The company that promised us synthetic wine is now making synthetic whiskey
Two years ago, Food & Wine covered a small startup making big promises: Ava Winery wanted to create great wine “with no grapes or fermentation.” This synthetic wine company was even going after one of the biggest names on the planet, working on a product it said could replicate a bottle of Dom Pérignon. Today, the Ava Winery name is no more, but the concept has been reborn under a new moniker with a new focus: synthetic whiskey. That’s not to say that synthetic wine is off the table, it’s just been pushed to the backburner.
Endless West, as the rebrand is called, has the same team and the same financial backers. When The Verge recently stopped by their offices, Endless West even gave them the same product to sample, a moscato made without any grapes. (Just like two years ago, the taste test didn’t go over well.) However, where the company had previously promised to bring synthetic wine to market “in the next six to 12 months,” Endless West is now promising that some sort of brown spirit—either rum or whiskey made without barrels—will be its first product to reach retail by the end of 2018 at the absolute earliest.
Though the precise reason for the switch isn’t completely clear (ostensibly Endless West believes synthetic whiskey is either easier to make or easier to sell), the brand’s explanation for why they’re even trying remains the same. Co-founder and CEO Alec Lee says his company’s process is better for the environment, using less water and land, creating a drink that’s more sustainable and cost-effective. “If things that we are doing were not necessary for the environment, we would not do it,” Lee told The Verge. “As a brand we are telling stories that no one has told before: there’s craft behind science; we’re not evil mad scientists behind the curtain.”
Still, despite Endless West’s continually optimistic talk, The Verge said that, though they were told a synthetic spirit would be available to sample, none were available during their moscato tasting. The future isn't here just yet.