The concept for the Beer Olive and Beer Hop came to me as I was thinking about my beer glassware collection. I wanted a way to keep my beers from going flat.
Most beers are poured, form a nice initial head, and then go into passive carbonation release. The only way for the remaining CO2 to release is the subtle motions from handling and the subtle temperature increase over time. These aren't enough to sustain the head, and the beer goes flat after a short few minutes. It's not only about visual appeal, though. Flat beer affects the flavor and aroma, too.
Active carbonation release helps release the aroma compounds in beer. It helps decrease carbonation acidity, making beer flavor smooth. It helps reduce the amount of gas ingested, making beer less filling. And the fluffy head of froth does help beer look amazing.
Bar glassware with etching in the bottom can do this, but I wanted a better way. I wasn't going to replace my whole glassware collection. Why not make it a single, portable, reusable accessory? This accessory can have etching for active carbonation release and fit in any standard bar glassware.
From that day, I knew I was onto a new product design that was capable of making a big change in the beer industry. My career background in mechanical engineering, product design, and industrial design gave me the confidence to create an achievable product development plan to take my concept to production.
The concept has progressed from a spontaneous concept to a polished final product. I am excited to begin sharing these with other beer lovers!
Drop one into any glass of carbonated beer to optimize head creation and head retention, called active carbonation release. Backers will get production versions before anyone else.
I poured the left beer, then the right beer, then added a Beer Olive to the left beer. The right beer had no foam soon after, but the left beer retained foam for the whole 28 minute test.
I poured the right beer, then the left beer, then added a Beer Olive to the left beer. The right beer had no foam at 5 minutes, but the left beer retained foam for the whole 40 minute test.
I poured the beer gently so it had little foam, then added a Beer Olive. The beer retained foam for the whole 35 minute test.
How To Use It
1. Pour your beer into a glass. For best results, pour it flat so it has no foam.
2. Drop the Beer Olive or Hop in. For tall glassware, angle the glass - nothing breaks if you drop it straight, but the impact usually creates too much foam.
Note: this product is for carbonated beer. It doesn't do anything for beers with nitrogen conditioning, but they have great head retention anyway.
We received a great product review of the Beer Olive by Ryan Tuenge of the Star Tribune! - http://www.startribune.com/local/yourvoices/256468371.html
Product Development Plan
Here is an overview of my product development plan, which was broken into 5 milestones.
Milestone 1: Concept
I identified flat beer as the problem. The existing products did not offer the right value. To make better beer, my concept was a portable, reusable beer accessory that fits in any standard bar glassware. This would allow users to keep their glassware collection and still benefit from active carbonation release.
Milestone 2: Design
Industrial Design is increasingly more important for products. The shape of my accessory is just as important for success as the function. After researching and sketching possible shapes, the two results were an olive and a hop flower. Both are common and aesthetic garnishes for beer, and users will feel comfortable having one in their glass.
Besides the primary function of releasing carbonation, design can allow the accessory to offer secondary features. A hole was added through the middle to allow users to place the accessories in a dishwasher to clean them between uses. The ends are flat so the accessory can rest on a table without rolling off. The size was designed to be small enough to fit in common beer glassware, but large enough to minimize any chance of choking.
Milestone 3: Prototype
I designed my olive and hop using 3D software. I went through a few revisions to get the curves just right.
The next step was to make prototypes. I decided to stay with materials that are commonly used in barware including Stainless Steel, Soda-Lime and Borosolicate glass, and Soapstone. In the end, soapstone had the best properties for density, hardness, tooling cost, machining cost, and food-safety. It allowed me to keep manufacturing within the USA and still have pricing about the cost of one nice beer glass.
Milestone 4: Pre-Production
After my design was set in stone, I did a patent search. The results supported my initial intuition that nothing like my product existed. I filed for a non-provisional utility patent.
Next I proceeded to design the product user manual and packaging. I decided to make packaging recyclable even if it added a few more pennies in cost. I created my own part numbering system. I wrote a Marketing Plan and a Competitive Analysis. I sourced a supplier for machining the parts. My top concern was the capability to scale volume if demand was high.
I handmade soapstone prototypes (MVPs) to send out for user testing. This tested how the products met user expectations, as well as my initial user manual, product packaging, and shipping method.
With some of my prototypes, I was able to shoot some marketing pictures of the product in action.
Currently my capability is handmaking limited amounts on my own. It is not scalable or ergonomic.
Milestone 5: Production
The next step is production. I have a supplier in the USA that has successfully machined prototypes. They are ready to start a large production run.
I am seeking help from backers for the first production run, so I can establish an inventory. The minimum order quantity is 250 Beer Olives and 250 Beer Hops. Once established, the product sales will be able to sustain a continuous inventory.
About half of the funding will go toward initial inventory of Beer Olives and Beer Hops for sale.
A portion of the funding will go toward initial inventory of branded nonic glasses for sale. They will support the Beer Olives and Beer Hops, which are designed to use in glassware. I may expand to a full lineup including pilsner, tulip, and mug.
A portion of the funding will go toward inventory of the user manual and packaging.
A portion of the funding will go towards the fees from Kickstarter and Amazon.
The picture shows handmade Beer Olives, but backers will get production ones. Muslin bags can hold up to 4 Beer Olives or Beer Hops.
The picture shows a handmade Beer Hop, but backers will get production ones. Muslin bags can hold up to 4 Beer Olives or Beer Hops.
I currently do not have international shipping for rewards with glassware, because the cost is prohibitive.
For anyone considering the reward with an original oil painting, some of my artwork is available on my personal website. - http://www.brycebunkers.com/artist/oil-paint.html
Risks and challenges
My experience as a mechanical engineer has allowed me to identify potential risks in the production process, as well as their mitigations.
The product introduces a choking risk when used. This is the most serious product risk. There are two paths for reducing risks: through design and through labeling. The product versions have large diameters (1.000", 25.4 mm) to minimize the possibility of swallowing. Also, both product versions have through-holes that keep the airway open, if someone does accidentally swallow one. The product material makes audible noise when in a glass, so users do not forget about it. The user manual accompanies every product (including backers). It’s concise, visual, and appealing to maximize its dissemination. One of six pages has a prominent Warning graphic with text in two languages. I received a positive legal review from one lawyer, and may seek additional opinions. Finally, liability insurance will cover the remaining risk of lawsuits. If you have questions, I have researched statistics extensively and will be able to answer them.
I am creating new supplier relationships, so product quality is a risk. I will begin with 100% inspection on the soapstone and glassware to minimize defects.
The production lead time is somewhat long, so balancing supply and demand may be tricky. There is a risk of being out of stock.
I have tested shipping in small quantities with 100% success. There is a risk that shipping large quantities may uncover weaknesses in packaging. I plan to have a good return policy if products arrive damaged.
A challenge will be achieving consistency from one Beer Olive and Beer Hop to the next, in terms of carbonation release, because soapstone is not homogeneous.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)