April Fools’ Day was last week, but a Kickstarter launched yesterday had me double checking my calendar. A Buffalo, New York-based startup called Mad Hops is trying to raise $25,000 for “Flavored Brew Drops” – a product that claims it can “transform your boring beer” to “deliver a satisfying craft beer experience at a fraction of the price.”
More explicitly, Mad Hops says squirting just a few drops of their Flavored Brew Drops into a glass before dumping in 12 ounces of “everyday beer” – PBR is repeatedly suggested – will “upgrade the color, aroma and taste” of your beer into one of six flavors: the beer-centric Pale Ale and Irish Porter or the more fruit forward Mexican Lime, Apple Amber, Wild Blueberry and Cherry Wheat.
Without even getting into how this product subverts the entire ethos of craft beer by encouraging people to avoid purchasing beer from independent breweries and instead turn beer bought from a faceless international conglomerate into something that tastes like craft beer, even bigger questions as to why anyone would want to use Flavored Brew Drops linger.
Mad Hops initial pitch is that their product is cheaper than buying good beer. But is it? Who out there is shelling out an arm and a leg for Mexican Lime or Apple Amber beers? Is Redd’s Apple Ale really that pricey? Was Bud Light Lime taken off the market? And then we also have to look at the “craft” side of Mad Hops’ argument. Neither of those aforementioned beers is thought to resemble a “craft” product. In fact, outside of Cherry Wheat, which is specifically a Sam Adams product, none of the fruit flavors really sound very crafty at all.
So that leaves us with the Pale Ale and Irish Porter drops. Mad Hops touts that the latter drops have been billed as “a great way to survive your neighbor’s kegger!” But what kind of beer snob would rather doctor shitty beer than just drink shitty beer? It kind of defeats the point of beer snobbery. It’s as silly as a wine lover purporting to own a magic wand that turns every red into a 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild.
I’m not saying that Mad Hops Flavored Brew Drops aren’t an intriguing idea. They might be: as a parlor trick. They’re just not a well thought out idea on any sort of practical level.
Mad Hops compares their product to MiO, the water flavoring drops. What they neglect to take into consideration, however, is that MiO makes sense because water is abundant and free. It’s worth noting there’s already a way to turn water into beer. It’s called brewing and with a little bit of knowledge, you can start brewing too – no flavored drops required.