The Alchema homebrewer can turn any fruit, even pitted varieties like peaches and cherries, into craft cider with addition of few basic ingredients including sugar, water, and yeast. The process typically takes two weeks depending on the choice of fruit and custom settings.
“Almost two million Americans have attempted to home brew, but it usually turns out disappointing in terms of flavor or complexity to use,” co-founder and CEO of Alchema Oscar Chang said. “We want to make home-brewing easy and fun for everyone to create and share over and over.”
Chang combined his background in electrical engineering with his business partner and fellow co-founder, Hanning Tung's, degree in microbrewing from Sheffield University in England to create the first prototype of Alchema.
Working with three other members, Chang and Tung were able to bring the product to the Kickstarter where after its first day it had already raised one quarter of its $80,000 funding goal.
Besides providing an interactive platform for Alchema, Chang says Kickstarter is an effective way to gage consumer interest.
“It’s more about finding people who also love our product,” Chang said.
Alchema aims to streamline the home brewing process into a few simple steps, the company said. First users must download the Alchema app compatible with any iPhone5 or iOS8 where they can choose a recipe that walks the user through the brewing process. An Android compatible version will be available once the company raised $150,000, Chang said.
Once a recipe is picked on the app, the machine uses UV-C LED to sanitize the pitcher before the fermentation process begins. The user must then add ingredients (i.e, fruit, water, sugar, and provided yeast packets) before the fermentation process will begin
The app is used to monitor key fermentation parameters such as alcohol content, air pressure, and fermenting pressure, and notifies users when the cider is ready and safe to drink.
Plans to add distribution channels
Once Alchema ends its 45-day crowdsourced funding period on Kickstarter, the company plans to take the product online through Amazon Launchpad then eventually into specialty retail channels like Brookstone and William Sonoma for a retail price of $499, Chang said.
Eventually, the company wants to expand into at-home beer and wine making, but said this is a more complicated fermentation process.