Fizzics is the story of two friends enjoying a beer at their favorite Brooklyn brewpub. One of them, Phil Petracca, wondered aloud why beer tasted so much better from the tap than from a bottle. His friend, David McDonald, agreed with him about the difference in flavor but didn't know the answer either. Countless bar goers have undoubtedly asked the same question. But Petracca (now Fizzics CEO) and McDonald (now CTO) decided to do something about it. The result is Fizzics, a device that makes bottled beer taste better.
Fizzics is simple to use. You place a container of beer—any size from a 12-ounce can to a 64-ounce growler—inside the Fizzics container. Then insert a plastic tube into the beer and close the lid. Hold a glass up to the tap at a 45-degree angle and press the handle at the top forward. When the glass is two-thirds full, hold it upright and press the handle backward to add foam. In the video below, Petracca demonstrates Fizzics.
WHAT FIZZICS DOES
The system does two things to improve taste. First, it oxygenates the body of the beer by pressurizing the container so that the beer is pushed down and then up and out. Petracca tells Techwalla that oxygen is a good thing twice in the life of a beer: at the time of brewing, and when it's poured. Secondly, Fizzics adds a foam head. Now, of course, anyone can create foam while pouring a beer. But Petracca and McDonald discovered that the texture of the foam is vital to the brew's taste. In standard bottled beer, the bubbles are too large, creating a grainy, unpleasant taste. Fizzics solves the problem by using soundwaves to create finer foam. The soundwaves essentially chop up the bubbles, so that one large bubble of typical beer foam becomes 100 bubbles in the Fizzics system, yielding a consistent, dense, creamy texture.
These beers were drunk in the name of science.
The most serendipitous part of the story involves how Petracca and McDonald came up with the idea of using soundwaves to solve the foam problem. They had experimented with dextrin, nitrogen, and other interventions without success. But then one night Petracca went into his newborn's room. A humidifier was running and Petracca wondered what method it used to instantly vaporize water. He inspected the humidifier and found that it used soundwaves. "It was 3 AM but I called McDonald anyway," Petracca said. Within 48 hours, they had a working prototype.
Soundwaves were the missing link; and from there, success followed rapidly. FirstPetracca and McDonald tested their invention on their family. Then they headed to an Atlantic City beer festival, which Petracca describes as the "most surrealistic experience I've had with a product," as the line to their booth was continuous for two straight days. Next, they crowdfunded Fizzics on Indiegogo—and reached their goal the first day. "We quit our jobs the day after that," Petracca said.
Brookstone took Fizzics into its stores in November 2015 and saw sales of $1.6 million in eight weeks. Fizzics became Brookstone's best-selling item for the 2015 holiday season. Fizzics can now be found at Best Buy, Target, Amazon, and Total Wine & More.
On September 23 of this year, Petracca and McDonald appeared on the Season 8 premiere of Shark Tank (Techwalla spoke with them shortly after the show aired), at the end of which Mark Cuban and Lori Grenier agreed to fund their entire Series A round to the tune of $2 million.
Petracca and McDonald and the team they've built at Fizzics are already working on new products, including a smaller consumer version of the Fizzics system called Waytap and a commercial tap for bars and breweries.
Photo credits: Techwalla, Fizzics.