Forge clear ice

Forge clear ice DEFAULT

FirstBuild's Forge Clear Ice System up close The FirstBuild Forge clear ice maker is even more impressive in person.

Enlarge Image

I'm a snob about ice, especially the kind you put in a drink. Crystal clear ice has a particular hold over me. It looks absolutely stunning, but more importantly, it melts slowly, and doesn't dilute your drink aggressively or add extra flavors. It's the perfect complement to a pricey pour of bourbon. 

Also read: LG's new killer fridge feature: Clear ice for cocktails

When Louisville-based microfactory FirstBuild announced plans for a fancy clear ice machine, you can understand my excitement. Then FirstBuild offered me a chance to see the $1,499 Forge Clear Ice System in action. Of course, I jumped on it.

As hard as clear ice

It might be easy to assume that making clear ice is simple, but it's actually a difficult task, especially for an appliance. Most mechanical ice makers, whether inside refrigerators or stand-alone machines, favor speed over quality.  

Freezing clear ice though takes time, typically 12 to 24 hours at least. FirstBuild claims the Forge can pull it off in just 4 hours. The Forge makes not one, but two large, square blocks in that period. FirstBuild also says there's room in the machine to store six of those ice blocks, where it keeps the ice cold, but yet not so cold that it becomes untempered.

Ice at very low temperatures often cracks when it comes into contact with warmer liquids. The outside surface of tempered ice is closer to room temperature. That means less potential for thermal shock, and unsightly cracks forming in your transparent ice.

Half the action    

I saw a prototype of the Forge firsthand when I went to visit FirstBuild. Unfortunately, the company was only willing to demonstrate part of the Forge system, its sphere ice press. The main unit that freezes and stores blocks of ice is still under wraps. FirstBuild engineers told me that while the freezing and storage unit is a fully functional prototype right now, it isn't exactly pretty. They'd rather wait until that component is closer to production.

Regardless, the ice press is a slick machine in its own right. Unlike the Japanese ice presses it's inspired by, the Forge's press is heated electrically. Those other models ask you to provide heat in the form of hot water. The Forge doesn't require that extra step. You just place your ice block in the press and it takes care of the rest. Two minutes later, the press creates a perfect sphere of clear ice. Melted water runs off into a collection tray below.

To drive home the idea that the Forge is a luxury appliance, FirstBuild will bundle the machine with a few accessories. One is a set of steel ice tongs. More like calipers, the tongs have a sharp point to allow users to grab onto ice securely. They're also spring-loaded and have wooden grips, giving the tool an old-timey aesthetic.

Enlarge Image
FirstBuild Forge up close

 Another twist is an ice stamping tool with an engraved steel tip. With it you'll be able to brand ice spheres with personalized logos, monogrammed initials, or other custom designs.

Forging into the future

Even though I only saw a limited sneak peek of the $1,499 Forge, I came away impressed. At that price, the Forge is a niche product to be sure, and it should offer features no home ice maker can match. Compared to premium clear ice machines from Scotsman and True, the Forge is slightly more affordable.

That said, the Forge won't be able to keep up with the quantity of ice you get from those larger products, which make up to 30 pounds of clear ice per day. FirstBuild envisions the Forge as a countertop home bar accessory, rather than a product meant to serve ice to large gatherings. Still, it's a significant leap in price over FirstBuild's other novelty ice maker, the reasonably priced $300 Opal Nugget Ice.

Watch this: Opal Nugget Ice makes pounds of crunchy pellets in hours

If the Forge works as advertised, it will surely find a small market among the cocktail diehards at the time it's supposed to ship (November, 2019) . It also feels like the exact kind of innovative, small-batch product FirstBuild was conceived to produce. 


Luxury $1,500 Ice Maker Promises Perfectly Clear Spheres

Looking for that perfectly clear, spherical ice ball for your whiskey and want to blow a wad of cash on it in the process? A new ice machine has you covered.

FirstBuild, a co-creation community backed by GE Appliances, has launched the Forge Clear Ice System, which is now available in a online. The expected suggested retail price is a steep $1,499, but early funders can receive varying discounts using the code FORGE for up to $500 off. 

The bar-top ice maker promises to provide drinkers with a perfect sphere of ice to help enjoy their favorite spirit. 

“Our engineers have worked alongside whiskey experts and enthusiasts to create both an innovative way to make clear ice at home and an experience that creates a wow every time,” FirstBuild Executive Director Larry Portaro said.

The machines promise to make ice “free from impurities and trapped air that typically cloud ice.” The large spherical ice also promises to melt slowly, “allowing the flavor to blossom.”

The Forge system has two components and operates on its own, independent of a freezer. A clear ice maker creates large “gem-shaped clear ice” in hours and holds them at temperature. A heated press, which claims to be the first with integrated heaters, then can shape the gems into the large spheres in approximately a minute. (Note: You can get the ice maker without the heated press or tongs for a mere $900, but why would you?)

