Keurig and Anheuser-Busch are teaming to create a home brewing machine capable of producing beer, spirits, mixers, cocktails and, we imagine, unicorns and puppies and genies that can grant never-ending wishes. The miracle gizmo has yet to be prototyped or even named, so before you get too excited about making your own hooch from an aquavit Keurig pack, we have a few concerns we’d like to address. Namely, Keurig’s checkered history with anything beyond coffee, the suspect legality of home distillation and the shaky premise of producing instant, palatable, robot-made booze.
The liquor venture follows Keurig’s aborted entry into the soda machine market. The Keurig Kold failed to match up to SodaStream or other fizz infusers, ending its brief 10-month run in June 2016—the $370 price tag probably didn’t help. As CNN Money points out, SodaStream not only has the soda machine market cornered, but it is also ahead of Keurig in the home beer brewing biz, having launched a SodaStream Beer Bar in Europe last year.
In regards to the company's claim that the machine will have cocktail-making capabilities, it’s hard to imagine it spitting out anything that can rival a human-made drink. While we will reserve our judgements until we can try it ourselves, we expect it to go something like this.
And then there’s the claim that the machine will able to produce “spirits.” Even if the machine does produce decent booze at an accessible price, there’s still the danger that home distillers will run afoul of Prohibition-era anti-distilling laws. While you can technically nab a Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit to distill alcohol at home (to power your car, not your Friday night), we’re guessing Keurig customers will choose not to take advantage of that “distill” button to avoid navigating the American legal system.
Excited as we are by the two beverage giants combining forces to help us achieve our childhood dreams of becoming futuristic moonshiners, it’ll be some time before the machines are available. In the meantime, we’ll just stick to buying our ‘shine from our Appalachian cousins and ordering cocktails from flesh-and-blood bartenders.