Virtual Bartender, Sparkling Ice Maker Awarded Gold in 2020 MarCom Awards

Given that around 87 million homes are now equipped with smart devices, it was only a matter of time before virtual bartending became a thing.

Sparkling Ice Maker™, launched by Talking Rain Beverage Company, recently took home the gold at the 2020 MarCom Awards. The innovative voice skill is compatible with smart devices including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Once Sparkling Ice Maker is downloaded, users can launch it simply by saying “Alexa, launch Sparkling Ice Maker” or “Hey Google, talk to Sparkling Ice Maker.” 

Talking Rain’s signature beverage is Sparkling Ice, a full-flavored sparkling water. In the comfort of their own homes, customers can now get ideas for cocktails or mocktails made with the fizzy, fruity beverages. Individual preferences in spirits and Sparkling Ice flavors, of which there are eighteen, are duly noted. The beverage configurator then makes suggestions from its catalog of recipes.

In short, users leave the flavor combinations and ratios to cutting-edge technology.

MarCom judges about 6,000 print and digital submissions from around the world each year. Entrants compete across hundreds of diverse categories. The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals oversees and judges the contest. The AMCP is made up of thousands of marketing, communication and advertising professionals around the globe. All are at the top of their game.

Partnering with the Hawkeye Agency, Talking Rain topped competitors in the voice skill and action category. Sarah Gustat, Talking Rain’s Executive Vice President of Marketing, said she was thrilled that Sparkling Maker had been awarded with such a “prestigious award and strong market recognition.” The award itself, a stunning gold statuette, is crafted by the same company that makes the Emmy, Golden Globe and American Music Awards. 

Sparkling Ice beverages, gaining popularity around 2010,  are sold at grocery and retail stores nationwide. The beverages contain no sugar and are made with real fruit flavor and colors from natural sources. Fans appreciate their antioxidants, vitamins and refreshing taste. There are caffeinated and caffeine-free options.

The product line offers something for everybody. In 2020, Coconut Limeade joined seventeen other flavors:

• Black Cherry

• Black Raspberry

• Cherry Limeade

• Classic Lemonade

• Coconut Pineapple

• Crisp Apple

• Fruit Punch

• Ginger Lime

• Grape Raspberry

• Kiwi Strawberry

• Lemon Lime

• Orange Mango

• Peach Nectarine

• Pink Grapefruit

• Pomegranate Blueberry

• Strawberry Lemonade

• Strawberry Watermelon

There are also seasonal and limited-time flavors. For anyone who is daunted by the kaleidoscopic selection, drink recipes are available on the Sparkling Ice website. Again, the virtual mixologist is also happy to recommend tasty combinations.

Talking Rain has a colorful history rooted in the Pacific Northwest. The founders hit on the company idea and unusual name in 1987 when they were having drinks in a local bar. A Talking Heads song was playing over the sound system, and it was raining.

The young company relocated to Preston, Washington, in 1992. The Sparkling Ice brand began to make a name for itself locally through event marketing and sponsorships, sponsoring the very first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Puget Sound. Talking Rain continues to support a number of non-profit organizations including Honor Flight Network, an organization that helps veterans make the trip to Washington, D.C. for monument tours. Talking Rain also prioritizes sustainability and is a supporter of The Recycling Partnership. 

The Talking Rain website describes the company’s purpose as “creating connections with every sip.” The award-winning Sparkling Ice Maker voice app does just that by bringing the bar — and the “bartender” — to anyone who relishes the convenience. It may not stack up against a human bartender-as-therapist, but at least it doesn’t expect a tip.