Vapshot, the maker of a new system that can produce vaporized alcohol shots, is causing quite a buzz in bars and clubs with its new technology. For the first time in history, people are throwing back shots of vapor, not liquid, down their throats to consume their favorite alcoholic drinks, and the benefits are potentially game-changing:
- It has 1/60th of the calories of a normal shot.
- It provides an instant, long-lasting buzz.
- It might be safer to consume–i.e. less of the negative effects caused by liquid alcohol, fewer cases of drunk driving. Though the company is quick to point out that any form of alcohol consumption can be dangerous if it is abused and not handled responsibly. (More on the safety factor in a moment.)
- It retains the same flavor of the drink that has been vaporized.
Vapshot is only a few years old, founded in 2014. And the man behind it, and story of how the company started, is just as interesting as the product itself.
The Futurist DJ Behind Vapshot
Before he decided to change the way humanity has consumed alcohol since the dawn of civilization, Victor Wong, the Founder and CEO of Vapshot, had already accomplished much.
And all of it began with his unique combination of music and science.
Born in Hong Kong, Wong traveled to the United States when he was seven to live with his aunt and uncle in Los Angeles. As a first grader, he was placed in fourth-grade math, and his skills on the violin eventually landed him in the all-city orchestra as a second grader.
Yes, for Wong, the golden Los Angeles hills were “alive with the sound of music,” to quote Julie Andrews. But for Wong, the hills were also alive with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). The worlds of creativity and science filled his life and fed off each other from an early age.
After his parents had immigrated from Hong Kong to Texas, Wong joined them and attended high school in Houston, where he explored drumming. He became the captain of his school’s drum corp and played first chair in the orchestra and jazz band, all while producing prize-winning science fair entries, including a CO2 laser and a computer software program that mimicked a teacher instructing students.
Wong then studied economics at the University of Texas at Austin and fulfilled his dream, many times over, of starting his own company. Since 1997, he has started many companies, including:
- a computer company that made Mac OS-compatible computers, one of only a few in the world authorized by Apple to do so
- a software company whose program was eventually used at the LBJ presidential library and promoted by Apple
- a company that creates computer enhanced musical instruments, many of which have been used and promoted by top artists and producers such as Timbaland
Oh, and he’s a world-class DJ too.
All of it conjures up scenes from futuristic Hollywood films like “Blade Runner,” “Minority Report,” “Matrix,” or “Tron: Legacy” in which the film’s hero enters a futuristic dance club where DJs with space helmets (a la Daft Punk) blast mind-bending tech beats as clubbers consume exotic space drinks that overflow with glowing vapor.
Wong easily fits the profile of those sci-fi club scenes: a futurist DJ who invents his own musical instruments and serves club-goers vaporized drinks that pour into their mouths like plumes of otherworldly mist.
It was out of that forward-thinking, tech-obsessed, beat-dropping brain that the company Vapshot was born on a fateful weekend.
The Weekend of Experimentation That Changed Alcohol Consumption Forever
It began when Wong noticed e-cigarettes and vaping. The trend fascinated him, especially its claims of being safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. “As I do not smoke,” Wong explained to TechDigg, “[vaping] really didn’t apply to me, but I started to think about other things that could benefit from this technology and thought spirits might be a good thing to try.”
Surprisingly, Wong struck gold on his first try. It only took one weekend of experimenting to come up with his first shot of vaporized alcohol, as Wong explained: “On one weekend I had some extra time, as I was not DJ’ing downtown, so I designed and made the first crude prototype. After I got it working, I invited some friends over to try it and they thought it was great. The alcohol tasted much better and smoother.”
Wong finished that first prototype in a day, but it took about two months to design and create his first display model, just in time for the 2014 Nightclub & Bar (NCB) show in Las Vegas. Since that time, Vapshot has continued to refine its product, and they are now on their sixth generation version.Wong’s Mission to Make Alcohol Consumption Safer
Besides simply seeing if he could pull off the vaporization of alcohol and create an innovative way to enjoy adult beverages, Wong was always attracted to the idea of safer alcohol consumption. “We want to provide fun, innovative and potentially safer ways of enjoying spirits,” said Wong.
The company has gone to some impressive lengths to study the potential health and safety benefits of its vaporized product: “We did a considerable amount of testing to be sure we fell within published safety limits for inhaling,” explained Wong. “We also conducted testing to show how Vapshots can help someone control their intake and level of intoxication.”
From their page about the product’s potential safety benefits–which is extensive and worth reading in full–here are a few highlights:
- A Department of Transportation (DOT) certified testing service administered a test with a male subject who consumed two 1L bottles of Vapshot containing 190 proof alcohol (the highest proof available in most states). At the 1 minute mark, using a breathalyzer, the subject’s alcohol level was measured at 0.062. After 30 minutes, his alcohol level was 0.00.
- A similar test was conducted with a female subject. She consumed a single 1L bottle of vaporized alcohol with 190 proof alcohol. At the 1 minute mark, her alcohol level was 0.050. After 30 minutes, like the male subject, it was 0.00.
- According to the company’s site, when a person has a breathalyzer reading of 0.050, the vaporized alcohol quickly breaks down to a 0.00 level 15 minutes after consumption. In contrast, liquid alcohol takes approximately 3.5 hours to break down.
- With a reading of 0.09, the vaporized alcohol breaks down to a 0.00 level 25 minutes after consumption. Liquid alcohol takes approximately 6 hours to break down.
And this summary from their “Precision vs. Quantity” section shows just how brilliant the product is:
A Vapshot is designed to put just the right amount of alcohol into your system to give you the desired effects of an alcohol buzz.
Drinking is a way to achieve the same result but using a comparatively more massive amount of alcohol that requires your body to use its organs to buffer the excess alcohol or other mechanisms like throwing up to expel it.
Why would you soak your entire body in alcohol to catch a buzz when a small, precise amount will do the same?
In short, Vapshot allows you to continuously enjoy the buzz of alcohol without binge drinking yourself into oblivion.
Though, again, the company is quick to point out that any form of alcohol consumption can be dangerous if it is abused and not handled responsibly.
What’s Next for Vapshot?
Of course, many people love the tactile experience of liquid. Others, quite frankly, enjoy drinking themselves into oblivion.
Wong is not unrealistic, in other words.
He knows his product will never replace liquid alcohol: “I don’t think drinking is going to go away, but we think our products will enhance the experience and provide something new to enjoy along with traditional drinking.”
While it may not replace traditional drinking, this unique version of vaporized alcohol does something remarkable: it gives humanity a new way to enjoy alcohol. For scholars who study the history of adult beverages–and, yes, colleges actually teach courses on this–Wong’s company might someday show up in textbooks as a notable historical marker.
In other words, humanity hasn’t experienced alcohol in this way–at least, not in the ultra-precise form of vaporized shots that Wong’s company has conjured.
It’s no wonder then that, when asked about the future of the company, Wong is very optimistic: “As for company goals, it really has a life of its own. So far the company has done really well, so anything is possible.”