Since I wrote this Scientific American story about hangovers, I’ve been on every hangover scientist’s and brand innovator’s press release list. I get some unusual pitches.
The latest comes from Vapor Sphere, who wants you to inhale your alcohol through a straw. SYA Products claims its Vapor Sphere allows people to vaporize their favorite hard liquors, which produces a comfortable “buzz,” but eliminates the impurities and calories that usually come with drinking. They’re saying it’s good for people with diabetes, reduces DUI potential and alcohol poisoning. I’m not reciting the company’s press release. (This video shows how it works here.)
And they want your money. They’re pursuing a crowdfunding campaign soon “that will accelerate further manufacturing and consumer awareness about the product.”
But is this really where we want the alcohol industry to go? I and other spirits writers have worked hard to educate consumers about tasting spirit instead of just kicking it back. In addition, distillers, brewers, winemakers, etc., have dedicated their careers to creating beer, wine and spirits that tickle the nose with aromas and drench the palate with flavors.
I doubt they’re targeting me with Vapor Share and likely want to cut into the shot market, where the “effect” is an important part of the experience. (The industry always caveats this “effect” with “drinking responsibly.”)
We also cannot forget the regulatory aspects. Alcohol vaping is nothing new, but it’s not illegal on the federal level. The FDA says it’s watching closely, while several states have banned the practice. In the mid 2000s, Kentucky Distillers Association lobbied to ban the alcohol smoking. It’s now illegal in Kentucky and more than a dozen states.
But we have powdered alcohol for a reason, because the market accepts and supports it. I’m sure some somebody sees the Vapor Sphere as innovation. Some booze CEOs are probably salivating to offload more vodka and develop new whiskey flavors. I can see it now: “Try our new bourbon-flavored vodka. Vapes just like Pappy.”
If Vapor Share is the future of alcohol, I might start selling insurance. I don’t think I could write Vaping notes.
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