In this time of social distancing, the question of whether or not to go out for a beer with friends is suddenly fraught with serious implications, or being banned outright. And while we would never suggest you drink alone, Drinkworks announced today that its cocktail machine can now make beer in the comfort of your home.
Drinkworks, which is a joint-venture between Keurig Dr Pepper and Anheuser-Busch InBev, partnered with Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing to create beer pods. Pop the pod into the Drinkmaker, push a button and carbonated beer comes out (just be sure to tilt the glass properly as it pours).
I can already see purists out there crinkling their face at the idea of a pod ingredients mixing with water to make beer. But I spoke with Victor Novak, Brewmaster at Golden Road, by phone recently, and he insists that there really isn’t a difference. Golden Road is making beer as it normally does and handing it off to Drinkworks, which then freeze distills it, removing the water and leaving the beer-y concentrate complete with alcohol. This new liquid goes into the pod which pops into the machine (though unlike other Drinkworks pods, the company suggests you keep the beer pods chilled).
Despite all this, there are probably a lot of skeptics out there. Even if it does taste like draught beer, the process may seem overly complicated for a drink you can pick up at any corner store. But Drinkworks is aiming for a different kind of convenience. Sure, you can pick up a half-rack, but how many can you store in your fridge? What if you want a variety of different beers? How many different six-packs can the average person keep?
By going with the pods, Drinkworks reasons, they reduce the footprint of beer. So people can keep more beer, and more varieties of beer, without taking up too much room. It’s the same thesis behind Drinkworks’ cocktail offerings. Instead of having to buy and store big bottles of booze, shrink the complete cocktail down into a pod and throw a party that can accommodate all kinds of tastes (just keep the party small, for now).
The biggest hurdle to most people experiencing this pod-based brew is availability. Drinkworks is in the middle of a slow roll-out and its machine ($299) is only available in California, Missouri, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York thus far.
Each beer pod makes a 14oz. drink and is being sold in a variety four-pack of wheat brews: Mango Wheat, Blood Orange Wheat, Pineapple Apricot Wheat and Strawberry Guava Wheat. Four-packs retail for $12.99, which is more than a lot of six-packs will run you, but they will take up a lot less space.
With the addition of beermaking, Drinkworks is separating itself from other home cocktail machines out there like the Bartesian and the Barsys, which can only make mixed drinks. The question now is whether people will pony up for pods of beer. Then again, given the times we live in, you can stockpile a lot more pods of beer than bottles.