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Derek Jeter-backed startup Bespoken raises $2.6M to 'deconstruct' whiskey, shave years off aging process

Zack Guzman
·Senior Writer
·3 min read

They say all good things take time — but what if that means turning years into days?

That’s at least part of the value proposition behind distillery tech startup Bespoken Spirits. The Menlo Park, California-based company says it has mastered the technology to more accurately fine tune whiskey flavor profiles, and compress the liquor’s lengthy aging process into a matter of days.

Bespoken recently raised a $2.6 million seed round of funding from a group of investors, including former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter. And while it may not be the first company to try to shave years off the distillation process, its co-founders say it could be the first to leverage that technology to help third parties chase a specific demographic’s taste profile.

“I think a simple way to think about what we have done is we deconstructed the barrel,” Bespoken Spirits co-founder Stu Aaron explained in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

“So we use the same traditional all-natural elements of wood, of toast, and of char - we don't need any additives of chemicals - and just reimagined the process of how the elements are used to take advantage of modern science and technology,” he explained.

Using that process makes the liquor process more sustainable and faster, Aaron added, and allows the startup “tailor that spirit to a specific and precise desired aroma, color, and most importantly, taste profile.”

Bespoken Spirits claims to have mastered shrinking the whiskey aging process from years to days. It's namesake whiskey has won awards as the company looks to leverage the technology with third party clients. (Bespoken Spirits)
Bespoken Spirits claims to have mastered shrinking the whiskey aging process from years to days. It's namesake whiskey has won awards as the company looks to leverage the technology with third party clients. (Bespoken Spirits)

For traditional whiskey aficionados or brands, the idea that a $30 whiskey could stack up just the same after a days-long aging process might seem terrifying. But as co-founder Martin Janousek explained, even traditional distillers could still turn to the company to create prototypes for certain tastes.

“Today, if you want to have a new product, a new rum or a new whiskey, it would take you five years to get it,” Janousek told Yahoo Finance. “We can deliver a new product to our customers within days. It's a combination of saving money as well as especially time.”

In breaking from the traditional years-long journey in barrels to produce a top notch whiskey, Bespoken has been able to create spirits that have garnered critical acclaim at recent award tastings — including a gold medal at the 2019 MicroLiquor Spirit Awards.

Yet, ironically the goal necessarily wasn’t to create an award-winning brand for the brand’s sake. Instead, Aaron explained it was a means to an end to demonstrate to potential customers that the technology was good enough to do so.

And it may be just enough to help Bespoken create a white label product, and fulfill Aaron’s ambitions of the company being a “technology and services provider” to the liquor industry.

Bespoken wants “to help the industry, you know, match the changing demands of the modern consumer who is less brand loyal, more tech savvy, more environmentally conscious,” he said.

“It's already won 22 medals in prestigious competitions against well-known brands in our first six months of eligibility that has shown in blind tastings that Bespoken Spirits stacks up against some of the best stuff out there,” he added.

Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

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