What do perfume and liquor have in common?
Most people would probably say not too much—but not Reynald Vito Grattagliano of Arkay Beverages.
In 2007, while living in Panama, his son returned home one night from a club in a taxi instead of his car because his dad had told him never to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
“The first thing he told me was, ‘why don’t you make an alcohol-free whiskey’? Grattagliano recalls. “I told him I would try.”
In this interview, Grattagliano—who was a perfumer before pioneering zero-proof beverages—talks about recreating the taste and “burn” of alcohol, why Arkay went strictly direct-to-consumer back in 2011, and the trend toward “sober bars.”
CPG FYI: What’s the relationship between perfume and alcohol?
Grattagliano: When you have a perfume in your hand, it gives you the smell. But when you eat something, it gives you the flavor. Between the smell and the taste, it’s a big difference.
So I tried to work on a formula with taste and smell of whiskey, but it was missing the kick, or the burn, of alcohol. I came up with the burn by inventing a warm molecule, and created Arkay.