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This Startup Wants to Make Home-Brewing Craft Cider a Cinch

Will a fool-proof process take homemade cider mainstream?


As the United States has fallen in love with craft beer over the past decade or so, the market for easy-to-use home-brewing beer kits has been booming. Now, a startup wants to make homemade craft cider just as easy. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to fund production of Alchema, what's being billed as a "countertop smart home-brewer."

As of this story, the campaign has already raised more than $19,000 from 83 contributors, and it's targeting $80,000 by Friday, September 9, at 2 a.m. ET. In addition to making cider, the device allows users to produce their own wine and mead, the old-school favorite of monasteries in the middle ages. The team behind Alchema is betting that ease of use will make it a success.

The device works with a smartphone app to make sure all steps in the brewing process are executed properly. A built-in scale tells users exactly how much of each ingredient, such as fresh fruit, has been added to the batch. UV light kills any potential unwanted bacteria. A fermentation monitor tracks how the in-progress beverage is coming along. All of the information shows up on Alchema's corresponding app, and it updates in real time.

"Almost two million Americans have attempted to home-brew, but it usually turns out disappointing in terms of flavor or complexity to use," Oscar Chang, Alchema chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. "We want to make home-brewing easy and fun for everyone to create and share over and over."

The device weighs about four pounds, and it produces roughly three wine bottles worth of beverage at a time. Team Alchema anticipates the first round of shipping will take place next summer. Watch the Kickstarter video below to get an idea of how the device works.

• Alchema: Turn Fruit into Personalized Craft Cider [Kickstarter]

• All Home-Brewing Coverage [E]

• All Crowdfunding Coverage [E]