Spirits author and editor-in-chief of Bourbon Plus magazine Fred Minnick has signed on to be a spokesperson for the ice maker as well.

“We’re living in the golden age of distilled spirits, and even if you’ve been enjoying these wonderful spirits near your whole life, clear ice is a game changer,” Minnick said. “If you’ve read my books, you know I wouldn’t ordinarily recommend putting ice in your whiskey. But there’s a reason why Forge is the first product I’ve endorsed.”

If you want the system any time soon, you’re going to have to wait a bit — the Forge Clear Ice System expects to begin shipping in 2020, so hopefully, whiskey lovers can live with cloudy, imperfect ice or the lengthy current clear ice process for the time being. There have been other spherical ice systems to hit the market, like Wintersmiths Ice Baller.

FirstBuild is also the creator of Opal Nugget Ice Maker, another bar-top machine which creates “chewable, crunchable, flavor-saving ice” in nugget form, for a retail price of $500 (a mere pittance compared to the new product). The FirstBuild community has more than 30,000 members and the crowdfunding campaign already has collected more than 250% of its goal.

Editors' Recommendations

  1. Chromebook battery reset
  2. Subaru dealership lakewood
  3. Lorena herrera

The Forge Clear Ice System does one thing, and it does it well – it creates crystal-clear ice spheres – the kind that had previously been the exclusive domain of high-end cocktail bars and intensely committed hobbyists. Combining a self-contained, countertop clear ice maker with the world’s-first heated clear ice “press”, it can quickly, repeatedly, and consistently make clear ice spheres to enhance spirits and beverages.

Working in deep collaboration with FirstBuild, we helped them triple their launch goal and prove the market for this unique product. The Forge Clear Ice System began shipping to homes in Summer 2020.

How We Did It

The Forge is a unique product with a unique audience. But for us, it wasn’t a unique challenge. Our user-focused strategy process helped us to find and understand our audience, their needs, desires, and motivations – and then craft a brand that spoke directly to those things.

Working in collaboration with FirstBuild, we developed and executed a product launch strategy and marketing plan that culminated with a hugely successful launch in June 2019, 300% of FirstBuild’s goal was reached.

Gallery Image  0Gallery Image  1

Bringing Forge to Life

The Forge is a luxury item, and as such required a level of refinement and quality in its brand, voice, and visuals more than any other prior FirstBuild product.

To achieve this, we put an intense focus on the following:

  • A very particular voice and tone
  • Exquisite photography
  • Close attention to our growing audience

Product & Lifestyle Photography

A luxury product requires luxurious photography. We partnered with Kriech-Higdon Photography to plan, style, execute, and shoot the best product photography FirstBuild has had to date. The results were “crystal clear” as they say.

Gallery Image  0Gallery Image  1

Hype Video

Because the Forge is a one-of-a-kind appliance, a video showing how it worked was vital to the fundraising phase. The high-end product needed a high-end environment. We partnered with Bellwether Collective to create a video showing the Forge in action in its natural habitat. Having Fred Minnick, author and bourbon curator and taster, as the spokesperson for Forge was a game-changer. Minnick’s partnership gave The Forge Clear Ice System the credibility its audience was looking for.

Social Media & Audience Nurturing

The experience for Forge fans has to be high-quality from start to finish, and has to look and feel exclusive. To help achieve this, we developed a “Forge Insiders” content calendar that provided insights, alerts, and exclusive content about Forge via email. Using Mailchimp we regularly wrote, designed, and deployed email campaigns to thousands of Forge fans in our growing pre-launch audience.


Landing Page Development

A deep understanding of our audiences, a strong brand, and our commitment to user-focused design and development all culminated in a thoughtfully-designed, conversion-driven landing page experience that produced results and satisfied the consumer.

Because the audience we were trying to reach was most likely not using traditional crowdfunding websites like Indiegogo, and to give FirstBuild a greater degree of control, a custom platform was created to live within the FirstBuild website. The crowdfunding platform was a huge success and can be used for future FirstBuild products.

In-depth reporting and analysis

Measurable goals and clear metrics for success are requirements for any project at VIA Studio, and Forge was no different. With clear goals, well-defined metrics, and a solid marketing plan to start from, we iterated and reported week-to-week to find our audience and achieve our goals, while spending money wisely.

Our deep knowledge of Google Data Studio, combined with in-house integrations for Facebook, Google Ads, and other ad platforms allows us to create custom dashboards that visualize our progress, and help our partners make informed decisions.

Making Stunningly Clear Ice, the Easy Way (w/ Cocktail Chemistry)

GE-backed startup brings crystal-clear ice to fans of bourbon and other spirits

Ice is a bit of a tricky business. While most people just fill an ice cube tray with tap water, it seems a bit of a shame to contaminate fine spirits with a less-than-pure chunk of frozen water that inevitably contains impurities at worst and trapped air at best.

