Is Alcohol Clarification Technology a Disruptor or an Opportunity?

Image: Alchemy Beverages, Inc.

We’ve seen a lot of processes and technology purporting to make different types of alcohol taste better.

Who can forget the months of debate over whether cheap vodka passed through a Brita filter could make it taste like its premium counterparts?

Last time we checked, we didn’t see any Brita pitchers loaded with vodka behind any bars we visited.

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What we may soon see behind bars is a new device called BarMuze. It’s aimed toward home use but it wouldn’t be the first time something intended for “home bartenders” was adopted on-premise.

“Life can be harsh,” reads the BarMuze tagline. “Your drink doesn’t need to be.”

The “tabletop device” uses what the company calls their patented Clarification Technology to remove the alcohol burn—harshness—and impurities from spirits and wine. The result is supposed to be a “cleaner, smoother taste.”

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The BarMuze website also claims that the device makes it possible for drinkers to enjoy the qualities of top-shelf alcohol without shelling out for such brands. If you think that sounds like the theory that bottom-shelf vodka can be transformed into Belvedere or Grey Goose with a few passes through a Brita filter, you aren’t alone.

Rob Mondavi, Jr.—yes, from the famous winemaking family—said he was “extremely skeptical” when he was first told about Clarification Technology.

“I see lots of 'technology' that really adds nothing to improve wine or spirits,” says Mondavi.

However, the fourth-generation winemaker and president and founder of Folio Fine Wine Partners, says he changed his tune after participating in a series of BarMuze tastings. In fact, Mondavi joined Alchemy Beverages, Inc.’s (ABI) board.

Clarification Technology, according to ABI, smooths and cleans a given alcohol by changing its hydrogen bonds slightly. The result is a reduction in harshness inherent to some spirits and wines, as well as the removal of some toxins.

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The BarMuze process takes about three to five minutes and is as simple as pouring the liquid into the device. Cleanup is just as easy, something that may increase interest in BarMuze by operators. ABI says all that’s required to clean BarMuze is running a cycle of water through it—there are no filters to buy and replace.

The company claims that the device doesn’t alter the proof or volume of whatever alcohol it clarifies.

ABI’s crowdfunding goal for BarMuze wasn’t stratospheric—it was a relatively humble $15,000. It took just one week for the project to achieve over 200 percent of its funding goal on Kickstarter. As of this writing, BarMuze has reached $34,737 in funding from just 128 backers.

Backers truly believe this device is going to revolutionize how alcohol is experience by consumers at home. An ABI press release states that BarMuze will change consumer loyalty to spirit and wine brands.

Like many tech developments aimed at beverage alcohol consumers, BarMuze has the potential to be a disruptor or an opportunity. On the disruptive side, operators may encounter increased resistance to upselling from guests who have purchased and embraced BarMuze. And let's be honest—we're not excited for people to have another reason to stay home rather than visit a bar, restaurant or nightclub for a drink.

Check this out: How Operators Will Use New Tech in the Near Future

On the opportunity side, BarMuze could present itself as a guest experience enhancer. One possibility is offering a “BarMuze experience” for a nominal fee, allowing guests to choose to have their order clarified via the device.

We have yet to see how the BarMuze will impact on-premise operations. The device could be just another fad, it could be a true game changer. Either way, operators must be aware of tech developments such as this one, keeping an eye on all possible threats and opportunities.

Resources

BarMuze website

Alchemy Beverages, Inc. website

BarMuze Kickstarter

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