USA: AB InBev and Keurig start selling beer and cocktail machine

Drinkworks, a joint venture of Keurig and Anheuser-Busch, starts selling its first product, the Drinkworks Home Bar, nearly two years after the joint venture was for the first time publicly announced (inside.beer, 8.1.2017).

Similar to the Keurig Coffee  Maker, the Drinkworks Home Bar can make 15 different cocktails, including Mojito, Sangria, Gin & Tonic, Daiquiri and Margarita as well as eight types of beer branded Beck’s and Bass and a European style cider called Stella Artois Cider. Users put in water, and also have to install a CO² cartridge that can make an average of 12 drinks.

The beers are prepared like all other drinks of the home bar from pods which contain a concentrate of the original product. The beer for the pods is produced by brewing high gravity wort which is fermented and concentrated afterwards by freezing the product and separating the ice. The method which is also used to produce traditional ice beer (Eisbock) combines “a discovery from the 19th century with 21st century technology,” according to Drinkworks’ official website.

The beer concentrates in the pods contain between 17 and 21 percent alcohol by volume. For preparing the product at home, the device dilutes the content of a 50ml pod with four times the amount of carbonated water to prepare a 200 ml (7oz.) glass of beer. The machine costs US$299, and the pods start at US$3.99 for a cocktail and US$2.25 for a beer. This makes US$9 for a liter of beer, which is nearly as much as the same amount of beer at the Oktoberfest in Munich but without the Oom-pah music and all the fun associated with it. In addition you need to pay the US$299 for the Drinkworks Home Bar upfront.

Currently, the machine and pods are only available through mail order or at select physical retailers for customers in St. Louis. Customers in Florida and California can pre-order the machine with delivery starting next year. For other states, the company said it plans "to expand soon."

"We set out to reinvent the entire drinking experience," Nathaniel Davis, Drinkworks CEO and President, said in a statement. But he also had to admit that the product is not allowed to be named beer anymore. “The government considers those distilled spirits,” Davis said in an interview. “They’re not technically beers any more once we pull the water out.”

Keurig was bought in 2016 by JAB Holding Company, a company majority owned by the German Reimann family. When American soft drink company Dr Pepper Snapple was also acquired by JAB Holding earlier this year both companies were merged to become Keurig Dr Pepper. (inside.beer, 29.1.2018)

 

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