SYNEK beer dispenser unveils design, new website, eyes summer release

 

I wrote about this for AlcoholProfessor.com many months ago, and this announcement came today. Thought I would share, as this does look like an interesting product. Here’s the press release from SYNEK:

(St. Louis, MO): SYNEK (‘sin-eck’) is pleased to announce the release of the final dispenser design and new website, www.SYNEK.beer. The final design is a result of over six months of meetings with industry experts and breweries to make the necessary changes to the original prototype shown during the 2014 Kickstarter campaign. The reveal video showcases the final design of the dispenser in several different settings, displaying the versatility of the unit.

“We believe that SYNEK could have the same impact on beer that Keurig had on coffee,” said Steve Young, Founder. “Brewers engage more customers, distributors save on shipping costs, retailers fit more product on shelves, and customers access more brands than ever before.”

Unlike bottles and cans, SYNEK bags can be filled from any tap, giving access to an unlimited variety.  The dispenser is self-refrigerated and pressurized, which extends the shelf life well past growlers. In addition to the aesthetic changes, the new design includes several functional improvements to the original prototype, including: improved insulation, cooling, and the ease of interchanging bags.

“It sounds like a beer lover’s fantasy: all around the country, everyone could have beer dispensers on their kitchen counters next to their coffee machines, spouting cold bitter brews into eager glasses throughout the day.” –Time Magazine

ABOUT SYNEK

SYNEK is a portable countertop beer dispenser that can be filled from any tap. The St. Louis based startup company ran a successful $650,000 Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in the summer of 2014 wherein they pre-sold thousands of units in over 40 countries. They currently have 1,200+ brewery partnerships in those countries, a number growing daily. They have also received recognition from local and national startup competitions including: the St. Louis Startup Challenge and Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest competition. Learn more at www.SYNEK.beer.

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12 Days of Beer Gifts

IPA_craft-beer-baskets-for-men-and-women_HR_Fotor_grandeI grew up singing with my classmates and family a song about partridges in a pear tree, and a bunch of other weird gifts over a 12-day span leading up to Christmas. In those days, I was perplexed why the song didn’t include things like action figures and video games, while strongly endorsing go-to presents like eight maids a-milking. How much milk does one person need?

As an adult, I could still skip the milk maids, but I wouldn’t mind some beer. So let’s leave out the pipers piping and the ladies dancing. Let’s concentrate on the beer lovers drinking.

Here are 12 wet and wonderful beers and beer gift packs that should make that beer lover on your list light up like the proverbial Christmas tree or menorah.

