Kickstarter

Stylish Technology and NASA Innovation in Beer Cooling

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Two interesting new Kickstarter projects crossed our desktops this week. Both want to offer innovative tech to keep your beers cold for parties and other gatherings. It’s time for another edition of “Kicking the Kickstarter,” wherein we profile a crowdfunded beer-related campaign and tell you if it’s shit or not. This time it’s a double whammy as we cover two slightly similar new products.

Kulr — is probably the more mainstream consumer-driven product, designed for the Apple-loving consumer who likes the simple, clean design and consumer-friendly face. Kulr is to a picnic/beverage cooler as an iPhone is to a rotary phone. This eight pound cooler is designed for style and parties.

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Kulr takes such now everyday technologies as LED lights and screens, Bluetooth speakers, and charging stations and puts them into a drink cooler. Usually liquids and power cords don’t mix, but the Kulr has an entire built-in charging bank to keep your cell phone or other USB-powered device operating. This removeable power station also has Bluetooth and splashproof speakers so you can rock your favorite tunes by the pool or at the beach. The rechargeable battery offers 12 hours of playtime.

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The top compartment on the cooler features a dry storage container with spaces for important small items like your cellphone, keys, wallet, and phone that you do not want to get wet, lost, or sandy. It also has a built-in but detachable bottle opener in the lid that has its own LED flashlight and magnet to catch caps built into it. I would be interested in purchasing this bottle opener as a standalone product.

The actual beverage compartment is also removable and chillable, so you can store it in your fridge with beers, remove it, and drop it into the larger beverage cooler.


Now, as far as the Kickstarter backers benefits go, the Kulr is reasonable if not very good with its offerings. The opening $5 or $15 pledges basically get you nil, but for that price that’s what is expected. At $25 pledged you get the bottle opener with LED light and magnet cap catcher by itself; this is pretty solid for the money, as the makers project it retails for $40. The $45 level makes no sense–you get a drink tumbler and that’s it, (who wouldn’t rather have that opener for $15 less?). The $85 level gets you the Kulr’s power bank and bluetooth speaker standalone, which seems like a pretty solid price. Finally, at the $165 you get the early bird shipping of the full Kulr product complete with all the trimmings (they say retail will be $265). For $330 you can double down and get 2 Kulrs, for $660 4X , and for $1,650 you get 10X. I endorse the Kulr kickstarter if you’re someone who enjoys drinking outdoors.

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Kegsheet is the simpler but perhaps more innovative method to cool a full keg of beer. For this reason it seems like the campaign is directed towards consumers purchasing kegs for parties, but as a festival organizer I thought these would be much more valuable.

Kegsheets are based on NASA technology to keep a keg of beer cold with little to no ice. The concept was that since kegs are usually purchased already cold, they don’t need to be chilled so much as the heat around them needs to be kept at bay to keep them cold.

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Kegsheets are a very simple reusable bag that you wrap around a keg, with a hole for the tap and lines to come through. The insulation is radiant barrier material technology that NASA developed for the Apollo mission program to keep objects and people insulated from outside temperatures. The wrap reflects up to 90% heat away while keeping the inside cold.

A Kegsheet alone will keep a keg colder than icing it, and a Kegsheet with a small amount of ice added to it will keep cold for a very long time. In the example the Kickstarter uses, the keg only raises 10 degrees in 8 hours. It’s also conveniently tear resistant, compact, reusable, recyclable, and washable, and only costs about $10 per sheet. I see this as a possible future alternative to purchasing pallets full of ice at beer festivals. A keg sheet and a bag of ice could be enough to keep the festival kegs cold for 2 days.

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KegSheet is only seeking to raise $5,500, and the organizers believe they can deliver product by June. For a $10 backer to the Kickstarter you get to be among the first to get a Kegsheet. For $30 you get 3 Kegsheets. For $50 you get five, plus a drawstring backpack for storage and transport. The highest level of investment is only $100, and you get 10 Kegsheets and 2 drawstring backpacks. The problem with these investment bonuses is there are not a lot of options and they could probably be more creative and come up with some benefits for even larger backers. That said, $10 to get your own Kegsheet is simple and affordable, and it’s easily worth getting a few if you’re someone who might need them.

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

2 Comments

  1. mike

    March 22, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Looks like the Kulr kickstarter is no longer active.

    • Samurai Artist

      March 23, 2016 at 7:28 am

      probably because they were trying to raise way too much money to be realistic. They should have started with a smaller goal.

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