Beer Gets Weird: Draft Beer Infusion System (Hopback)

If you’ve been following this blog at all, you know I’m set on building a career out of drinking beer.  That requires a couple great ideas and a certain ingenuity / drive that is not entirely too common.  In an effort to bill myself as a beer and business expert, I’m showcasing a system that I built as a creative way to build bar business.  Enter my take on a draft beer infusion system.  Check out the video below.

Bar Meetings Aren’t All Bad

     Bar meetings usually consist of two things: problems and punishment.  Thankfully, Amy Giles prefers not to hold these kinds of meetings.  In fact, the general theme of the entire meeting was good.  It comprised mostly of housekeeping items and acknowledgment that bar staff at Vintage 50 is kicking butt.  The only major problem or question we were left with: how do we give our current customers and our new customers something to get excited about?

Start Firing Spitballs

     As the entire group began spit-balling ideas my mind trekked into “space”.  That space is a labyrinth full of knowledge.  No knowledge is useless unless you fail to utilize it.

     I can thank my parents for entertaining my insane number of questions as a child.  I still haven’t figured out why the sky is blue.  As I drifted into the corridors of my mind the room became increasing inaudible. I began cataloging everything I knew regarding beer, business, and marketing. The moment when all the pieces came together is hard for me to draw back upon now.  The requirements?  It can’t cost much and it has to be repeatable yet different every time.  In a short and sweet package my mind spoke to me like this: build an infusion system, infuse something new every week and turn it into an event that nobody else has.

From Idea to Practical Application

     This meeting occurred on a Wednesday.  Everybody seemed to like my idea and I left with plans to build it.  I spent the better part of my Wednesday night and Thursday morning conceiving the idea and drawing mockups.  By Thursday afternoon I had a game-plan to build it out of common parts found at Home Depot.  Sending an engineer into Home Depot is like putting a fat 7 year old in a candy store.

     I built the system and managed to give it a test run on the following Sunday night.  The first test went well, but as expected the system needed some configuring.  Two tests and a video later we have a finished device that will allow for infusion of just about anything.

What about the Patent?

     I’m not the first person to conceive this idea.  A business owner I hope to emulate someday first implemented this idea: Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head.  His device is named Randall The Enamel Animal.  I simply took this idea and spun it in two new directions: a different design and the infusion of much more that just whole leaf hops.  The beauty lies in the alcoholic content of beer.  The alcohol will strip virtually any whole ingredient of its oils.  Some ideas for the future include: fruit infused wheat beers; hop infused pale ales and IPAs; coffee infused stouts and more.  It seems the list is somewhat endless and the best way to approach is through experimentation.

     As for me, regarding the patent, that isn’t of interest to me at the moment.  I much prefer to continue billing myself as a serious beer professional.  My unique experiences in life allow me to have enough insight to see all the moving parts of any business.  I want to be a resource for any beer enthusiast or professional.  Need an idea or consulting services?  Want somebody to host a private beer tasting?  Just want to chat me up? I’m up for all of it. Talk to me in the comments, e-mail me brett.robison[at] or contact me through facebook and twitter.

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