“Don’t drink and drive.” That hard and fast rule has been drilled into us. There are always the warnings and the legal consequences of driving drunk, along with the horror stories of those who chose to do so. But the entrepreneur behind Bacchus, Joseph Hamilton, seeks to bring prevention in the form of a bracelet that provides alcohol levels in real-time.
How? Since the body absorbs alcohol instead of digesting it, alcohol is turned into ethanol, which emits as a gas from the pores. The sensors on Bacchus (which borrows its name from the Roman god of wine and fertility) detect the gas, which informs an alcohol-level reading.
“It’s like the Fitbit of drinking,” said Hamilton, a marketing expert who has been bootstrapping the research and development of Bacchus since 2016. He said the idea came through his own hard lessons ten years ago.
“I got a DUI when I was in college. I was 21 years old,” Hamilton said. The experience opened his eyes to the sheer volume of people who are charged with a DUI every year in America.
“So that was when I started thinking, What could I have used to help me?”
While Bacchus could be used by anyone who drinks, Joseph said that his target market is working-class professionals, who have, what Hamilton describes as “everything to lose.” He pointed to a recent case of an ambulance driver who had been drinking and caused an accident (when transporting a patient).
The other key part of his target market is repeat offenders. “33% of DUIs are repeat offenders…so that is a number that we can absolutely curtail,” he explained.
Bacchus does more than just keep people up to date on how much they have had to drink. People can also download the Bacchus app, which automatically receives the info from the bracelet, and notifies them when they are over the legal limit to drive. From there, people can use the app to call a ride-share service or a friend to make it home safely.
Hamilton said that one of the largest hoops to bringing Bacchus to market is finding the funding to build the final, market-ready prototype. After bootstrapping this whole time, he said, “I think we’ve kind of come to the end of the railroad, so we’re now on a pitching spree. I’m trying to get into any and every pitch competition, any accelerators that I can find.”
Hamilton has many plans for the future of Bacchus, including partnering with court systems and defensive driving schools.