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The Origins of Point Five

Hi, I’m Ronan – from a small town called Newbridge in Co. Kildare, Ireland. I came over to the US to do a PhD at MIT on desalination – that’s purifying water from the sea and other sources. When I graduated, I took what I had learned about filtration systems and started a business in the brewing industry called Sandymount Technologies.

At Sandymount we sell membrane systems to brewers that allow them to shrink beer down by a factor of five in volume. They can then ship the beer in bulk to bottling plants or in mini-kegs to bars where the high strength beer is blended with carbonated water. It’s like coca-cola for beer. The magic though, is in the taste. Our membrane systems can selectively remove water alone. Provided purified water is added back on the other end, the taste is fresh and unchanged.

A business from a business

Over the last years, we have run hundreds of hours testing membrane systems at Sandymount. From time to time, someone – often a client or supplier – would ask if our technology could remove not just water but also alcohol. Eventually, we heard the question so many times that we decided to try it. Initially, we could take some alcohol out and the beer tasted really good, but we couldn’t get enough alcohol out to get to the 0.5% alcohol you need to reach to be considered non-alcoholic. Six months and many membranes and process designs later, we finally hit the 0.5% target – and the stuff tasted lovely. Folks would be having non-alcoholics around the office and we would have visitors in who would taste the beer versus the non-alcoholic version and not be able to tell the difference.

Why now?

Folks are looking to drink less alcohol these days. It’s partly taking care with driving, but it’s also a better option during the day or if I’m playing ice hockey or tag rugby or something like that. The problem though is the taste. Non-alcoholics just haven’t tasted that great. What we’re doing at Sandymount is giving brewers a platform to make non-alcoholics that taste top notch. To kick things off though, we’re launching a limited amount of our own brand to show what can be done. Maybe unsurprisingly, we’ve called it Point Five – because that’s the target we had to hit. It’s a simple non-alcoholic – crisp and refreshing. I hope you’ll pick one up, and pick up many more non-alcoholics made with the Sandymount technology. Cheers!

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