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Kickstarter: SYNEK – Any beer tapped fresh on your counter

What exactly is SYNEK™?

SYNEK™ gives you access to any beer ever created, fresh from your kitchen counter. It is the first ever crowdsourced beer dispenser that dispenses beer from cartridges that are specially designed for beer.  Unlike cans/bottles, our cartridges can be filled using a simple adapter—giving access to unlimited variety.  Plus, our dispenser is pressurized and self-refrigerated, extending shelf-life well past growlers. SYNEK™ has the convenience of a Keurig™ coffee machine and the variety of an iPod™.

Mission

SYNEK’s mission is to improve engagement between brewers and consumers through packaging innovation.

Story

In 2013, Steve Young (Founder of SYNEK™) started to take sharp notice of the craft beer industry as a stock market analyst. He wanted to know how the craft beer industry was making these great strides and what risk factors could cause it to become a ‘bubble’ like the industry saw in the 1990′s. Steve began to travel the U.S. to talk to the top craft breweries and home brewing associations to learn everything that was impacting the industry right from the source. 

He knew the industry was rapidly growing with thousands of amazing brands created every week. However, to his surprise every brewer he spoke with complained about the exact same issue: “We make amazing beer, but we can’t get it into our customers’ homes and make money at the same time. If there was a way to create a growler that maintained our beer’s quality longer than two days, it would change everything.”  It seemed there was a void in packaging between growlers and bottling.

As he continued to speak with industry experts, he was shocked to see the severity of the issue and wondered why nobody had taken the opportunity to address it before. Steve was so moved by the brewers’ intense frustration that he quit his job to assemble the best beer engineering team in the world and implement a solution to this beer packaging epidemic.

Market Landscape

It is no secret that the craft beer industry is absolutely booming right now. The Brewers Association shows that over 1.2 new breweries open up every day, meaning more than 800 are expected to open within the next 2 years. This means hundreds of thousands of new beer brands entering the market. 

Craft breweries are also responsible for 110,000 jobs in the United States – that is 20k more jobs than everyone employed at Google (53k), Monsanto (22k), Anheuser Busch (10k), and Facebook (6k) combined.

Despite the amazing growth, it is still almost impossible to access most beer brands created. Think about it: there are over 50,000 unique beer brands created in America every year, how many of those have you tried? Or even seen in person for that matter? More importantly, how many of those even escaped the brewery? 

Many in the US craft beer industry blame this on the distribution issues that restrict brewers from transporting their own beer to be sold at retail stores. However, this doesn’t answer why almost half the breweries in America cannot afford equipment to package beer, distributors still struggle to transport beer, and retailers’ shelf space is extremely expensive and limited. Even if distribution ‘opened up’, the three issues above would still exist.

The real cause of all these problems is a lack of packaging innovation. There has not been any real packaging innovation in the beer industry since a decade before the moon landing when aluminum cans were introduced. This is the sole reason why we are being denied access to beer. 

Current Packaging Available

Brewers have 3 primary options to package their beer:

  1. Cans/Bottles (expensive, limits variety, extremely wasteful) – Both the equipment to fill these and the raw materials are very expensive. Plus they are limited to bulk filling only their mainstream beers.
  2. Kegs (only for businesses) – Kegs allow breweries to ship their beer to bars and restaurants but end consumers have no desire to force feed themselves 200 pints of the same beer. Plus brewers have to buy all the kegs upfront. At $100 a pop, it is a large undertaking
  3. Growlers (poor quality) – These are essentially ‘glass jugs’ that have made a comeback recently as laws have started to allow people to enter breweries to fill right from the tap. The downside to these is that they only last about 2 days before natural elements cause the beer to go bad.

Bottom line:  Currently, there is no good method of packaging beer. Consumers are either being denied access to beer from cans/bottles/kegs or they have to forfeit quality with growlers. SYNEK™ will change all of that.

How is SYNEK™ Different?

We are not the first to create a beer dispenser. In fact, we have analyzed hundreds of failed attempts to understand exactly why they failed and improve upon those weaknesses. Here are the three primary reasons why SYNEK™ is completely different from anything ever attempted:

  1. Variety – SYNEK™ is a ‘crowdsourced’ packaging system available to all brewers (home and craft); consumers gain access to any beer ever produced.
  2. Convenience – Consumers can access beer anywhere there is an outlet.  Also, the recyclable cartridges mean never having to clean a container again.
  3. Quality – Independent tests have shown SYNEK™ ranks at or above cans/bottles/kegs on 5 major categories: (pressurization, shelf life, contamination, oxidation, temperature maintenance). SYNEK™ is specifically designed for craft brewers who create the highest quality beer in the world.

Why Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a perfect platform for SYNEK™ for two reasons. First, we wanted to get SYNEK™ in the hands of the most passionate ‘beer techies’ to aggregate their feedback and validate our technology before we scale it into the breweries to distribute on a wider scale. Kickstarter allows us to crowdsource, reaching home and micro brewers in a grassroots way.  Second, although we have had extensive investor interest, we want SYNEK™ to be a tool that facilitates the growth of the industry – not another tool a ‘traditional investor’ could use to milk the breweries of their profit. 

