All you really need to brew your own beer is a spare bathtub and some ingenuity, or so I believe based on long-held unsupported and unconfirmed opinion, but if you want to get fancy, a new Kickstarter project called Brewbot has you covered. The Brewbot is the product of Belfast-based Cargo, a team of devs and designers that wants to build amazing things, starting with a way to brew beer at home relatively cheaply, using smart connected devices.
The Brewbot is a smart appliance that’s far more interesting than Samsung’s connected refrigerators and washers, since it produces delicious beer. It’s also designed to look good, take up a minimum of space and eliminate as much possibility of error as it can to make home brewing easy.
Cargo’s motivation for building Brewbot stems from the team’s own passion for home brewing, which has become something of an international phenomenon. They noticed in pursuing their own hobby that setup was extremely complicated, and that there was a low degree of repeatability involved – in other words, it was very hard to brew the same beer twice, which, while adventurous, is hardly helpful if you want to turn your hobby into a business. Plus, typical brewing apparatus (good ones anyway) are huge.
Brewbot gets around these limitations for home beer enthusiasts by building a relatively svelte design that tucks away all the necessary machinery, vats and tanks into a package that’s about the size of a standard Ikea freestanding wardrobe. They then used Arduino-based controls and a load of sensors to make sure that Brewbot can easily follow recipes downloaded from the Internet to the letter, ensuring perfect repeatability every time with little or no manual intervention required.
Recipes are housed in a Brewbot iPhone app (an Android version is planned for later), which transmits directions to the Brewbot itself via Bluetooth. Users can tweak recipes on the fly, and share their creations with the community. Each batch can be up to 20 litres (around 5 gallons), and the cost of brewing is around £0.26 or $0.42 per 330ml/12oz standard beer bottle (so much cheaper than buying pre-made beer yourself).
The Belfast-based team aims to ship initially to the U.S., Ireland and the U.K., and backers can pre-order a unit for £1,500, plus up to £150 in shipping fees. The team at Cargo has built mobile apps for a lot of people, but are focusing on this much more ambitious project as an in-house effort. They’re partnering with creative consultancy Mette, which has experience building products for Jamie Oliver and Tesco, and hope to have the first completed units shipping in May. I don’t know about you, but I’m already thirsty.