HAVE YOU ever wished your cooler could literally toss you a beer? Or that you could re-seal that opened can? Have you longed for a homebrew system that could make brewing beer as easy as brewing a cup of coffee?
Then you need to get over to Kickstarter.com, the premier venue for creators, performers and inventors of all kinds to find and connect with a like-minded audience. Sometimes, these are ground-breaking concepts. More often, however, they're home-spun initiatives from creatives that just need that extra push to get a passion project to market.
Increasingly, initiatives related to beer are found amongst the thousands of requests to finance everything from one-act plays to tailored mens' fashion lines. The majority involve raising money for actual breweries or brewery expansions like tap rooms. Recently, Savannah's Southbound Brewing Co. turned to Kickstarter rival site Indiegogo to aid in making their facility ADA compliant for tours.
On a smaller scale, there are many individuals looking to enhance the beer experience for the masses. The following projects are all accepting donations now at Kickstarter.com; search for them by name at the site.
Keep It Cold
We all know how to get beer cold. Just stick in the fridge or a cooler full of ice and wait. But what if you don't want to wait? What if you need it cold in 60 seconds or less? That's where Spin Chill comes in.
Originally designed by a pair of Florida engineers as a drill attachment, the Spin Chill is a device that, well, spins your beer, preferably in a tub of ice. That spinning increases the rate of heat transfer and gets the can cold faster. They've re-imagined that process to be drill-free, with a device called the Beerouette, which is much more convenient for tailgating. They turned to Kickstarter to raise $10,000 to mass-produce the chillers.
After you've rapidly cooled off your beers, you need a way to distribute them. That's where the Cooler Cannon comes in. It may look like a typical mild-mannered rolling icebox from the outside. But when you push the button on its wireless remote control, watch out! It shoots cans out of the lid. Perfect for those who don't want to get out of their lawn chairs to grab a beer, or those looking for a lawsuit. A quick $200 donation will make you the first on the block with that privilege and liability.
For those investigating next level drinking technology, KegVision may be the answer. This project is a hardware/software combination described as a gas gauge for beer. It uses wi-fi to send signals to a smart phone that keep bartenders aware of how much liquid is left in the keg. Making a pledge at or above the $99 level will give you yet another reason to nervously check your phone at all times.
Savannahian Rocky Bettis hopes the invention that he and his father developed, the iCan, will revolutionize the way that beers and sodas are consumed. The design they've created adds a twist-top to the familiar aluminum cylinder that enables cans to be easily closed and opened. Their product helps drinks stay fresh longer, eliminates the chances of spills and keeps unwanted things out of your can. A $95,000 fundraising campaign is underway to further refine prototypes and bring the iCan to market.
Home brewing can be time consuming. Some contend the laborious processes are part of the appeal. But between setup, cleaning, sanitizing, brewing, bottling and more cleaning, I wouldn't turn down a simpler solution to making my own beer. Two groups have projects on Kickstarter that seek to make brewing gallons of beer as easy as a shot of espresso.
The PicoBrew Zymatic and Brewbot are both described as "Brewing Appliances." The PicoBrew is a bit smaller due to the fact that the water tank is a separate component, conveniently a keg that is also the recipient of the finished product. The two part design makes it easier to store and keep tucked away.
The BrewBot is truly amazing as an all-in-one device, in spite of the fact that it's very large. It is nice looking though, with a facade of rough-hewn wood and metal. The system is controlled via a smart phone app which adds a welcome shot of modernity to the process. The app prompts you when it's time to make additions, while handling the heavy lifting of timers and temperature control on its own. The goal for the project is $160,000 and a contribution of $2,500 will get you a Brewbot of your very own.
The PicoBrew is internet enabled and handles the entire process from start to finish. Very much like brewing a pot of coffee, you load in your grains, hops and water. At the flick of a switch, the PicoBrew handles the rest. The wifi compatibility allows it to access a large supply of online recipes, including ones that the brewer can input themselves. The PicoBrew has a $150,000 target and donations starting at $1,600 will receive a production unit.