“Every great innovation in the beer industry has been acquired by the dominant mass breweries and shelved to prevent progress in reaching the craft breweries” – Former Anheuser Busch Executive in a private review of SYNEK™. 

At SYNEK™ we refuse to “sell out” and allow that to happen.

Who Are We Launching With?

As mentioned above, we initially want SYNEK™ in the hands of the most passionate beer enthusiasts in the industry. Homebrewers fit this calling perfectly. They experience the pains of packaging firsthand and are the most passionate; therefore, they will provide the most unbiased feedback.

Products

SYNEK™ Dispenser: A standalone kitchen appliance that refrigerates and pressurizes the cartridge that is inserted inside.  Its whole purpose is to preserve the quality of the beer once the cartridge is engaged. It was also designed so the user can see the label of the beer they are dispensing through a clear window in the front – no need for customizable taps (although you can customize those too).

SYNEK™  Cartridge: The cartridge is actually a reinforced bag in a box. We have developed the first ever patent pending flexible container (reinforced bag) that can hold the high pressures of carbonated beverages. The ultra-sanitary and recyclable container makes for extremely convenient and easy usage. They can be reused, but for maximum quality for your beer, we recommend limiting the amount of times they are reused.

SYNEK™  Adapter: We have a patent pending adapter that will allow for our bags to be filled from any keg, tap, or holding tank. Unlike bottling equipment, this affordable adapter will allow for the crowdsourced aspect to take place; access to any beer ever made.

Specs (more details will be provided the day of launch):

Cartridge

    • Holds 128 oz or about 11 (12 fl oz) beers
    • Ships flat, oxygen-deprived, and sanitary – ready to be filled
    • 7 layer bag is ultra insulated to lock in freshness
    • Holds intense pressure – well in excess of boxed wine bags
    • Outer metallic film rejects UV rays to prevent oxidation
    • Includes a pressure release valve to reduce leaks
    • Barrier qualities comparable to bottles
    • Recyclable but not reusable *Clarification- Bags can be reused, however to maintain maximum quality, it is not recommended
    • Costs will be comparable to bottles for homebrewers

Dispenser

    • Chills beer with cooling system
    • Includes thermostat to fine tune freshness
    • Pressurizes chamber using CO2
    • Includes pressure valve to manage foam/carbonation
    • Front window allows you to see the beer being dispensed inside
    • Drip tray included for messy pours
    • Dimensions are yet to be defined but will take up as much countertop space as a standard toaster oven
    • The dispenser will cost less than a kegerator (specific pricing released on Kickstarter launch)

Why Did We Create SYNEK™?

You may think that we are a team of beer lovers who had a homebrew project get out of control. We are, but it goes much deeper than that. 

We see craft breweries as they really are: an industry of small business owners who have put everything at risk to chase their dreams of independence and to better serve their communities.  Every day they wake up, they strive to achieve the ‘unobtainable’ perfect beer so they can share their discovery with one another. They believe that beer is not only an art and a science, but most importantly a lifestyle. 

How do we know this? We launched a completely new website called Craft Conscious (www.craft-conscious.com) to interview and showcase over 100 of the best beer experts in the world to discover how they have made a business out of their passion. Their feedback has been nothing short of fascinating and inspiring.

It is all about serving brewers and getting their creation into the hands of the people who matter to them.

Founders

Founder: Steve Young – Former stock market analyst whose retail team became top ranked in the world by integrating heavily with the suppliers in the industry. Steve understands that suppliers move markets and he is applying that same successful approach to develop and scale SYNEK™.

Head Engineer: Jeff Macler – The best flexible packaging engineer in the world. Although only age 34, he has 4x more patents filed than Anheuser Busch-In Bev. He does most of the packaging design/testing for large companies like Hormel, Sara Lee, and others. 

Mechanical Engineer: Mike Young is an electrophysicist at Boeing. He designs top secret parts/systems for crazy cool defense projects. Beer dispensers are a cakewalk – need we say more?

Sourcing Engineer: Randy Neiders is an expert in production, quality assurance, and logistics.  He owns a multi-million dollar product sourcing business. He will ensure your dispenser is on your countertop without issues ASAP!

Beer Advisors: We have a rockstar beer expert advisory team that prefers to remain confidential at this time. We will be announcing these members in the coming months.

About boaks

I am the owner of Cerebral-overload.com and the Verizon Wireless Reviewer for Techburgh.com. Ben’s love of gadgets came from his lack of a Nintendo Game Boy when he was a child . Ben vowed from that day on to get his hands on as many tech products as possible. Ben’s approach to a review is to make it informative for the technofile while still making it understandable to everyone. Ben is a new voice in the tech industry and is looking to make a mark wherever he goes. When not reviewing products, Ben is also a 911 Telecommunicator just outside of Pittsburgh PA.

Twitter: @gizmoboaks
Hangouts: Beavercountyemt
Skype: Ben.Oaks

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