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Could This Device Destroy the Craft Beer Industry?

The Brits – those crafters of fine beer and ale – have just gone and created a prototype device that could revolutionize beer production.

In short, it employs the same pressurization techniques that a commercial espresso machine uses to squeeze and extract more flavors from coffee beans. Except with beer, we’re talking about extracting fresh flavor from hops.

This customizes the taste of each brew – making the beer-drinking experience just as personal as having a local barista whip up your favorite latte.

Once getting a custom beer is as easy as visiting a Starbucks (SBUX), however, it could mean the end of one industry in particular…

It’s All About the Hops

We’ve all heard of hops in beer. But if you’re unfamiliar with what they are exactly, they’re essentially flowers that contain bitter flavors and aromas that prevent beer from being sickly sweet.

“Macrobrews” like Budweiser or Coors might have just a little bit of hops. But high-hopped beers are the backbone of the craft brewing industry – one of the great small business success stories of all time.

Consider that over the past 10 years, small, local brewers have increased their collective market share in the United States from under 3% to over 14%. That’s an impressive feat, given the marketing and distribution muscle of the big three beer companies, Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), Molson Coors (TAP), and SABMiller (SBMRY).

This new device, called Hoppier, brings the craft brew idea to another level entirely…

Your Beer Barista Is Here

“Beer brewed by engineers.”

That’s the tagline that Cambridge Consultants – the designers behind Hoppier – uses for its device.

Hoppier is a barista-style device that Cambridge says can be “retro-fitted to beer fonts in a bar.” This allows a bartender to adjust the hop level in each pint on the spot, according to the individual consumer’s taste.

The engineers behind Hoppier say they can also infuse other flavors common to craft beers – like pumpkin spices during the fall.

Given that the dry-hopping process usually takes up to two weeks before being integrated into a beer, this marks a significant change in current methods.

As Brunner states, “We’ve speeded up the dry-hopping process. By adding extra hops at the point of dispense, their volatile aromas are as fresh and intense as possible. Additionally, the aroma of the finished pint can be adjusted by increasing, or decreasing the quantity of hops, and by changing the type of hops used.”

But since this Hoppier device allows consumers to customize the amount and type of hops they want, right at the bar, will craft breweries soon be obsolete?

Not exactly. In fact, Hoppier could turn out to be a positive catalyst for the craft brew industry…

Specialized Suds

Just as companies like Starbucks have increased consumer interest in high-quality coffees in cafés, specialty retailers, and grocery stores alike, making a product like the Hoppier widely available could further boost interest in the already fast-growing craft beer industry.

The Hoppier device isn’t bad news for the big brewers, either. After all, someone has to provide the plain, tasteless beer that the Hoppier alters!

In an era where consumers don’t just want products… they want them in their own style… Hoppier fits perfectly into the growing shift towards greater personalization. Consumers want their beer and coffee specialized just for them.

Now, if you’re a budding entrepreneur, this could be an opportunity for you. Cambridge Consultants is looking for a partner to help commercialize Hoppier. So if you’re in the brewing industry, or dialed in to product development people at larger chains like Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) or TGI Friday’s, you could become an investor or partner. You can reach Cambridge at www.cambridgeconsultants.com.

And while we haven’t experienced Hoppier firsthand, Wall Street Daily’s resident panel of beer experts has tasted freshly-hopped beer before… and it’s fantastic!

Good investing,

Greg Miller

Greg Miller

, Senior Analyst

View More By Greg Miller