There have been some recent reports going around the blogosphere about MeatWater, a new beverage that resembles VitaminWater but is flavored to mirror one’s favorite porcine and bovine dishes (i.e., Dirty Hot Dog Water, Wiener Schnitzel Water, Tandoori Chicken Water). What a zeitgeisty product, no? After all, bacon soda recently came to market and all things meat-related grab headlines. But seriously, food writers! Have you not been to MeatWater’s website and realized that it wasn’t an actual beverage product but a piece of performance art? AOL, how dense are you to believe that it is a real beverage company? Still, we had to learn more, so we got in touch with founder Till Krautkrämer. Guess what? MeatWater is even more awesome than we’d originally thought!
When asked if he would first clarify if his beverages as performance art or exclusively a comestible, Krautkrämer replied, “MeatWater is ‘The King of Newtraceuticals.’ It is the essence of nutrition, and the memory of dining without the hassle of eating. I see it as a comestible work of art, a ready made artificial beverage like no other before.”
Genius! This is McLuhan at his best — it’s the medium, people, not the message. MeatWater is brilliant because it makes consumers and the new-obsessed food media examine the kind of consumer culture they’re creating — not because it has anything to do with wacky food flavorings. Indeed, Krautkrämer divulges why he created the product: “The impetus is consumerism and the concept of ‘time saving.’ Many new products make a selling point of how much time can be saved if only you buy some new thing. Cars, computers and other gadgets claim to free you from the drudgery of labor. But life is not about sitting back and pressing buttons, it’s about getting involved.”
Krautkrämer notes that he created the company along with Brian Kane to raise awareness and to promote responsible global citizenship. He wanted to “create an artificial beverage like no other before, establishing an unparalleled closeness to our privileged consumers by inspiring them to demand their personal favorite flavors, to get involved by participating in the flavor contest on our website, enabling Liquid Innovations R&D to be swift to react to local demands and respond faster than any other brand, and be able to give back to the community.”
So then the product is real, no? The next logical question one might ask is, How do I get my hands on some MeatWater? (Of course, if you’re still asking questions like that, you don’t understand the point of the product.) And surely, when we asked Krautkrämer for a sample, he replied, “Every person is special to us. We are not so much interested in ‘samplers,’ whom we see as slightly opportunistic. Those interested in consuming it, without reservations, can drop by at one of our events.” Fair enough — this makes sense, given the participatory nature of the product. Unfortunately, there aren’t any “events” scheduled for the near future in New York City, but Krautkrämer notes that Kane will be exhibiting at MASS MoCA in April and events are scheduled in Cologne, Germany, in the fall. So, dear consumers, you’ll just have to wait to sample the German Sauerbraten flavor of MeatWater — Krautkrämer’s personal favorite.
“Nowadays, people search for more effective, more efficient ways to perform even the simplest tasks — especially eating! Protein shakes, energy drinks, and Powerbars are all ways people seek to get nutrients without really eating. Then on the other hand TV channels are filled with cooking shows aimed at an audience with a selective palate and time to burn watching someone prepare a meal in a slow cooker,” said Krautkrämer when asked his thoughts on the culinary climate in which we live. Paradoxical, indeed. But that’s exactly the point. You could say the same about MeatWater.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 27, 2011