Big day recap and design explanation
We had a really big day today with dozens of articles written (including Engadget!) and the most pre-orders in a day since the Kickstarter. As you most likely saw earlier through the email newsletter or social media, we released the final design and our brand new website (www.SYNEK.beer). While the response was very positive, there were some very reasonable concerns about the new design that we wanted to very clearly address.
^ Recent trip to our manufacturer, this is where baby SYNEKs might be born
Size: The unit that you see on the website and in the video is 16” x 17” x 16”. This prototype was hand-constructed by our engineers so that we could effectively communicate the general specifications to our manufacturers. Our manufacturers are confident that they can produce the same functionality at 15” x 15” x 15” and we will continue to shrink that design as much as possible. For perspective, the original prototype shown in the Kickstarter was 12” x 15” x 15”. The three inch increase is due to including the 20 oz refillable CO2 container which was requested by the Kickstarter backers in the survey released on July 21, 2014 (Backer update #6).
Window: When we spoke with the breweries, many of them were very excited about the bags but were sometimes indifferent to the box that enclosed it. Due to this, we decided that we will be launching with both bags in boxes and just bags by themselves, depending on the location. With the high possibility that only a bag would be in the dispenser, it would look very odd on your counter just seeing the metallic bag through the window. Thus, we decided to remove the window. We are working on an alternative to serve the same purpose of beer identification – possibly removable stickers. The removal of the window also lowered the energy consumption of the unit significantly, due to lost cooling. No window makes the unit much more eco-friendly.
Stainless steel tap: When we talked to several brewers and beer experts, they made it clear that a stainless steel flow control tap would be necessary for both quality control and pour control. This tap added a hefty cost to the product, but it provided a TON better control. With you guys in mind, we decided to add it to the final design.
Controls: When we met with the experts, they strongly suggested keeping the temperature and CO2 adjustment controls out of sight. They believed that a “set it and forget it” model was necessary for the mass market. While we absolutely believe that you should have the ability to control those two aspects, we took their advice and put them inside of the unit, easily accessible from the right door. While many of our backers are avid beer tech folks and are comfortable/qualified to play around with the settings, the rest of the market is not. Plus, come on. This is your baby. You don’t want your less-beer-inclined friends messing with your settings behind your back every time you get together!
Design: While this final model reflects the design we are moving towards, it was hand-made by our engineers. The final manufactured unit will look even sharper. We also now have the opportunity for cool design options like multiple colors and branded casings. (Think of your favorite sports team!) We will be sending out surveys as those options are finalized so that you can pick the exact variation that you would like to see!
Conclusion: With a huge emphasis on functionality, we built the new design making it as easy as possible for brewers and individuals to use. This functionality is extremely important as we lead this beer revolution together. We continuously try to balance a mass market approach with the high control for the avid beer tech star. Remember that the more craft beer lovers that SYNEK can appeal to, the quicker we can get you more access to the best beer anywhere (e.g. get on retail shelves and eventually direct-to-door). Together, we have to think big picture and long term to grow this movement. Head to the sky, but feet on the ground.
As always, feel free to reach out to Eric[at]SYNEKsystem.com with any questions or concerns that you might have. We are swamped with inbound emails/tweets/messages right now so please be patient with us as we get through everyone’s comments.