San Diego-based Inebriated Innovations, LLC wants to help homebrewers make great beer with a tool that’ll smooth the road to fermentation. With their Kickstarter campaign up almost $40,000, they’re nearly halfway to building a better beer with the BrewBit “Model-T.”
The enthusiasts behind the campaign are fundraising to produce a wireless temperature controller, which they say will update brewing tech for the smartphone era.
DIY beer buffs themselves, the brains behind BrewBit (Misha Manulis, Brian Starnes and Nick Hebner) set out to create their dream controller. “We’re all huge nerds so we kind of dove in headfirst,” Hebner said. “We were really interested in learning the technical aspects of brewing.”
Their tool is capable of both monitoring and regulating temperature over the Internet. Users can babysit their beer from pretty much anywhere, as all that’s necessary to make remote modifications is web access. Homebrewers can also choose to pre-schedule temperature changes via beer profiles. “There’s certain processes in brewing [where] you want to hold special temperatures for certain durations and then change,” Hebner says. “[Before, there was] a timer running on your watch and when the alarm goes off you run over and turn up your burners. It’s a very manual process even if you have temperature controllers.”
With the Model-T, “you can tell it up front, ‘I want you to hold 135 for 10 minutes,’” Hebner says. “That’s one of the cool things that relieved a lot of stress on the brew day.”
The controller will also keep users posted on how their beer’s doing––even when they’re doing other things.
“Then of course there’s the connected aspect,” he says. “If you’re using it to control your fermentation, you can check on it when you’re bored at work. If you forget to change the temperature, you can command it to change temperature over the Internet.”
By nature open source, the Model-T’s possible functionalities are subject to users’ whims. Manulis says they’ve been asked about adapting it to other purposes, like barbecuing. Because of its potential, the BrewBit team considered marketing the Model-T based on its flexibility, but decided to focus on its use to brewers.
And though California’s known for its VC scene, BrewBit stresses the project’s more about passion than profits.
“It’s a huge passion for us,” Manulis says. “We’re not going after raising gobs of money. We want to share this with the rest of the brewing community.”
“We’re really focused on, from the startup perspective, this is helping us build the product that we want,” he says.
So far, its seems the product they want suits prospective customers fine.
“It’s been good, we’ve gotten a bunch of messages from people that are incredibly excited about it and can’t wait to get theirs,” Manulis says.
The Model-T Kickstarter campaign launched July 15 and will conclude August 17. Right now, it’s up over $37,000, with about $43,000 left to go. Funding came quickly in the beginning, but the stream has slowed down. Though Hebner says he thinks their daily numbers are just about where they need to be to acquire the necessary funding, he’s still worried.
“We’re just biting our fingernails,” he says.