For the rest of us, a new GE Appliances-backed startup called FirstBuild has just launched a groovy new gizmo called the Forge Clear Ice System via its own crowdfunding platform. The Forge system has a simple purpose — the delivery of perfectly clear ice. Yes, there’s a pretty specific target market for this thing. If you’re happy with the super-complicated new Coke machine at your local fast-food restaurant, go forth and live a happy life. But if you’re a connoisseur of really great bourbons, whiskeys, tequilas and other spirits, read on.

Clear ice isn’t a new innovation. Bartenders have been messing around with it for decades, although it tended to come in 300-pound blocks until about 20 years ago when an NYC bar called Weather Up started playing around with ice that didn’t take a week to make. That’s where FirstBuild’s creation, the Forge Clear Ice System, comes in. Even modern methods of clear ice creation take up to a day. FirstBuild’s new gem can make clear ice between lunch and happy hour. It’s expected to run about $1,500 when it hits the retail market, but the company is offering pretty significant discounts to early adopters on its crowdfunding site. I’m also told that you can get the discount during this funding stage using the discount code “FORGE,” for what it’s worth.

“Our engineers have worked alongside whiskey experts and enthusiasts to create both an innovative way to make clear ice at home, and an experience that creates a wow every time,” said Larry Portaro, executive director of FirstBuild, in a release.

Keep in mind, this is nothing like an ice tray. This is an actual kitchen appliance that’s going to require some counter space. The two-component system includes a self-contained ice maker that produces clear gems of ice — no freezer space or plumbing required. Secondly, the Forge device serves as an ice press, complete with integrated heaters.

How’s that work? Basically, the ice maker makes ice cubes and keeps them frozen. The aforementioned heaters shape the cubes into crystal-like spheres in a minute or so, with no preheating or recovery time.

According to FirstBuild, Fred Minnick, spirits author, historian and editor-in-chief of Bourbon Plus, has signed on as spokesman for Forge.

“We’re living in the golden age of distilled spirits, and even if you’ve been enjoying these wonderful spirits near your whole life, clear ice is a game-changer,” Minnick said. “If you’ve read my books, you know I wouldn’t ordinarily recommend putting ice in your whiskey. But there’s a reason why Forge is the first product I’ve endorsed.”

Editors' Recommendations


Ice forge clear

This GE-Backed Ice Maker Creates Crystal Clear Spheres for Your Home Bar

GE Appliances might be a go-to name for things like refrigerators or microwaves. But now, through its FirstBuild appliance incubator, the household brand is hoping to help with something a little more opulent than cleaning dishes: making perfectly clear ice spheres for your next glass of bourbon.

Today, FirstBuild has launched the funding phase for its Forge Clear Ice System — billed as an at-home icemaker “unlike any appliance available today.” Though the brand admits that clear ice “is the gold standard for connoisseurs of fine bourbon, whiskey and other spirits,” FirstBuild suggests that the Forge system is “revolutionizing the way clear ice is made” thanks in part to its “world’s first heated ice press.”

Though the Forge system helpfully doesn’t require any outside freezer, making its large ice spheres is a two-step process: The countertop ice maker produces “large blocks of gem-shaped ice” in about four hours (apparently faster than most other systems) and can store eight of these gems at a time. From there, when your next pour of whiskey calls, you slip one of the gems into the heated press which transforms it into a sphere “in about a minute, with virtually no pre-heat or recovery time.” Then, of course, the system comes with “precision crafted ice tongs” to transport your “glass-like ice sphere” into your actually-glass whiskey glass — and when your drinking whiskey, you definitely need the most precision tongs available.

“Our engineers have worked alongside whiskey experts and enthusiasts to create both an innovative way to make clear ice at home, and an experience that creates a wow every time,” Larry Portaro, executive director of FirstBuild, said in the announcement.

As an added flourish, FirstBuild is also offering a “custom ice brand” for an additional price. This add-on will allow you to quickly monogram your ice with your initials — because telling your friends to wait while you whip up awesome ice balls isn’t quite impressive enough. (You can also get a completely custom-designed press made that will turn your ice into any shape, but with a price tag of around $5,000, we’re kind of moving out of the “at-home” realm and into a more commercial application.)

As you probably now expect, the Forge Clear Ice System isn’t cheap. Though you can order the ice maker and the press separately, the whole package has an expected retail price of $1,499. However, since FirstBuild is going the “crowdfunding” route, you can preorder in the next 30 days for $1,199 with an expected delivery date of May 2020. Or if you order today — June 19, 2019 — GE Appliances is also offering an exclusive code to lock in the entire system for $999. Simply enter the code “FORGE” during checkout.

Advanced Techniques - How To Make Clear Ice


You will also like:


2165 2166 2167 2168 2169