When you meet Richard Schatzberger, CEO and co-founder of ALTR, you immediately get the sense that he follows his dreams and convictions, and that becomes even more evident when you learn of the powerful story behind his most recent startup, ALTR.

Born from Richard’s dream, ALTR is a revolutionary nanotechnology that removes just the alcohol molecule from drinks. This flavor-first dealcoholization platform allows beverage makers to choose precisely how much alcohol they want in a drink without compromising the taste or experience.

ALTR has assembled a world-class team comprising the best membrane scientists, nanotechnology physicists, beverage experts, and herbalists. Together, they work from a lab space at CEI in Phoenix to make this dream a reality. 

While Richard’s personal journey required that he remove alcohol entirely from his life, ALTR’s mission recognizes that the market opportunity is far greater than abstinence. Moreover, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the low and no-alcohol drinks space. ALTR is creating a technology dial that will allow everyone to choose how much alcohol they want in a drink: a little, a lot, or none. They’ve coined the term Spectrum Drinking and seek to remove the social implications associated with drinking or, conversely, not drinking.

The timing is perfect for ALTR, as we are just beginning a significant market shift in which the no-and-low alcohol beverage industry is experiencing rapid growth. From 2021 to 2022, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis saw a 31% year-over-year increase. This growth is primarily fueled by the increased focus on health and wellness, with Generation Z and millennial consumers playing a significant role in driving the market need.

ALTR is focusing its first products on the wine industry, which faces two significant market growth issues.

  1. The movement of younger customers away from wine to other lower-alcohol options. Using ALTR’s patent-pending technology, wine brands can create new categories of wines with half and lower-ABV offerings, reigniting the industry for the next generation.
  2. Climate change is causing wines to increase in alcohol levels due to earlier production of sugar in grapes. This is a global problem for winemakers who must replant vineyards, costing them tens of millions of dollars. ALTR’s gentle, low-energy process allows winemakers to slice the top few percent of ABV off their wines, keeping all the flavor components and sensory experiences intact.

But they won’t be stopping there. Ultimately, there will be an ALTR version of every drink you love. ALTR has successfully raised a multi-million dollar pre-seed round from some of the top food and beverage VCs, including FTW Ventures, Bluestein Ventures, Joyance Partners, Rockstart, and a number of industry-leading angel investors.

Innovators like Richard help to make Arizona such a great ecosystem for startups, which is something we can all cheers to!

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