We interviewed CEO and founder Phil Petracca, who launched the company-that now has presence in Best Buy, Target, Brookstone and Amazon-with cofounder, David McDonald in 2014.
Here’s what he told us about…
Our pursuit for great tasting beer, not surprisingly, began over a beer at our favorite local craft brewery, Brooklyn Brewery. While enjoying an expertly poured draft beer in the summer of 2014, I asked Dave a question, “Why does beer taste so good fresh from the brewers tap, but doesn’t taste nearly as good from a can, bottle or growler?” And, so, the Fizzics journey began.
How it Works
Open the can or bottle and place it inside the Fizzics. Place the draft tube into the beer and close and seal the device. Then “tap” the beer by pulling the handle forward. The beer is poured under pressure at a controlled rate. There’s a digital micro-control that adjusts pressure to control the rate of flow and maintain carbonation. When ready to add the head, push the handle back. That’s when the sound wave oscillation is used to agitate the existing CO2 in the beer to create the aromatic head that beer aficionados crave.
How Their Partnership Formed
Dave and I met back in 2001. At the time, Dave owned his own engineering and design firm and I was part of the launch team at Sirius Satellite Radio. I contracted Dave’s firm to execute a number of programs over the years, and our business relationship turned into a great friendship and eventual partnership to deliver the best possible beer drinking experience. As Fizzics began to grow, so did our team, and today we are fortunate to have built a passionate group of eight beer-loving employees.
Their 1st Prototype
…Then one night I was sitting with my sick newborn and there was a humidifier in the room. Being an engineer, I looked at it, wondered how it worked and shortly had it completely disassembled and hacked. What I discovered was that humidifiers use a technology, sound wave oscillation, to vaporize water. I called Dave at around 3 a.m. that night and had him searching through his basement to dig out a similar humidifier. With pieces of that, they were able to build a bread board prototype over the weekend that used sound wave oscillation on beer and it worked almost immediately. From bread board to production took another 10 months, and a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo helped fund development, tooling and the first production run.
How Their Appearance on the ‘Tank’ Came About
Dave initially reached out to Shark Tank when we had one, single working Fizzics prototype last summer. They had high interest in our technology and were impressed with the success and market interest in our original crowdfunding campaign. When the producer requested a working sample to test, we just didn’t have one available to ship them. Looking back now, we were too early in the process and it worked out much better for us not getting on for Season 7. We kept in contact with our producer, sending updates on key milestones, media features/reviews on Fizzics and the continued success we were having with retail sell through. In January of 2016, we had finally caught up with production demands and were able to send the producers a production unit to test. The producer we were working with shared Fizzics with her friends and family to see their reactions, They were very impressed and loved the Fizzics beer experience, and most importantly just couldn’t believe how much better we made their favorite beers taste. Fizzics was then shared with the team of executive producers at Shark Tank and after their experience of enjoying a Fizzics beer, we began working and preparing for Season 8.
The Future of Fizzics
We just launched a new product on Kickstarter called Fizzics Waytap. Waytap is a product the team is very proud of as it introduces a new bold industrial design, premium materials and a great user experience. Through an investment from frogVentures, we have an exciting pipeline of consumer products which are currently in development. We also have been partnering with craft breweries across the country on the development and launch of a Fizzics commercial tap system for use in on-premise locations. Fizzics commercial tap system is a paradigm shift in beer dispensing. For the first time in over 5,000 years of beer crafting, we will provide the brew master complete end-to-end control of the process and deliver a new dimension of the beer drinking experience.