Part of the appeal of local breweries is the ambiance, but fans of craft beer would often like to enjoy the fruits of their favorite brewery at home. Today, that means using a growler, a beer storage device that maintains the freshness of beer for only a few days. SYNEK, though, is seeking to change that with a counter top device that can serve up beer bagged at a local brewery for a month. The company hopes to tap into and build customer loyalty for the 3,500 breweries in the U.S.
In a recent interview, Eric Stoddard, the company's director of customer engagement how the company came back from a slow start to raise over $650,000.
Keeping the faith. Many crowdfunding experts emphasize the importance of a strong campaign start to show momentum and recommend doing a lot of grassroots organizing before the campaign. SYNEK's campaign, however, was slow out of the gate. "[T]he interesting thing is that we were a total flop 10 days in. We had a $250,000 goal and only raised roughly $25,000 in the first 9 days." Still, unlike some companies that pull and reboot their slow-starting campaigns, SYNEK soldiered on.
Working the media food chain. The campaign's fortunes began to change when it received some momentum with tech and design blogs. That led to bigger mainstream media publication and even TV exposure and led to the product being labelled "the Keurig of beer" even though that's not really accurate (there's no equivalent of the retail K-cup and SYNEK's beer has already been brewed). Still, the great convenience and success of Keurig coffee brewers created something of a halo effect for SYNEK which, like a Keurig brewer, sits on a counter and dispenses liquid refreshment.
Engaging the community. The media weren't the only influencers that benefited SYNEK. The company is trying to foster a marketplace between brewers and consumers, perhaps ultimately culminating in retail sales of its beer bags . SYNEK grew to understand the culture of local brewers. Stratter explained the unique nature of the local brewery community. "Let's say we approach someone in Belgium, they agree, and they point us to other breweries. In any other industry these other places would be competitors, but the way these breweries are connected really helped us in these early stages."
The next hurdle for SYNEK will be retail, where the company hopes to land a redesigned unit of its prototype dispenser. First, though, it plans to embark on a tour of U.S. cities to build awareness and drive the social aspect of beer consumption for what will be a home device.