If at first you don’t succeed, run another crowdfunding campaign.
That’s exactly what the people behind home beer brewing system BrewArt have done. After an aborted campaign in March in which they only raised just under $3 thousand after three weeks, the BrewArt is already in the money after hitting their $30 thousand goal in just one week.
Of course, it’s not like there was ever any doubt the system would make it to market in the US. That’s because BrewArt -- which has been available in Australia since 2016 -- is from that country’s largest brewer, Coopers, a company responsible for roughly 70 million liters of beer annually.
Chances are if you’ve heard of Coopers in the US, it’s because the company is a force in DIY home extract brewing. The company created its extraction process in the early 80s and has been selling DIY brewing kits ever since. The company also acquired their biggest DIY extract competitor, Mr. Beer, back in 2012.
And, just like Cooper’s own DIY kits, the BrewArt system utilizes extract ingredients in making a brew. Only unlike Cooper’s syrupy looking extract, each brew made with the BrewArt brewing system utilizes a series of packets of powder-based ingredients called Elements and Enhancers, as well as packet each of yeast and hop oils.
The video below walks through how the BrewArt ingredients are added to a brew.
Unlike whole grain brewing systems such as those from PicoBrew and Brewie, BrewArt’s powders simplify beer brewing by allowing the home brewer to skip the mashing process. While some home brew purists prefer whole grain brewing since it puts them at the same starting point as most craft breweries which use raw ingredients, the truth is that there are some breweries that make very good beer using extracts. Add in the extra convenience and time-saving benefits of extract brewing, and you can see why it has its converts.
BrewArt convenience also goes beyond a simplified brewing process. The system streamlines the cleanup process with disposable linings for the store kegs, something I find appealing since cleaning out the serving kegs is the least enjoyable part of using my PicoBrew. The BrewArt disposable linings mean I wouldn’t have to mess with home detergents or going to your local homebrew store to pick up keg cleaner.
Another difference between the BrewArt system and other automated home brew systems is it comes in two full parts: The BeerDroid, which is the beer brewing component, and the BrewFlo, a refrigerated kegging system that houses the Store Kegs (where the beer is fermented and stored).
The full retail price of the BrewArt system will be almost $1,700, but Kickstarter backers can save 40% and get the full system for $995. If that’s too much or you prefer to use your kegerator, you can pick up the BeerDroid by itself on Kickstarter for $495.
And much like PicoBrew Pico users need to buy brew ingredients in the form of PicoPaks, BrewArt backers need to buy the BrewPrints ingredient packs when they want to brew up a new keg of beer. However, the BrewArt allows the user to mix and match their ingredients to change flavors such as making beers extra hoppy or more fruity*.
Bottom line, there are definite advantages to the BrewArt in a simplified brewing and cleanup process, as well as slightly more control over brew ingredients than competing systems like the Brewie. However, the retail price is still fairly high compared to the PicoBrew Pico C, which will sell for $549 this fall, and some purists may shy away from the BrewArt because they want to brew from whole grains.
*The PicoBrew PicoPaks do allow for customization, but that’s done online through the company’s online PicoPak customization tool, the BrewCrafter. Once you design your customized PicoPak, it is made in the PicoBrew packing facility and sent to your home for brewing.
Update 7/22/17: On Kickstarter, the creator of the BrewArt system, Scott Harris, described what their powders are made. We asked for these details in an email interview, but the company was vague in describing how exactly the brew ingredients were made. This new description gives us a much better understanding of what a brewer is getting in the BrewArt Brewprints.
Lastly, while he says these aren’t the “extracts” home brewers have become accustomed to, I would suggest the BrewArt Elements are still an extract in the sense they are a concentrated powder made of mashed malted barley.
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