The new economics of getting sloshed: using game theory to choose your next drink

Illustration for article titled The new economics of getting sloshed: using game theory to choose your next drink

Bars across the country are implementing a market-based pricing algorithm that automatically adjusts the cost of drinks from minute-to-minute, based on the ordering trends of its patrons. If the bar is selling a lot of cocktail A, the price of that drink increases. If sales on beverage B are down, the cost of the libation drops accordingly.


The basic concept behind the software (created by Miami-based company The Drink Exchange) is pretty straightforward, but it introduces a new level of complexity to the practice of drinking on a dime. Over on Wired, software creator Todd Schram (who, depending on how you look at it, is either the best source of advice on the subject or the worst) offers some tips on how you can use strategic decision making to game the system:

Look for patterns
Drink Exchange lets bar owners link drinks, so when the price of one goes up, the prices of others automatically fall. "If you stare at the screen long enough, you'll start to see relationships," Schram says. Insider trading tip: At D Street Bar and Grill in Encinitas, California, the Irish Car Bomb is linked to an undisclosed brand of beer.

Time the market
Schram says most bars open the market with a crash-drinks plummet to around half their original price for a limited time after boot up. If you can't arrive early, try closing time: "The later in the night, the cheaper the prices," Schram says. Remember, for every drink that spikes, several go down. At the end of the evening, up to 80 percent of the menu is steeply discounted.

Read the rest of Schram's tips over at Wired.

Top image via Shutterstock



See, I always figured if you're a regular at a place and you're decent to the staff, they take care of you when/if they can. My husband and I go to a particular bar one or two times a month in Orlando when we're doing the theme park thing, and have been going there for about five years, so we know all the staff and they know us. We tip well because they're great people, talk with them, and as a result get generous pours or comped drinks... it's nothing we expect or feel entitled to (we would never want them to get in trouble), but it's something that can happen wherever you go if you're a good customer, even if you're not a regular.

Though I guess the batches of cookies and brownies I bring them every year for Christmas probably helps.