So, these two guys walk into a bar. [Correction: Brewery.] One guy’s an engineer. The other guy’s a tech geek. They’re both “beer guys.” And, while sipping pints of their favorite brews, they get a great idea: Make beer taste better at home, using sound waves.
This is no joke. This is how draft-quality beer – thanks to a product sold at Best Buy and to be pitched this week on the TV show “Shark Tank”– is making its way into homes across the country. It’s the Fizzics® portable draft beer system, and it’s the only product of its kind on the market.
“This is the greatest time to be a beer person,” Fizzics CEO and Co-founder Philip Petracca said of the booming craft beer industry and the “renaissance” of sorts for beer in general. “People are really in love with the ability to use Fizzics to share and elevate the at-home beer drinking experience. They love bringing friends and family over and introducing them to our system. It’s kind of the holy grail – getting people this engaged and excited with your product.”
I had the pleasure of talking with Phil this week to learn more about why he thinks this device is a must-have for beer drinkers. Phil’s a hands-on CEO who worked with co-founder David McDonald to take their brewery-borne idea and make it reality, including choosing to sell it at Best Buy.
They see Best Buy as a destination for new innovation and technology, including Fizzics, which Phil said makes it easy for people to taste bottled, canned or growler beer “as its brewers intended it to taste.” That means beer dispensed with the Fizzics system has an enhanced aroma, flavor and taste of draft beer. It’s done in an organic way with no added chemicals or additives – and without the hassle of a CO2 tank, keg or proprietary cartridges.
I needed to learn more about how this is possible.
How Fizzics works
We started by getting technical, with the science behind Fizzics, called “sonication.”
To operate, open the can or bottle of beer and place it inside the canister. Insert the draft tube into the vessel, and close and seal the system. Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle, and pull the tap the handle forward. A digital micro-control kicks in to dynamically adjust the pressure to manage the rate of flow to enhance the carbonation in the body of the beer. Pushing the handle back creates the Fizzics Micro-Foam™ head (the foam at the top of the glass). That’s when the sonication kicks in to agitate the existing CO2 in the beer, to create a creamy, full-bodied and aromatic head that beer aficionados crave.
Phil said the brain has a particular nerve that can pick up on the “mouth feel” of a beer and detect a difference in bubble size, which alters the density and texture of the beer. He added that beer dispensed with the Fizzics Micro-Foam™ technology is preferable because it provides a more aromatic and flavorful head than one would get from opening a can or bottle, or even pouring it into a glass.
Using and maintaining the machine is smooth, too. In a couple of minutes, you can go from opening the box; to inserting a can, bottle or growler of your favorite beer; to filling your glass. Four AA batteries are used to operate Fizzics and will fill a minimum of 200 12-ounce pours. Cleanup is also easy: Fizzics recommends that users simply run a glass of warm water through the system, then wipe out any condensation within the chamber.
Phil said he and his team initially thought Fizzics would appeal to the craft beer drinkers. “But what we found though, is everybody values draft quality pour over the flavor and taste of what comes from a can or a bottle,” he said. Even some root beers, Phil mentioned, can offer enhanced aroma, flavor and texture when dispensed with Fizzics.