New technology puts everyone in the market for a drink or two

THE Market Bar in Crutched Friars started pricing its drinks according to customer demand back in the 1990s, with stock exchange boards constantly updating the dynamic prices.

Now an American firm based in Florida, The Drink Exchange, has developed the technology to enable any bar to offer a similar experience. If everyone starts demanding a pint of Guinness, the more it will cost you. If you’re the only one sipping at a gin and tonic, take comfort in enjoying a low-demand bargain.

The software system is designed to allow bar owners to analyse how their real-time pricing strategies affect revenues and profits, while also adding an unexpected bonus at the bar for skilled financial analysts, able to anticipate the next market crash – or the impact on demand when a party of thirsty stockbrokers walks through the door.

According to Wired Magazine, the system plans to be in 300 American bars by the end of the year. But given the potential for financial education, The Capitalist wonders if British pubs wouldn’t benefit from trying it out as well.

■ PHILANTHROPY in the City doesn’t always get the publicity it deserves, but a new publicly-listed fund expected to be announced today might change that. The Battle Against Cancer Investment Trust (BACIT) will be London-listed and seek to raise £500m come October. The brainchild of Tom Henderson, backers include Better Capital’s John Moulton and Greg Coffey of Moore Capital. All fees will be waived, to help the fund reach its hoped-for 10-15 per cent returns. In lieu of fees, BACIT will donate one per cent of its assets a year to charity; half will go to the Institute of Cancer Research.

■ ABBA takes home the gold today. The 30th anniversary of the compact disc finds the band’s Gold compilation as the UK’s biggest selling CD of all time, having shifted 4m units. Its nearest challenger is Adele’s 21, which has sold 3.5m CDs since January last year. While the rise of digital music suggests it may be increasingly difficult for anyone to challenge these records in future, the Official Charts Company says more than three quarters of classical and blues recordings are still sold on CD. At 30, the format isn’t ready to retire just yet.