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Ice Sage Blog
A look inside the frozen beverage industry

A series of blogs and videos will that will acquaint you with the FBD family and give you insight into some of the industry’s best kept secrets for success.

The Different Types of Frozen Drink Machines & Products: Frozen Nitro Drinks

If you’ve been into a coffee shop lately, you’ve probably seen signs of the latest beverage craze; nitrogen-infusion.

“Nitro” cold brew has gone mainstream and is already one of Starbucks’ best-selling drinks. Because of this, the company plans to install nitrogen equipment in all of its US stores by 2020.

Starbucks has also been testing out another nitrogen-infused beverage that’sF also likely to go mainstream very soon; nitro tea.

It was only a matter of time until bartenders started experimenting with nitrogen, as well. Now, you can find nitrogen-infused versions of your favorite cocktails on the drink menus of bars and restaurants across the country.

What’s a Nitrogen-Infused (Nitro) Drink?

While nitrogen-infused drinks may sound new and strange, putting a gas into a beverage has been a common practice for a very long time. Sparkling water, beer, and soda are all beverages infused with carbon dioxide (CO₂).

Nitro drinks are no different, except the CO₂ has been swapped for nitrogen.

Why nitrogen instead of CO₂?

If you’re a craft beer drinker, you’re likely already familiar with nitrogen-infused alcoholic beverages. Nitrogen imparts a thick, creamy, velvety-smooth texture. Because of this, many dark beers are served with nitrogen; most notably, the world famous Guinness Stout.

nitro-drinksPhoto by Richard I'Anson

“It’s a way to make drinks smooth and buttery without adding cream or egg whites,” says James Garrido, bartender at The Rabbit Hole at Henley in Nashville. “It also adds a really cool cascading effect in the glass as the gasses are released.”

This creamy texture and cascading effect of nitrogen-infused beverages is caused by the incredibly tiny bubbles that nitrogen creates.

The result is a drink with a striking appearance, a velvety-smooth texture, and lower bitterness, reducing the need for extra sweeteners. This makes nitro drinks a great option for those who are lactose-intolerant, have strict dietary requirements, or who just want to cut down on calories.

According to Griffith, beer and cocktails aren’t the only beverages that can be enhanced with nitrogen. “Coffee, teas, and even sodas work really well with nitrogen.”

Don’t be surprised if you order a cocktail the next time you go out, and the bartender heads toward a tap instead of a cocktail shaker.

Photo by Amie Johnson

How Frozen Nitro Drinks are Made

Frozen beverages continue to be an extremely popular product among consumers. They’re also one of the easiest, most profitable products for retailers to sell. In fact, with the right frozen beverage program, you can see profit margins as high as 70%-120%.

Because of this, retailers in the restaurant, bar, movie theater, hotel, and cruise ship industries are already beginning to combine the rising popularity of nitro drinks with the high profit margins that frozen beverages offer. 

Frozen nitro drinks can be made in the same frozen carbonated beverage machines that ICEE or Slurpee drinks are made in.

In these machines, a mixture of syrup, water, and CO₂ is chilled down, often below the freezing point of water. While water alone would freeze solid quickly under such temperatures, pressure (up to 40 P.S.I.), sugar, and CO₂ all combine to prevent the mixture from becoming a solid block of ice.

When this mixture is dispensed into a cup, the pressure is released, allowing ice crystals to rapidly form and expand, giving frozen carbonated beverages their signature, fluffy, foam-like consistency and crisp texture that customers have grown to know and love.

Frozen nitro beverages are similar, except they provide a much smoother, creamier texture. To make a frozen nitro beverage, you simply add nitrogen to the machine, instead of CO₂.

With a frozen beverage machine equipped with nitrogen, not only can you provide smooth, creamy, nitro drinks in frozen form, you can also provide all the other frozen beverage flavors that customers have come to love, such as Orange Creamsicle, frozen coffee, lemonade, and tea.

Calculate the ROI of your New Frozen Beverage Machine

Get the Industry’s Most Profitable and Trusted Nitro Frozen Beverage Dispensers

FBD has the ability to apply nitrogen across all of our product platforms, and to date we have nitrogen configurations for the 372 and 774.

We are trusted by 80% of the world’s frozen beverage retailers, and our dispensers have the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry due to:

  • Minimal Training: Our dispensers are easy to operate, requiring less training than other dispensers on the market, lowering your overall labor costs.
  • Smallest Footprint: Maximize counter space with the smallest footprint in the industry.
  • Highest Proven Capacity: Ensure you have enough product during peak times with high foot traffic and consumer demand
  • Maximum Uptime: The use of a closed-sealed system in conjunction with bag- in-the-box technology (BIB) means you do not have to take your dispensers apart to clean. Your store staff can save hours of cleaning time compared to other equipment options. This allows you to provide your customers consistently high drink quality with equipment designed for maximum uptime.
  • Long Lifespan: FBD dispensers are engineered for low maintenance and longevity. FBD's built-to-order dispensers deliver high-quality frozen beverages throughout their 10-year average lifespan. That is almost 3x as long as the average open bowl system, which is what many other equipment options rely on today.

All of these features make it quick and easy to implement a profitable nitro frozen beverage program in your business.

Offer Even More Exciting Flavor Options with Multi-Flavor Dispensers

Nitrogen capability will soon also be available for our new Multi-Flavor line-up on the 372 MFLV, 771 MFLV, and 772 MFLV.

771 MFLV 372 MFLV

Our Multi-Flavor dispensers allow customers to choose 1 base flavor, and then add up to 8 additional flavors to create a completely unique drink that’s perfect for them.

These dispensers feature a simple touchscreen interface that allows customers to easily select their desired flavor combination.

At the touch of a finger, customers can instantly mix the frozen beverage and flavor of their choice, such as:

  • A frozen drink with a shot of their favorite flavor and spirit, such as Margaritas, Vodka Lemonade, Sangrias, or Whiskey & Cola
  • Frozen lemonade mixed with strawberry, mango, blueberry, or peach
  • Frozen nitro coffees with a shot of mocha, caramel, hazelnut, or french vanilla
  • Frozen tea mixed with peach, mango, strawberry, or lemonade for a new take on the classic Arnold Palmer

Multi-Flavor dispensers are ideal for locations with limited retail space and a broader target audience (such as Millennials) with constantly changing demands.

Another big advantage of our Multi-Flavor units is that they dispense beverages (including spirits) in pre-set, controlled portions, reducing waste and saving costs.

Let’s Start Building Your Frozen Nitro Product Line Today!

Whether you run a restaurant, amusement park, movie theater, hotel, bar, or cruise ship, our expert team can advise you on the best way to set up a highly-profitable, frozen nitro beverage program.

At FBD, your business becomes our business. We work hand-in-hand with you to adjust your Frozen Nitro Beverage Program to your specific capacity and footprint needs, and to shifting market demands.

With over 532 unique equipment configurations, we can completely transform the interface of our machines, whether crew-served or self-serve, to align with your marketing needs.

We provide a dedicated service team, along with field service trainers that offer 24-hour tech support, free training on equipment, and field support.

Schedule a call to have one of our experts help you:

  • Recommend the ideal products for your specific type of location
  • Identify the right equipment and customization
  • Estimate your ROI
  • Provide an operations implementation plan including labor, maintenance savings estimates.

Start Building Your Frozen Nitro Product Line Today!