I was sure it would get funded (and it did)–there’s a huge opportunity for an all-in-one countertop beer-making appliance that takes the hassle out of homebrewing. But BEERMKR isn’t the first company to promise such a device and ask people to fund it. PicoBrew‘s success aside, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are littered with the remains of Brewbot, iGulu and HOPii, all of whom promised easy home brewing, all of whom collected big money from everyday people, none of whom made it to market.
But after talking with Walls, I think BEERMKR might actually be different. It might actually, dare I say it, become an actual product you can pay actual money for and actually use.
Like those before it, BEERMKR is a device that promises to take all the work out of home brewing. There’s a countertop appliance that is both a brewer and fermenter, a separate dispenser and a mobile app that provides recipes and sends you notifications throughout the brew process. From a press release announcing that BEERMKR hit its Kickstarter goal, the process seems pretty straightforward:
How it Works in Five Easy Steps:
- Add the grain and hops from the MKRKIT into the ingredient bin and start the brew on the BEERMKR app.
- When brewing is complete, remove grain and hops from ingredient bin and add yeast.
- Start fermentation via the BEERMKR app and ferment the wort into beer.
- Once complete, transfer the finished beer to the BEERTAP dispenser and then screw inthe CO2 cartridge to carbonate.
- Serve and enjoy.
There are a few things that make BEERMKR stand out from existing homebrew systems like the Pico. First, BEERMKR is totally open. You can buy pre-made brew kits with ingredients from BrewJacket, customize those kits with your own ingredients (think: raspberries from your garden or whiskey-soaked oak chips) if you want, or just build your own recipe from the ground up. This is different from the Pico, which still makes you buy Pico Packs (at least for now) and doesn’t allow for as much experimentation.
BEERMKR also uses a “brew pouch” system. These are single-use, recyclable bags that contain the beer during the brewing and fermenting process. Once the beer is ready, simply take the pouch out of the brewer and hook it up in the dispenser. Oxygen never touches the beer and there’s no need to clean and sterilize buckets and hoses. Want to brew another batch? Pull out another pouch.
The BEERMKR itself costs $329 for early backers (it goes up to $379 if you wait too long), and each brew kit costs $12 and will produce the equivalent of a 12 pack of beer. The BEERMKR app guides you through each recipe with notifications on things like when to add yeast, and how long to ferment, etc., and keeps track of what ingredients you’ve added if you’re building your own recipe.
So why am I more bullish on BEERMKR than its predecessors?
Mainly because the people behind BEERMKR have a track record. BrewJacket is a real company that’s been around for five years and has already produced — and shipped — beer brewing products like the BrewJacket Immersion Pro fermentation temperature control system.
Assuming they can replicate their previous fulfillment success, what’s even more exciting about BEERMKR is that its open approach actually makes me want to brew my own beer, and I hate beer. The idea of adding tea or chocolate or Twizzlers or whatever to a beer sounds fun.
The company is showing off the BEERMKR in action at the Great American Beer Festival in Boulder, CO this weekend and says it will ship units to backers in March of 2019.