Oct
19
2011

“You can’t complain when going to beer festivals is work:” An interview with Mike McAdams of drinkwel

Every Enthusiast has awakened after a particularly fun night in at least one of the following places: the backseat of a moving car that a stranger is driving, an ex-girlfriend’s bed to the sound of her screaming “you gotta get out of here! (s)he’ll be home any second!,” a corn maze. With a mouth as dry as sandpaper, the shakes setting in, and the distinct feeling of being pummeled repeatedly with the dull end of a hatchet ringing though ones’ head, a thought emerges—why hasn’t anyone come up with a cure for this yet?

Mike and Greg, drinkwel co-founders.

Mike McAdams and Greg Huang have attempted to do just that, answering our parched and desperate pleas with drinkwel, a multivitamin made just for us serious alcoholics non-problematic social drinkers. When we heard about drinkwel, we shamelessly begged for free samples and indulged in a couple serious long-weekend benders because we can’t control our compulsion to drink to field-test this supposed hangover cure. Taken as directed (before and after boozing), the little vitamin supplements did wonders for our next-morning condition. Apparently, “healthy drinker” doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Convinced, we asked Mike to put the bottle of Jack down long enough (kidding! It was a pint glass of beer) to talk with us about inventing a vitamin for drinkers, hangover prevention, and life as an entrepreneur. Here’s what he had to say:

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The Alcohol Enthusiast: What were you doing before drinkwel? Besides boozing, of course.

Mike McAdams, drinkwel: Working for a real estate investment firm as a project manager. Boozing, too, but I didn’t quit that.

TAE: When did you first come up with the idea for drinkwel? We’re guessing: Coming-to at the end of week-long bender, head pounding, mouth parched. Nausea. Confusion. One thought pierces through the fog in your head: Why hasn’t someone invented a cure for this yet?

MM: Personally, I grew up in an ULTRA healthy family. We’re talking organic baby food before organic was a thing. In college, I drank a lot and wasn’t exactly the picture of health I wanted to be—think drunk late-night Top Dog—so I started researching ways to help out. What I ended up with was a closet full of different vitamins, which I wasn’t afraid to pass out to friends when I knew we were getting crazy. Eventually, Greg, the brains of the operation, suggested we put it all together and start a company. Done and done.

TAE: How did you actually develop the drinkwel multivitamin? What did the process entail—lots of field-testing on yourselves?

MM: I personally “field-tested” and researched a lot of the individual ingredients and had an idea of what I liked and what I thought worked. Greg and I put together an initial formula through our own research and then hired a couple different experts along the way to help make sure our formula was as great as possible. The second expert we hired worked for a major vitamin company formulating products and really understood the synergy of the different ingredients, which I would say is something that was beyond our expertise.

TAE: What has it been like founding the drinkwel company? What’d you have to do to get off the ground?

MM: I’m kind of terrible at being told what to do, so running a company was definitely the right path for me. It’s a lot harder than working a job that is just laid out for you, but also a lot more satisfying. Whatever you put in, you get out. You also can’t really complain when going to beer festivals is “work.”

To get started, Greg and I just started sending samples and product to anyone willing to try it out—bloggers, review sites, friends, whoever. We started small and hoped it would spread. Hard work and a bit of luck is all you need!

TAE: How’s business?

MM: Business is better than we ever imagined. We have a really strong/loyal/awesome customer base. Once you learn to drink with drinkwel, it’s hard to go back.

TAE: You’re advocates of healthy drinking. What other tips can you give us for staying healthy while still knocking back (more than) a few on the regular?

MM: While drinking, a glass of water with a lemon in between drinks really is a great move. You end up saving cash and feeling better the next day. In general, I’m a big fan of staying active and eating healthy. Make sure and get your heart rate up at least 3 days a week and eat tons of green vegetables. If you’re gonna play hard, you have to work hard, too.

TAE: What about any secret combos for combating serious hangovers? We’re big fans of adding a little coconut water and caffeine into the drinkwel mix. Are there any other drinkwel-helpers you’ve heard about?

MM: My go-to meal the next day is a banana, coconut water and eggs. The banana and coconut water have electrolytes to help rehydrate; eggs have cysteine that helps break down alcohol toxins. A lot of people like to go greasy, but that’s just a myth. I’ve heard rumors of med students and EMTs using IV saline solutions the day after with great effectiveness…

TAE: What’s your go-to bar order?

MM: I’m a big beer guy, so if there’s a good IPA, I usually like to start out with that. If I’m feeling boozy, maybe some Jack or Jameson on the rocks. My favorite “healthy” drink to make is a screwdriver twist, which is 1.5 part vodka, 4 parts fresh-squeezed orange juice, and 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice.

TAE: What’s next for you guys? (Fingers crossed you’ve discovered a formula for booze that actually hydrates you as you drink. Hello adult sports drink!)

MM: Funny you say that because they actually make electrolyte-infused spirits now! They’re a bunch of BS in terms of effectiveness, but I applaud the ambition. We’ve developed a fun little drinking kit called the Life of the Party Kit that we’ll be releasing in November for the holidays. It’s a great secret Santa-type gift. “Keep the ‘life’ in life of the party.” Tons of great cheesy tag lines to be had… We’ll of course keep fellow Enthusiasts in the loop.

(And because our society can lack common sense, please make sure everyone understands this information is not intended as medical advice and is for entertainment purposes only. If they have any questions, they should consult their medical professional.)

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