  1. Beer of the Month Club: That’s right, once a month, the recipient will be blessed with a twelver of a select craft beer, oftentimes a hard-to-find a limited release, chosen by craft beer lovers at AmazingClubs.com. You can choose a full year or three-month, six-month or seasonal memberships. Packages start at $33.95 per month. When that person’s birthday rolls around, maybe you can look into a liver-supplement-of-the-month club.
  2. Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale: A time-honored classic, Winter Welcome is a winter warmer best consumed while snuggling in front of the fire. Made with Fuggle and Golding hops, it is actually a malt-forward beer made just for the winter season. Bear skin rug optional.
  3. Sweetwater Festive Ale: Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing Company has been spreading its tentacles, and this is one of those that is making the rounds. A strong ale brewed for “winter coat season,” it is rife with black, chocolate, Munich and other malts witha taint of cinnamon and mace to keep you warm and toasted all winter long.”
  4. Deschutes Brewery Jubelale: A garnet colored strong ale, this one also features special artwork each season – this year’s is original fiber artwork by Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer, showing a winter landscape with a pair of sledders. The beer within reveals hints of chicory, dried fruit and toffee notes with a hoppy kick to finish. Put another log on the fire.
  5. Sam Adams holiday porterIPAs of the U.S. Gift Basket: Here’s a different spin on a holiday gift idea, since not everyone likes the spicy, thick Christmas beers that are the stuff of tradition. If the person on your list just wants to hop it up, this is a selection of India pale ales from Coronado Brewing Company (New York International Beer Competition 2014 California Brewery of the Year), Peak Brewing (NYIBC 2014 Maine Brewery of the Year) , Breckenridge and Ballast Point, as well as the oh-so-delicious Jai Alai from Cigar City Brewing in Florida. This on also comes with a variety of snacks to pair with the beers.
  6. Schlafly Christmas Ale: This is another winter warmer featuring sweet caramel malt, with notes of orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves. Inspired by holiday classics like wassail, it’s a surefire way to ring in the holidays with nary a chill in the bones.
  7. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale: First brewed in 1981, this is a true American Christmas tradition, although it isn’t a winter warmer – this is actually credited with being an early version of an American IPA, made famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas. Celebration is indeed a bold and intense beer, featuring Centennial, Cascade and Chinook hops. If nutmeg isn’t your favorite beer lover’s thing, this might be the ideal gift.
  8. Great Lakes Christmas Ale: This beer is brewed with honey and spiced with ginger and cinnamon and is poised to pair nicely with that fruitcake your mustachioed aunt will inevitably bring to the family gathering. Roasted barleys make this one a warmer, and Mt. Hood and Cascade hops give it a spicy kick.
  9. Samuel Adams Winter Favorites Variety Pack: Sometimes you just can’t choose. Enter Samuel Adams and its 12-pack of winter goodness, featuring two each of the classic Sam Adam Lager, Winter Lager, Old Fezziwig Ale, White Christmas and (prepare to start salivating) Chocolate Bock. This is a great one to pack to your holiday work or family gathering for sharing or, hey, for hoarding at home with your sweetie. No judgment here, just prepare for a wide variety. (There’s also Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, sold separately, if you’re feeling more focused.)
  10. Rogue santas_private_reserveRogue Santa’s Private Reserve: This is the one Santa probably drinks. A double-hopped red ale that is a variation of the well-regarded Saint Rogue Red, this one goes straight for a big roast finish and a hint of spruce for just a nod to the holiday season. Made from a wide and eclectic variety of malts and hops, plus proprietary Pacman yeast, it’s moderately bitter at 65 IBU and imminently quaffable at 6 percent ABV. It’s Christmas: the redder, the better!
  11. Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper: Talk about a winter warmer – this is an imperial porter to the max, with a flavor emphasis on dark cocoa and roasted coffee, with sweet crystal malts and light hops. This is a big one at 10 percent ABV, but imagine how good Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies are going to taste dunked in this Christmas winner? You can give it as a gift, but how could you let go of it? It’s OK to be a little selfish at Christmas.
  12. Three Floyds Alpha Klaus: A cousin to Three Floyds’ popular Alpha King, this beer pours jet black with a nose of chocolate, pine and citrus. The chocolaty flavor profile also gives way to a surprising hoppiness, setting it apart from many winter warmers. Many say it drinks more like a black IPA than a Christmas porter, but that makes it no less festive. And at 6 percent ABV, there’s no reason the beer lover on your list can’t enjoy more than one.

This post was originally published by AlcoholProfessor.com.

SYNEK: Can This New Beer Dispenser System Replace the Growler?

Synek1-1Few things make a beer nerd happier than a growler full of fresh beer from his or her local brewery. The problem is, if you pick up that growler on Friday after work and enjoy a couple of pints from it that night, the clock is ticking – because what’s left is more than likely going to go bad by Sunday.

A stock market analyst named Steve Young believes he has an answer in a product called SYNEK. It replaces the traditional growler as a beer vessel with a system that dispenses beer from cartridges that are specially designed to keep your brew fresh. It’s almost like a Keurig coffee dispenser for beer – you can set the self-refrigerated dispenser on your kitchen counter and simply restock it with one-gallon cartridges that can be filled with literally any kind of beer.

Young felt there simply is no good method of packaging beer currently, and backed up this notion by interviewing countless brewers. Cans and bottles limit what a brewer can distribute, and kegs are similarly restrictive. We’ve already addressed the inherent problem with a growler, and Young believes SYNEK is a universal answer.

