By Jessica Saia
It was only a few years ago that the idea of a juice cleanse would have seemed extreme. But now, San Francisco alone has more than 40 shops specializing in fresh juice and many with their own cleanse programs. Yet one demographic has been underserved until now: meat lovers.
Enter Dylan Denicke and Ian Marks, co-owners of Beast and the Hare, a meat-centric restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Taking note of the rising popularity of juice cleanses, they got to work creating their own version for carnivores: the Au Jus Cleanse.
Au jus, French for “with its own juice,” is the juice that meat produces when it’s cooked, made famous by the French dip sandwich. The program consists of forgoing solid food and drinking six bottles of au jus a day, for 10 days.
“Juice cleanses are so hot right now,” says Dylan, “but every program I looked into seemed to be catering to vegetarians. I just couldn’t imagine not eating meat for a week, you know? And I knew a lot of people who felt the same way.”
“You hear a lot about ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation’ in this town,” Ian added, thoughtfully, “and yet this whole group of people has just been ignored. We couldn’t wait around for someone else to start bottling meat juice and telling people to drink it for a week and a half straight, so we did it ourselves. Plus, ‘jus’ just sounds a lot like ‘juice’; if realizing that makes me an innovator, so be it.”
The cleanse consists of six bottles of au jus that is consumed about every two hours including a thicker, more concentrated “elixir” that is enjoyed immediately after waking up. “‘Refreshing’ isn’t exactly the word I’d use,” explains Kate Leary, who just completed her second au jus cleanse this past Sunday. “There’s just nothing like waking up to a big bottle of savory, lukewarm au jus first thing in the morning. I’ve tried other juice cleanses in the past and they were fine, but what this cleanse lacks in vitamins, it makes up for in sodium. I’m able to knock back about 900% of my daily sodium before noon, and every bottle after that is just a bonus. Do you know how much sodium is in your typical fruits-and-veggies bottle of juice? Hardly any, and that concerned me.”
The cleanse has other benefits, too. “Oh, it’s done wonders for my energy level,” said Kate. “You do feel pretty sluggish around day three, but then you start experiencing these amazing, frantic bursts of energy every 20 minutes in a mad rush to find a bathroom. Truly, this cleanse makes solid BMs a thing of the past.”
The Au Jus Cleanse starts at $249 for the 10-day program, and $449 for the “advanced” 15-day raw cleanse. “At first I thought the raw version would be unpopular,” said Ian. “It’s literally just the juice that collects under raw meat. But raw diets are such a thing now, you know? I woke up one day and thought ‘hey, if that’s what people want, I’ve got a funnel.’ Crazy to think how many years I spent just throwing that juice away.”
For the past few months, Dylan and Ian have relied on word of mouth from satisfied customers, but are considering a small marketing campaign as things take off. “Picture this,” says Dylan, excitedly, “a Facebook campaign with a photo of all these bottles of green juices, and then in big letters underneath it says, Where’s the beef? Ian came up with that, and it’s such a great slogan! So catchy and really makes you think. I can’t believe no one’s ever used it before.”