European Business: Simple. Clean. Magnificient – that is how you describe brewing with Brewie+ on your website. Are you taking away the magic of brewing as a craft by offering your appliance?
Marcell Pal: In the past, we have been approached by homebrewers telling us that we take out the joy of brewing. But actually our goal as a company is just the opposite. We set off brewing at home four years ago and had quite good results. For me it was surprising that you can have quality beer for just a third of the price you pay in a shop. Apart from the comparatively low cost, there was another big issue: brewing is very time-consuming. That's why we came up with the idea to automate all the processes that take place during brewing and put them into one machine. The feedback on our first plans was incredible, so we decided to establish the company. Our mission was and still is: Not to take out the joy of brewing, but just to get rid of the boring parts and keep it interesting!
European Business: You state Brewie+ to be the most advanced brewing machine on the market. In what way does Brewie+ exceed other popular systems like PicoBrew or MiniBrew?
Marcell Pal: You can categorize other products depending on what level of automation they offer. First, you have the one-vessel type of products, which basically just control the temperature for you. Second, there are devices like our Brewie+, PicoBrew, IGulu and others. In comparison to the latter, Brewie+ allows you to control all of the regular processes, including cooling. On top, you can also go for top-level brewing processes and techniques that are applied by professional brewers, plus we offer a flexible system which allows you to use any type of brewing method.
European Business: The whole brewing device is offered for 2.499 USD. That seems like a significant investment for a 'kitchen appliance'. Why is it worthwhile paying this sum?
Marcell Pal: The main argument would be, that this product is made for people who are keen on investing in this unique hobby and are ready to pay its price. You always have to bear in mind how quickly it pays off. As I mentioned, if you want to buy the beer you can make with the Brewie+ you pay three EUR and that’s just in Hungary. In general, on Brewie+ you can brew for less than one USD per bottle. We have a calculation on the website: the whole investment pays off after 10 to 15 batches, and we know that our regular users brew twice per month.
European Business: A passion for home brewing was the initial spark for the foundation of the company. How much of this DIY spirit can still be felt today in your everyday work?
Marcell Pal: The founding members are still in the team. We do a lot together and the atmosphere is pretty much the same. On a professional level, the first priority for us is a quality product and a quality service. We want to make sure that our customers get, what they have paid for. That is why we take a very careful look at the feedback we receive and listen to suggestions to enhance and perfect the device even further. These form the basis for new products, and we have two of them on this year’s dashboard. I would say we have a lot of day-to-day business, but by now I believe that most of its aspects are automated. So we don’t have to think too much about them. There is still enough time for new ideas and future developments.
From the customer perspective, a change in demand becomes evident and it is not only restricted to the beer market. Quantity gives way to quality. Marcell Pal
European Business: If we take a look at the craft beer movement on a global scale: Do you think this 'beer renaissance' will continue to re-draw the beer map or is it already swallowed up by the industrial beer market?
Marcell Pal: This is a difficult question which comes along with two different perspectives. One is the economic perspective. I don’t think that there will be much of a big change. The big global players own large shares of the beer market. There is no real chance to compete with these companies on a financial level. They will continue to dominate and even bring themselves into the craft beer scene.
From the customer perspective, a change in demand becomes evident and it is not only restricted to the beer market. Quantity gives way to quality. This trend will last into the future and it is the reason why craft beer is more popular than ever before.
Interview: Markus Büssecker | Pictures: Brewie