Blog Post

Grane Bar in Omaha Installs Wineemotion Whiskey Dispensers

Last Updated: May 3, 2024
BeFunky_Grane-w-People.png-1024x545

CREDIT | LEW Bryson of Whisky Advocate

To View the Original Post at WhiskyAdvocate.com Click Here.

How do you like your whiskey? I don’t mean whether you like it neat, or watered, or in a cocktail; how do you like it socially, how do you like it served?

Grane, a new bar in Omaha, Nebraska, has a completely new way to serve whiskey: by automated machine. Grane’s founder, Daniel Matuszek, explains that the whole bar is built around the system, developed by WineEmotion, a European company that developed the technology for whiskey dispensers.

“We went to them over a year ago and told them about the growth of whiskey,” Matuszek recalls, explaining that they were looking to use the technology for whiskey instead of wine. “They resized and retrofitted the pistons that push the liquid. They used the same technologies, but remade for whiskey bottles. We got an exclusive arrangement for spirits dispensing with this for a year, global exclusivity. We’re the first and only place to use this; not Chicago, LA, or NYC, not London: Omaha.”

Grane has a “speakeasy feel,” according to Matuszek, but the whiskey dispensers are sleekly modern, hard-edged technology. A customer buys a smart card (see the video, below) and “loads” money onto it. It’s whiskey, so you probably want to load heavy. Then you take a look at what’s on offer; there are currently 35 bottles available at any one time. “We have a world whiskey machine, a bourbon machine, two Scotch whiskey machines, and a high-end machine,” Matuszek says.

You choose a whiskey, press one of three buttons (½, 1, or 1.5 ounce) above that particular spout, and the whiskey pours into your glass. It’s quick, it’s accurate, and you can see the bottle directly below the spout. It’s all customer-operated; no bartender involved. “It breaks down some of the barriers,” he says about the direct operation. “People can read about the whiskeys, and then they can try by themselves, at their own pace, their own judgment.”

You’re probably wondering the same things I was. Is there potential for the whiskey to be harmed, or changed, or contaminated? Keep in mind that the same issues for whiskey are there for wine: contamination, oxidation, and — prime importance considering the cost of whiskeys — waste. The whiskey is pushed by food-grade argon gas, with the uptake from the bottom of the bottle; the headspace fills up with argon. The spout will drip two or three drops, but cut-off is precise. There is very little to go wrong here.

“The majority of people have been hitting that half-ounce button; they want to try things,” Matuszek notes, which must not surprise anyone who knows whiskey lovers. “We don’t keep them on for months at a time. we have a barrel of Dickel 9 year old we selected, and we’ll keep that on. But we go all the way from the biggest baddest Ardbeg to Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or. We’re teaching people about Japanese whiskey, Canadian whiskey, and all that.”

Will people like getting whiskey without a bartender? (Grane’s bartenders are fully employed making cocktails, of course.) Will automated dispense catch on outside of Omaha? Will this be the next thing where people will say they can taste the difference? Would you buy auto-dispense whiskey?

To View the Grane/WineEmotion Collaboration Announcement Click Here.