Coca-Cola's Freestyle fountain dispensers have proven wildly popular since the company introduced the innovation three years ago. The machine allows users to combine any of more than 120 soda brands with the touch of a screen, and it's being credited as the reason behind high sales for some restaurant chains that have installed them.
But could the machines be used next to provide soft drink mixers for booze?
In an article for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta-based chain Taco Mac revealed it was "piloting a test for Coca-Cola mixing Freestyle choices with drinks such as rum, vodka, tequila and Jack Daniels."
Some background on Taco Mac: despite it's name, the eatery doesn't serve tacos or any type of Mexican food. Named for the restaurant previously on the premises, the founders didn't have the funds to change the sign.
Though the restaurant became popular and profitable, with locations across Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina, but the name stuck. And yes, they have liquor licenses -- Taco Mac locations sells more than 300 types of premium and craft beers.
In an interview last year with Restaurant Management, Taco Mac's vice president of marketing, Bruce Skala explained why the company decided to install the Freestyle machines.
“Beverage choice was foremost, but there were also operational efficiencies to consider. These dispensers will allow us to provide our guests with a better beverage experience and allow us to better manage inventory and equipment maintenance in the back of the house.”
There's no word yet on if Taco Mac's pilot booze program using the Freestyle machines for its cocktail mixers is working out, but we have to imagine other businesses might be interested in the Freestyle machines to use for their mixed drinks if it does.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that the Freestyle machines may soon include alcohol, when they are actually being tested by Taco Mac to provide the non-alcoholic soft drink mixers that the restaurant would then add alcohol to.