As such, Young has launched a Kickstarter campaign, and has made an interesting vow – to not sell out to the beer monopolies. The SYNEK press kit contains an interesting quote: “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.”

The press kit attributes this quote to a former Anheuser Busch Executive in a private review of the SYNEK system. This sounds like the kind of thing that could leave someone sleeping with the fishes.

But it also sounds like a pretty fantastic contraption if it indeed works as claimed. Apparently, Young has a patent pending on a device that will make it possible to fill the cartridges (which actually contain a bag specially made to store the beer) straight from any keg, tap, or holding tank. So, that small batch beer that never gets bottled could theoretically go into a SYNEK cartridge for you to take home – and it would last until you’re finished drinking it.

Also, for home brewers (and small breweries and home drinkers), it creates a situation where you don’t have to meticulously and continuously wash bottles.

“Our ultimate vision is that SYNEK would replace all growlers, everywhere,” Eric Stoddard, director of business development with SYNEK. “The packaging is simply a more advanced technology – so it’s an easy sell to brewers.”

Stoddard said Young and his team have partnered with 300-plus breweries so far that have committed to utilizing the cartridges, “and that list is growing very quickly.”

On the SYNEK team are head engineer Jeff Macler, who the press kit identifies as “the best flexible packaging engineer in the world,” and someone who has four times more patents filed than Anheuser Busch-InBev. Macler does most of the packaging design/testing for large companies like Hormel, Sara Lee, and others.

There’s also mechanical engineer Mike Young, who is an electrophysicist at Boeing, designing top secret parts and systems for defense projects.

Of course, one of my first questions was: What are you going to tell the hipster beer snob who insists the beer tastes different from a SYNEK dispenser (and we all know that’s going to happen)?

Synek2

“Our chief engineer, who was previously in charge of quality control on a navy nuclear submarine, has run extensive tests both on the molecular level and through blind taste tests to make sure that the beer is unaltered,” Stoddard said.

Hey, if these guys think they’ve developed something to combat hipster snobbery as well as bring us fresh beer, then we probably should be taking note.

“This is a technology that can benefit everyone in the industry if everyone rallies behind it,” said founder Young. “Brewers can engage more customers, distributors save on reduced shipping costs, retailers fit more product on shelves, and customers can get a wider variety of the freshest beer in the world.”

But it’s designed to help the little guy, first and foremost, he added.

“It’s about giving the tools to the home and craft brewers to help spread their creation and make more money while doing it,” Young said. “The best beer deserves to reach the consumer in the freshest form possible.”

Could SYNEK spell the end of the traditional growler? We’ll see in a few weeks, as the Kickstarter campaign hopes to have $250,000 raised by late July. Heck, if it really means fresher beer that actually lasts as long as you need it to, as well as a leg up for the small craft brewers, I’d be happy to turn my old growlers into vases or water jugs.

This post was originally published by AlcoholProfessor.com.

Craft Beer Takes Over Louisville

louisville beer - brewfest craft beer week

Photo courtesy of Louisville Independent Business Alliance.

I’m now blogging for AlcoholProfessor.com, a site you must check out. Here’s my first piece, about the forthcoming Louisville Craft Beer Week celebration:

On Friday the 13th, beer will take over Louisville, Ky. That’s the beginning of Louisville’s annual Craft Beer Week; more than just a beer event, it’s a city-wide celebration of the beverage that proves the existence of happiness.

Jennifer Rubenstein organizes the capstone event, the Louisville Brewfest, where 14 local brewers and other vendors (there will also be wine and bourbon on hand) will present their wares at Slugger Field, the city’s AAA baseball stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Rubenstein said the first Brewfest happened five years ago as an independent event. “We were hoping for 500 people, and 1500 showed up,” she said. “We knew we had something good going on.”

Louisville Brewfest will also include a “brewseum,” a collection of artifacts from the city’s beer history … Read the Full Story.