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New breath-alcohol apps generating buzz

Thursday - 6/5/2014, 4:04am  ET

alcohoot bar (alcohoot)
A new breathalyzer app suggests users find their "perfect BAC" (Alcohoot)

WASHINGTON -- Fitness trackers can monitor workouts and offer suggestions to improve physical fitness, breathing, calorie consumption and blood pressure.

Now, a new device and app that measures Blood Alcohol Content is generating buzz for its promise of helping users find their "perfect BAC."

Startup Alcohoot thinks consumers will be willing to pay $99 to buy a device that monitors how much they drink, alert the user when he or she is legally drunk and review the night of drinking activity the morning after.

Other devices and apps on the market measure BAC, including Breathometer, and the BACtrack mobile smartphone Breathalyzer .

What's different about Alcohoot is the partnership with Pernod Ricard USA, -- whose brands include Absolut, Jameson, and Malibu -- and the suggestion that "Alcohoot has the power to improve the way you drink and enhance your lifestyle."

There's even a hashtag to discuss drinking within a person's limits -- #perfectnightout.

Alcohoot's co-founder Ben Biron tells Advertising Age that breath-analysis devices are often identified in a negative way, associated with police and authority.

Attempting to position Alcohoot as a "lifestyle brand," in addition to reducing drunken-driving accidents, the brand wants to make itself "part of the fun of the night."

Pernod Ricard USA, whose brands also include Chivas Regal, Glenlivet and Perrier Jouet Champagne, says pairing with an innovative smartphone app is in line with its commitment to fight against irresponsible drinking of its products.

"Alcohoot engages people and has the potential to change behavior," says Bryan Fry, President and CEO of Pernod Ricard.

How Alcohoot works

The $99 device plugs into the phone's headphone jack, with no need to sign in or wait for a Bluetooth connection.

On its website, Alcohoot describes the FDA-registered fuel cell sensor as "police grade technology," but its app offers the disclaimer that it shouldn't be used to determine whether it is safe to operate a motor vehicle.

Features of the free app, available on the App Store and Google Play, include Smartline, which enables a person to set his or her limits before they begin drinking and plots each drink and BAC as the evening progresses.

Another feature, Morning Quiz, asks the user to rank their experience the night before and describe how they feel the morning after.

The app also offers a review of the drinker's behavior.

One example on the website: "You felt like an 8 last night. You delivered your jokes smoothly and charmed everyone. Well done!"

Alcohoot lets a user enter preferred taxi contact information and provides GPS location information for the evenings when it would be unsafe to climb behind the wheel.

The device is available on the company's website and Amazon.

See how Alcohoot works:

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