bru v glass beer

Toronto startup seeks to end skunky patio beer

As we enter patio season in Toronto, we like to think that there is no more natural pairing in the world than sunshine and beer. The truth is, it's not actually a match made in heaven. In fact sunlight, or more specifically its UV rays, is precisely the thing that can give beer that skunky taste that can totally harsh your patio buzz, bro.

Thankfully, there's BRU-V, a Toronto startup looking to save our patio beers one glass a time. Their product, essentially a brown pint glass, isn't exactly ground-breaking technology, but its simplicity might just be its genius. Why, the company's founders wonder, is such an effort made to keep beer from sunlight through most of its life, only to expose it to light for the last leg of it's journey, i.e. from the tap to your suckhole?

And so BRU-V incorporates the same technololgy that's been employed in amber-brown beer bottles for hundreds of years in an effort to keep (science content alert) riboflavin from reacting with and breaking down the isohumulones in beer, creating 3-MBT, a molecule which is similar chemically to the odour that skunks use for self defense.

In short, it keeps your beer fresh.

Founded by Ian Ritchie, who has a background in finance, Michale Mavian, a graphic designer from Toronto, and Alan Wood, an avid homebrewer who has worked at both Trafalgar Ales & Meads and at Cameron's Brewery in Oakville, BRU-V is launching their product as so many beer-related enterprises seem to be doing these days, through a kickstarter campaign.

"We are starting out as a grass-roots movement," Wood tells me of the decision to go the kickstarter route. "Bars are starting to show off how recently they've cleaned their lines, and I think this is something that really excites people who drink good beer," he says of the company's hopes that better tasting beer will be a draw for potential customers.

When I expressed disbelief that people actually take so long to drink their beer that it turns skunky, it wasn't anything Wood hadn't heard before. "This is perhaps our biggest challenge," he said of my doubts. "We need people to try our product first-hand. They will notice a significant difference in the taste and smell of their beer within 30 seconds. The chemical reaction happens incredibly fast, which is why our glass is so relevant."

What do you think? Are amber glasses the next patio fixture in Toronto?

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson.


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