Brewing brought to homes by Brewbot

Product designer Chris McClelland and three colleagues are now making small-scale beer-brewing easier. The group first came together to make their own beer when craft beers were hard to find in Northern Ireland. While meddling with the idea of making beer and even starting their own brewery, they chose to invent a machine that would ease the process of brewing beer at homes, bars, and restaurants.

Beginning with a Kickstarter campaign, the group founded the company Brewbot. As a result, the company is now producing a brewing machine that can yield up to five gallons of beer. They have received about 80 preorders; manufactured in Northern Ireland, the machines will be delivered to customers in early 2015.

The machine is not only able to produce its own beer, but also comes with a step-by-step guide with a companion smartphone app. This technological addition to home-brewing comes from McClelland’s previous work in a smartphone app company. Sensors on the machine accurately measure temperature, volume, as well as other data crucial for brewing. Information gathered from the sensors is sent to the smartphone, smoothly guiding users through the brewing process. As stated on the Brewbot website, the sensors allow for “consistent and repeatable results.”

The company’s experiment with personal brewing required effort, even in producing one batch of beer, according McClelland. The group first assembled a production kit that consisted of plastic buckets and kettles to produce their own beers. They turned to family and friends for opinions as well. McClelland described the process as “a lot of monitoring and babysitting […] We were setting aside five hours to brew a batch of beer, but it was taking nine hours. It was a lot of effort to achieve one batch of beer.”

Consumers can also personalize their beer by using their own recipe or recipes from other breweries that the company has collected. Fellow users can also collaborate and share recipes through the smartphone app, as the Brewbot is connected to the Internet.

Jason Seats, the managing director of Techstars Cloud, another investor of Brewbot, sees great potential in the company. He foresees “all these different millions of variations, people trying different things, innovating their own recipes and discovering really interesting recipes and then being able to immediately syndicate those to other corners of the world.” He also added, “That’s a really exciting concept. And that’s what that makes us megabig in terms of potential.”

Aficionados say that craft beer is best when consumed right after it is made, and therefore the time that goes into shipping and distributing craft beers discourages many fine brewers. However, the Brewbot machine, along with its element of technology, may enhance the drinking experience, making for happier beer lovers.