Last Saturday night was an evening of high spirits. Tucked away in Xinyi District, vintage, speakeasy-style Alchemy Bar (also known as one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars) hosted a night best described as a nod to the history and future of alcohol with local DIY, cider brewing startup, Alchema. The night’s full house included potential investors, small kitchen appliance buyers, manufacture partners, as well as the general public.

Alchema’s CEO and Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Oscar Chang says the partnership began when he brought some Alchema-made cider to Alchemy for its bartenders to try. They were immediately hooked: “After that day, I started to work with those bartenders to develop new recipes and plan a launch party to promote not only Alchema but also Alchemy,” says Chang, “We choose the main ingredient based on bartender’s preference to make sure the bartenders have the confidence to perform the drink well with that ingredient.”

The results were two experimental flavors, a heavy-roasted coffee flavor cider and a rosemary orange cider, which were served as free, limited-edition cocktails during the event.

Since KM’s last bump in with Alchema, the startup has been working diligently to fulfill shipments to Beta customers. Alchema has also landed deals with big-name retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond and Bloomingdale’s and hopes to continue expanding its community of industry experts and spirited alcohol enthusiasts. “Now, we are welcoming more bars, restaurants, fruit farmers, and more to join us to shape the future,” says Chang.

After Saturday night’s successful collaboration, Chang says he’s even more excited about Alchema’s future. He plans to partner with more Taipei-based bars and restaurants to serve Alchema-made cider and promote his brand: “When you see Alchema in a bar or restaurant near your home, why not gives it a try?”

Here is our interview:

 

  • What was the process like collaborating with Alchemy?

When I reached out to Alchemy the first time, I brought our Alchema-made cider there and asked bartenders to give it a try. Both of the bartenders got intrigued by the flavor of cider and how easy the homebrewing process can be with Alchema. After that day, I start to work with those bartenders to develop new recipes and plan to have a launch party to promote not only Alchema but also Alchemy.

The most interesting thing happens when I work with Alchemy is we get tipsy in every meeting! To develop a delicious profile, we have to do tasting to see whether all the flavors in that drink bounded together. If not, we add other herbs or spices to balance that. Besides that, we also need to make sure the drink has a great aroma. Therefore based on the profile we want to deliver, we use specific fruit peel or herbs which can better mingle with the main ingredient in that drink. After the flavor and aroma all confirmed, we will discuss with them how to well present the drink which is the visual and naming according the story behind the drink.

 

  • What was the inspiration behind the two drinks made for the event that night?

We choose the main ingredient based on bartender’s preference to make sure the bartenders have the confidence to perform the drink well with that ingredient. Then we decide how we want to present the drink. By that means we are forming the flavor profile, like fruity, fresh, heavy, or woody flavor.

 

  • Any thoughts about how that night went?

That night went out pretty great! People love the drink including potential investors, small kitchen appliance buyers, manufacture partners and general public. We serve coffee flavor and rosemary orange flavor cider as welcome drink in this event. The coffee flavor cider has a opaque black chocolate color with tangy heavy-roasted coffee aroma and multi-layers woody herbal flavors. And the rosemary orange flavor cider has bright orange color with fresh rosemary aroma. You can also taste a mellow acidity and slight sweetness.

 

  • Last time we talked, Alchema was in the final stages of manufacturing their product. Can you tell me more about what stage Alchema is at now?

We already built out the platform for people who are looking for new flavor or care about the flavor to join us. After kickstarter, we already have people and industry experts in this community. Now, we are welcome more bars, restaurants, fruit farmers, and more to join us to shape the future. I can see in the future most of the people will have at least one Alchema in their home like a coffee machine. After all, who doesn’t like getting tipsy?

 

  • What are you the most excited about moving forward? What can we expect?

We finally are able to share with people how delicious Alchema-made cider can be. In order to do that, we partner with bars/ restaurants to serve Alchema-made cider for people to try and attend food & beverage trade show to do free tasting. When you see Alchema in a bar or restaurant near your home, why not gives it a try?

(Feature photo courtesy of Oscar Chang)

 

Victoria Chen

Victoria Chen graduated from the Olin Business School and Sam Fox Art School at Washington University in St. Louis. When she’s not studying Chinese at National Taiwan University, she’s either hogging book samples in an Eslite Bookstore or looking for $2 lunchboxes to eat. She is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan.