big dreams for the future,” said Rodrigo Moccia, Corporate Affairs Director at Ambev. “The Smart Drinking Lab is taking a revolutionary, collaborative approach to transform how Brazilians behave to reduce harmful consumption at scale.”

Here’s a look at three of the lab’s most exciting developments so far.

  1. Raising the ‘bar’ for moderation with On By Beats
  2. The team is tapping into the power of Ambev brands to encourage positive behaviors, such as eating before and while drinking. To put this into action, the lab partnered with popular beverage brand, Beats, on a clinically tested cereal bar that can potentially slow alcohol absorption, make people feel fuller and drink more slowly.

    Still in its pilot phase, ‘On By Beats’ cereal bars were distributed, along with bottled water, at Carnival in Rio and are being offered for free at other large, Beats-sponsored events this year.

    On By Beats Cereal Bar

  3. A new AI-powered app that could detect alcohol consumption
  4. Flow Voice is a new app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to evaluate more than 120 aspects of the human voice. The Smart Drinking Lab, together with Metatimbre AI (an Ambev-backed startup) is testing to see if Flow Voice can detect changes in a user’s voice due to alcohol consumption. After uploading a recording of spoken phrases, users receive an analysis of their voices along with tips for moderation.

    Flow Voice is currently in early testing and is adding to its bank of 8,000+ voices to improve the app’s accuracy and expand its capabilities. Other potential uses being explored include smartwatch integrations and working with local law enforcement to address drinking and driving.

    People enjoying the Flow Voice app
    Ambev’s Rodrigo Moccia, Corporate Affairs Director (left) and Lucas Lima, Corporate Affairs and Smart Drinking Manager, introduced Flow Voice at Web Summit Rio 2023. (Photo Credit: Startupi)

  5. Tech to help improve public health and road safety
  6. The Smart Drinking Lab also provides tech expertise on Ambev initiatives to reduce harmful drinking in local communities. The team recently created a groundbreaking digital version of the evidence-based practice known as "Screening and Brief Interventions", facilitated by the AB InBev Foundation. This innovative tool empowers healthcare professionals to assess individuals' alcohol consumption habits during outpatient or wellness appointments. It serves as a guide for steering conversations and motivating those at risk to embrace transformative behavior changes. The initiative is spearheading a scalable solution that not only addresses existing challenges related to cost and reach but also has the potential to revolutionize AB InBev’s approach to responsible drinking practices.

    The lab also had a hand in testing predictive technology which uses AI and data intelligence to help identify locations that are prone to traffic crashes, enabling local law enforcement to initiate proactive actions, where needed

    "The Smart Drinking Lab pipeline is extensive and holds many exciting possibilities,” said Rodrigo Moccia.

    “We’re proud to be doing our part in creating a future with more moderation and less harmful drinking,” said Gabriel Gomes, Head of Disruptive Innovation at Ambev.

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