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Tomorrow sees the launch of perhaps the greatest use yet discovered for SMS - after sending a text message to sack all your staff, naturally - when 11 Corney & Barrow boozers across London roll out a mobe drinks voucher system.

The service allows your mates to log onto buymeabeer.com, select a beverage, enter your mobile number and pay for your tipple by credit card. You then get an SMS "drinks voucher" which bar staff will redeem upon presentation of your phone.

Corney & Barrow marketing and purchasing director Ed Gardner reckons: “What separates the BuyMeaBeer.com service from other SMS drinks promotions is the unique, personal touch. The message received on a friend’s or colleague’s phone is clearly a thank you direct from someone they know, and not an anonymous automated bulk send message from a mobile mailing list.”

The outfit running the back end is Eagle Eye Technology, and director Stephen Rothwell adds: “You know the way it is. You’re grateful to a friend or colleague for helping you out – moving house, mending the car, meeting a deadline – you offer your thanks and they throw out that eternal line: ‘Just buy me a beer!’ But then, somehow, you never quite get round to it."

We at El Reg applaud this initiative - subject to field testing - and hope that the scheme can be extended nationwide. At the same time, we hope that Buymeabeer.com also extends its current range. While we're sure that a bottle of Perrier Jouet at £34.95 or a refreshing Kirin beer at a cool £3 a pop might be just the trick for the dotcom yuppie power drinker, we can't help feeling that "as much Fosters as you can drink before 8pm" for a fiver and a proper selection of Pringles and salted peanuts would do much to sell the SMS pint to the common-or-garden pubgoer. ®

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