Bar 'makes market' in beer

Prices vary based on demand, scroll by on 'stock ticker'

June 7, 1999 - The Market Bar in London's financial district sells its beer and spirits at "market" prices, meaning the cost of a pint will vary depending on customer demand. The prices are flashed over screens similar to stock-exchange quote boards.


Owner Chris Maher has plans to offer futures contracts on beer prices, enabling customers to lock in the day's best deals. "You can buy six beers at a low price," he said, taking delivery of the beer anytime during the evening. He also hopes to sell the futures over the Internet.

Keith Bateman, one of the bar's computer developers, envisages a time when a thirsty office worker can shop online from the office, find the best price for a particular beer and buy three pints of it. "You can order a beer that will be sitting on the bar top when you walk in," he says.

The Market Bar's computer system gauges customer demand for about 11 brands of beer and several different spirits, like scotch and vodka. As demand picks up, prices fall. Three large computer screens chart price trends, daily highs and lows and current market prices.

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