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Innovators – Growlerwerks

Growlerwerks: a new container to keep your beverages fizzy and cold

What happens when you get four talented Oregon engineers together over a pitcher of craft beer? And what if these engineers are long-term friends who share a love for outdoor adventure? The result is an innovative growler that keeps beer and other carbonated beverages ice-cold and fizzy, no matter if you take it high on a mountain or down a rapid-filled river.

“I raft and camp a lot, and hated having stale or bad beer,” says engineer and co-founder Brian Sonnichsen. Adds engineer and co-founder Shawn Huff, “We saw that people needed a way to keep their beer from going flat, so we created our patent-pending Ukeg lid, which you insert small carbonation cartridges into.”

If Huff and Sonnichsen sound excited about this latest project, they have well over a million reasons to be. Through the Kickstarter crowdfunding process, Growlerwerks was able to raise more than a million-and-a-half dollars in under a year, proving that others are just as enthused about this new beer-toting technology. “We are the second largest kickstarter fund of all time in this region,” says Sonnichsen. “We feel this is the best on-tap portable beer container you can get,” adds Huff.

Growlerwerks established manufacturing operations in China, and the first edition aluminum double-walled Growlerwerks containers will be distributed to the 14,000 backers who ordered them from Kickstarter for the introductory $99 price. Those who missed the opportunity for the initial crowdsourcing purchase can still get their own for $129 for the growler size, and $159 for the gallon size, which is now just being added to its line.

Growlerwerks will be a hit for home brewers, Huff says, who will be able to put their beer into the growler and top it with the 15-PSI-carbonation Ukeg lid, carbonating the brew in a few hours, instead of several weeks of fermenting in a bottle. It will also work for other fermented beverages like kombucha, sparkling cider or even water. The pair sometimes refer to it as the “mini keg that fits in your home fridge.”

Sonnichsen says they’re constantly field-testing their product, and recently he was able to keep his beer cold and fully carbonated for a multi-day excursion down the Deschutes River. “Now all the craft beer I bring along with me is always tap-fresh and cold,” he says. “This began as a side project—after work and on weekends,” says Huff. “But now, we are all working this business full-time, which I’ve got to say is a lot of fun.”

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