Getting a Type-II diabetes diagnosis is tough, but for Doug Davis, an avid homebrewer, it was especially bad. The new dietary restrictions meant that he had to give up his hobby—and it meant his neighbors would miss his homemade Scottish-style brews. “I spent eight to 10 months moping around,” says Davis. “Then I started doing some research. If I changed the malting temperature, I could bring the alcohol content way down along with the carbs.” Fast-forward a few years, and Davis is crafting beer again—sort of.
He co-founded OnTap, a company that sells a beer-flavored liquid to spice up cheap brews—sans gluten, carbohydrates, calories, or alcohol. It works like MiO or Crystal Light Liquid: You squirt a little bit into your glass to change the flavor of what you are drinking. Right now, there are two flavors—American Ale and India Pale Ale (both $4.99)—and the product is made entirely in the U.S.
Aside from the health benefits, Davis says that millennials dig the cost savings: You can buy an 18-pack of cheap swill but spice it up with craft beer flavor (each OnTap package has 18 servings). “The craft brew industry sees me as a heretic,” Davis says. “But no one is going to stop drinking the craft stuff for me. The millennials that like to change things up? They're a market.”
Davis also suggests adding OnTap to gluten-free beer and non-alcoholic brews as a healthier alternative. To use it, take a glass of beer, add a few OnTap drops, taste, and repeat until you like the flavor. “You'll quickly catch on to when that profile is right for you,” says Davis.
Our grade: As a beer reviewer, I had to try it with water alone. That wasn't a good idea (I can still taste it while I type this). But I like the pro-health angle so much that I’ll give it a try in a NA beer soon. Stay tuned for an update.