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Appliance maker launches beer system via crowdfunding platform
An appliance maker in the region is launching a product aimed at homebrewers via a crowdfunding platform.
Whirlpool Corporation of Benton Harbor said today that it's using the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to “exclusively” introduce its Vessi Beer Fermentor and Dispenser system.
Whirlpool said the Vessi system was designed to meet consumer need for an “easier and faster” beer-fermenting method.
Whirlpool chose to launch the product on Indiegogo, because the platform will allow the company to engage directly with the worldwide community of homebrewers.
Through its Indiegogo campaign, Whirlpool said it will be able to connect with its potential customers and evaluate what they need and want in a beer fermentation system.
Jerry Needel, head of Indiegogo’s recently launched Enterprise Crowdfunding service, which helps large companies validate and launch products, said Whirlpool is one of an “increasing number” of successful, established companies turning to Indiegogo to launch products.
Needel added that the service is a “great way for successful companies to test the market for their products and turn research and development into a driver of pre-sales.”
Whirlpool plans to begin production of the Vessi system in October, and it will be launched in test markets Grand Rapids and Denver in November.
Initial micro-factory production of the product will be limited to 200 units per month, and units will be shipped as they become available. The first 200 units will be delivered in December.
The patent-pending Vessi system ferments, carbonates and dispenses home-brewed beer in as few as seven days, according to Whirlpool, which said other beer-fermenting methods can take four weeks or longer.
The Vessi fermentor includes a single-tank system that’s sealed, pressurized and temperature controlled to craft the beer.
With its single-tank design, the Vessi fermentor also allows users to reduce key risks in the home-brewing process, including contamination, oxidation and imperfect temperatures.
The Vessi fermentor retains the beer’s carbonation throughout the fermentation process, rather than the "complicated" and "multi-step" carbonation process typically used by other home-brewing systems.
W Labs, a division of Whirlpool that helps bring innovative appliance ideas “to life,” designed the Vessi system.
Noel Dolan, senior manager, Open Innovation & Strategic Partnerships at Whirlpool Corporation, said W Labs has been researching, testing, designing and re-thinking the entire beer-brewing process.
“With the Vessi fermentor, we’re taking the stresses out of the fermentation stage for homebrewers and allowing them to focus on what they love about beer making,” Dolan said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the product has raised $20,414 of the $100,000 goal at its Indiegogo page.