- Keurig and Anheuser-Busch teamed up to create a “Keurig for cocktails.”
- Drinkworks, the beverage giants’ joint venture, transforms pods of distilled cocktails into single-serve drinks such as gin and tonics, Mai Tais, and Old Fashioneds.
- At $US399, the machine isn’t cheap – but executives say the demand is there, and the cocktails pass our taste test.
As Americans ditch beer, cocktail culture is thriving. And, beverage industry giants are ready to cash in.
Keurig Dr. Pepper and Anheuser-Busch teamed up to found the joint venture, Drinkworks, which aims to be a Keurig for cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. Spouting out single-serve drinks such as gin and tonics, Mai Tais, and Old Fashioneds, Drinkworks aims to act as an automated bartender for home entertainers and other cocktail lovers.
“You can get a cocktail in a can, but it’s not the same experience,” Drinkworks CMO Val Toothman told Business Insider. “Cocktails … are a culture. It’s an experience. You want something crafted, freshly made.”
Business Insider recently had a chance to speak with Toothman and test out the Drinkworks “home bar.” Here’s what it’s like to use the $US399 cocktail making machine:
Drinkworks essentially distills a cocktail down to a highly concentrated pod of alcohol and mixers.
The machine is used to add the correct amount of water or sparkling water to create a beverage.
Each sleeve contains four pods. Each cocktail pod costs $US3.99, with beer (which we didn’t test) costing $US2.25 per pod.
We taste tested Drinkworks’ margaritas, Moscow Mules, and Mai Tais. Other options include White Russians and sangria, as well as Beck’s beers and Stella Artois cider.
Toothman says that the company’s Vermont distillery works to create “high-end, premium cocktails,” and then concentrate them.
Each pod has a barcode that works as a recipe for the machine, which reads the code and adds the appropriate amount of water and carbonation at the correct temperature.
Currently Drinkworks is selling the machine for $US299 in a St. Louis, Missouri, pilot. As the machine rolls out across the state and in Florida and California this year, the machine’s standard price will be upped to $US399.
Early fans of Drinkworks are upper-income people who regularly entertain at home, especially empty nesters and young parents, Toothman says.
It’s a high price tag for a machine that, essentially, dilutes premixed cocktails — the same thing many people do with something like margarita mix.
However, Toothman says at least some home entertainers are seeking a gadget that churns out different cocktails for guests. After they buy the machine, Drinkworks has noticed many start using it regularly for their everyday, personal needs.
Business Insider taste testers can vouch for the quality of the drinks. Each cocktail we tried was tasty, with surprisingly complex flavours — and would be a fine addition to a house party.
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