Food and Beverage Interviews

The Backerjack Interview: SYNEK’s Eric Stoddard on tapping into the countertop beer market

Having raised nearly $650,000 and netting a Backerjack Editor’s Choice Award, the SYNEK countertop beer dispenser has been dubbed, somewhat misleadingly, “the Keurig of beers.” Backerjack caught up with Synek’s director of customer engagement Eric Stoddard, to trade drinking stories about how company came back from a slow campaign start and was accepted into the camaraderie of small, local brewers

Backerjack: Could you talk a little bit about what SYNEK is?

Stoddard: Sure. It’s a countertop beer dispenser that gives you access to any beer at home on draft at very high quality. The bag holds up to 30 psi, and you can get it from any tap anywhere — whether it be your local brewery or wherever it may be — and you can take that home and you get a shelf life of 30 days.

Backerjack: So, unlike Keurig where you can buy a K-Cup, this is more like a storage method where it stores already brewed beer?

Stratter: Yeah, we’re sort of packaging company, a social packaging company because of how ingrained we are with breweries and helping them connect with their customers. There’s a lot of big issues in this industry, and how we came about as an idea was by considering the problems affecting lots of breweries. Smaller guys can’t afford to buy equipment because it’s a huge fixed investment upfront, so they have no way to get beer unless they use growlers.

The bad thing with growlers is that the beer only lasts for two days, three days if you’re lucky, once opened. It isn’t the most feasible option for most people. We’re trying to expand on that where now we offer this gallon size bag that’s able to be filled up the exact same way you would a growler and it’s available to a larger group of people. Now, these smaller breweries have a way to get higher quality beer out of the brewery.

Food and Beverage

Brewski lets you create signature beer, wine or cider at home

Creating one’s own drinks can make for a great conversation starter at a party or when entertaining at home. And Brewski allows those who enjoy exercising their creative muscles in this area the opportunity to make beer, wine or cider and flavor it to personal tastes.

The drink creation station makes about 2.5 gallons at a time (or 30 standard beer bottles) and stores easily on a shelf or convenient counter space. Brewski offers video tutorials that explain how to create beer using the product and included brewing kit, or it is compatible with other brewing kits. Beer bottles with non-twist tops can be washed, refilled and recapped with the bottle capper.

Interested backers might also want to check out Brewie, a similar home-brewing product, but one that doesn’t offer wine and cider like the Brewski does. This campaign seeks to raise $150,000 NZD (~$112,000 USD) on Kickstarter. Early bird backers get one product for $369 (~$275 USD) with an expected delivery of July 2015.

Food and Beverage Home

Brewie brews beer at home both for the novice and expert brewer

Beer is a popular drink among many adults. Its brewing process, however, is a bit complicated, keeping people from being able to brew their own beer. Balancing out the ingredients and letting the beer ferment are simply too difficult for a novice to do at home.

Brewie makes it possible to brew one’s own beer at home. This large metal box comes with yeast, hops, malt and different recipes. To use, place the Brew Pad in the box and scan the accompanying card. It will begin to brew. Brewing takes about 5-6 hours for the initial cooking period and about 5-16 days of fermenting.

Brewie offers all different kinds of beer including: IPAs, reds, stouts, and pilseners. This at-home brew systems goes through 10 different steps in its brewing, so the user can add additional hops whenever they want, making it possible to brew their own kinds of beer and virtually any kind of beer there is. In addition, Brewie makes brewing beer fun for experts too and gives control over 23 parameters of the process, if the user wants.

While this machine is large and bulky, it does have some cool promise. At-home brewing usually involves a lot of accessories and work in order to create a great tasting beer. Brew takes all of the hassle out of at-home brewing. Its automatic and manual options make it versatile too, allowing it to be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike. One will cost backers a donation of $1,299 for the beginner pack. Brewie is hoping to raise $100,000 on Indiegogo.

Food and Beverage

Synek lets you brew pilsners in your pajamas

editors-choiceThe Premise. Beer straight from the tap is the absolute best. But most decent people don’t have the time or cash flow to hang out at bars all the time. In addition, beer connoisseurs are stuck with whichever beers the bar happens to have on tap. Beer from bottles and cans are okay, but can be expensive. A lot of craft brewers offer their drinkers growlers, but, once opened, they don’t last very long.

The Product. SYNEK is a beer tap system for your home. This device uses SYNEK bags that are vacuum pack and UV protected to store two growler’s worth of beer and keep the liquid fresh for a long time. Using adapter tubes and a tap, anyone can enjoy whichever beer they want right at home. The bags can be filled with bottled beer, canned beer, beer from a another tap or beer straight from the brewery. SYNEK weighs no more than a toaster oven and can go wherever there’s an outlet. 

The Pitch. SYNEK’s Kickstarter campaign begins with a charming and funny video of Steve, the creator, boasting about his product. Bloopers at the end of Steve attempting to grill bananas are especially appreciated. The rest of SYNEK’s campaign is peppered with praise from a number of news television stations, magazines, blogs, companies, and more. Steve also has a collage of the different brands of beer available in SYNEK. This home tap device hopes to raise $250,000 in 30 days.

The Perks. Beer laden backers can get the SYNEK at an early-bird price of $299 or retail price of $349. Higher tiers offer the product in different colors or even in bronze. Reward tiers go up to $10,000 with estimated delivery in March 2015. 

The Potential. Following  in the footsteps of the Keurig and Nespresso coffee pod machines, home draught beer is not an entirely new concept. Other products offer beer from the tap at home, but use different methods to do so. For instance, the Draftmark Tap System comes with large bottles that are loaded into the device and tapped. The different between this and other similar products and the SYNEK is that the SYNEK has unlimited possibilities. It can be filled with any beer that the drinker wishes without being constrained to a small variety. All in all, SYNEK’s portability, style, ease of use and versatility make it the product to beat for those looking to enjoy a great draught beer at home. It will undoubtedly enjoy lots of success on the market.