You might think the words “beer cube” refer to some new exotic, angular packaging for your favorite brew. But the Beer Cube is instead a home beer making machine currently in development that aims to take all the work out of letting you recreate your favorite craft beers from around the world in the comfort of your own home.
The Beer Cube is a product in the works from Brew-IT, a Québec-based startup, which the company hopes to debut in March of next year. The device, as explained to me over the phone by co-founder David Brouillette is a modular, stackable system of cubes, measuring 13 inches by 13 inches by 13 inches.
You add a can of beer “concentrate” (roughly the size of a can of Coke) and water to the machine and Beer Cube takes care of the rest. A few days of fermentation and a notification from your smart phone later and you have five liters of your freshly made beer on tap. The Beer Cube takes care of everything from heating to chilling to sanitization and recipe maintenance.
All this beer goodness won’t come cheap. Brew-IT is aiming for this to be a luxury item with a $1,000 price tag for two cubes and a docking station, and is targeting people who want to make craft beer at home — but don’t want to bother with any of the complicated work involved.
The other part of the Beer Cube system is the cans of concentrate that goes with it. Brouillette says the company uses a patented process to extract water from the wort made by breweries to make this concentrate that does not involve standard evaporation methods.
The company’s goal is to partner with breweries so people could buy concentrates of their favorite beer from anywhere in the world for about $20 a can. Since the concentrate is non-alcoholic, it can be exported more easily.
Given the complexities involved with the creation of such a magical machine, it’s natural to be skeptical. The company is bootstrapped, only has a prototype at this point, and the actual production of homebrewing machines has befuddled others in the marketplace such as Brewbot and iGulu.
Additionally, the Beer Cube seems to offer much of the same functionality as the Hopii home brewing system that was showcased at our recent Smart Kitchen Summit.
Brouillette says that the competitive landscape is why Brew-IT is taking its time. The company had a previous homebrew device that people could pre-order, but it ran into development issues and was dropped (that product is still listed on the company’s site as available for pre-order, though Brouillette says it will be taken down soon). Brouillette says that his product differs from Hopii because Beer Cube will let you have multiple beers brewing so you never run out, and its concentrate will be more lightweight and easier to ship.
Another way the company hopes to avoid the pitfalls of its competitors is with real world access. In addition to selling cans of concentrate online, the company hopes to have them for sale in brick and mortar craft beer stores as well, so they are easier for people to access.
While Brew-IT is certainly aiming high with its product, the company still has a long way to go to prove itself. Brouillette wants to have the prototype done in time for SXSW and launch it on Kickstarter in March of next year.