Startup of the week: Meet Liquid Integrity

Startup of the week: Meet Liquid Integrity

This article is from Washington Business Journal (https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2018/09/13/startup-of-the-week-meet-liquid-integrity.html#i/11040853)

Written By Sara Gilgore Staff Reporter, Washington Business Journal
Sep 13, 2018, 1:37pm EDT

When Mick Nardelli and Nahem Simon attended a D.C. beer festival a few years ago, they noticed people using (read: wasting) beer to rinse their glasses between tastes — and quickly discovered no portable cleaning mechanism was out there. So they created one.

The invention, InstaRinse, led them to forming their business, Liquid Integrity. The product hit an early home-run with homebrewers, but now the co-founders are eyeing another channel: distributors.

What is InstaRinse, exactly? A portable glass rinser. It squirts water into the cup, to clean any remaining liquid from the previous drink it held. It’s targeted to festivals and tastings, so the taste intended by brewers, distillers and winemakers is preserved, not complicated by residual flavors. Liquid Integrity started selling the product — now patented and trademarked — in April 2017, and has since sold more than 1,000, largely to homebrewers clubs and at competitions, but also Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., the Brewers Association and Occasion Caterers in D.C. Now the company is eyeing distribution channels — supplier Adventures in Homebrewing sells InstaRinse on its website, and Micro Matic put it in its catalogue.

Who’s behind it? Business partners Nahem Simon, Thaddus Dmuchowski and Mick Nardelli. Simon, the company’s CEO, is beer director for Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Adams Morgan. COO Dmuchowski, a veteran, has held senior positions at City Tap House and Bier Baron in the District. CFO Nardelli is a craft beer lobbyist, founder of The Nardelli Group and former co-chair of D.C. Beer Week. The three-person company runs out of Nardelli’s Southeast D.C. home.

What’s the challenge? Scaling and time. They’re looking to build out their distribution network and move away from direct sales. Nardelli said he also sees big potential in the wine industry, and he’s looking for a wine industry professional for a commission-based gig.

How is it funded? The company has raised $130,000 to date. It’s also funded from another component of the business: designing and installing draft systems throughout Greater Washington, including at The Dabney in Shaw, Suburbia in Union Market, Owen’s Ordinary in Rockville, The Sovereign in Georgetown and Homestead in Petworth. That’s yielded profits from $500,000 in gross revenue in the last two years.

What’s next? The next 18 months are critical, Nardelli said, as he tracks any sales from Micro Matic’s catalogue. In the long run, the team aims for licensing deals with the likes of Igloo or Coleman and is thinking about a consumer product, but only if it can cut the price.

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