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Friends & NKU Grads Create Product to Make Home-Brewing Easier

Brewing beer at home is a fun, tasty, and worthwhile hobby, but as the home brewer becomes more sophisticated, upgrading equipment can be expensive. So, two local men have combined their love of home brewing with their entrepreneurial spirit to create a beer-making platform that can adapt to the brewing skills of any individual.

Anthony Stober and Eric Tanner are Northern Kentucky University graduates and longtime friends who wanted to maintain their friendship by regularly getting together to try their hands at home-brewing. Now the two are positioned to become the largest beer brewing platform manufacturer in the country if their business plan goes as they imagine.

“We have very busy lives. I have a family and Eric is very involved with the Cincinnati area and we realize that if we didn't set aside time for each other as friends, we could quickly let that go to the wayside,” Stober said. “One thing that we really share together is the love for craft beer. We decided to take that one step further to instead of going to a bar somewhere to drink, we wanted to make our own beer and be involved in the process. We quickly found out that we liked the more advanced steps of the process and got more and more involved. Over time we decided that we wanted to get out of the kitchen and control more steps of the process, but no product was out there that we needed to be able to do that, so we built our own.”

Their original prototype cost around $1,000 to build and although it worked, it was unsightly and even dangerous.

“It was this really ugly, clunky thing,” said Stober. “It serves its purpose but it was a hazard built out of wood and steel. It's propane-fed with sharp corners and could catch on fire at any time. We started to source a manufacturer to come up with a safe alternative, something that is affordable, something that is plug-and-play. You don't have to be a welder to build this, you just take it out of the box, put the nuts and bolts in it and start brewing.”

Now they have a fully developed, streamlined product, a metal apparatus with three separate platforms and a burner on the top and bottom levels. The Brewers Buddy has a handle and wheels that make it easy to move to any location that is best for the home brewer.

“The product itself is designed to grow with you as you learn about the brewing process. If you are a home brewer who starts off in your kitchen, with a five-gallon kettle and an extract brewing kit, you will quickly want to take the next step to all grain, which is one of the growing processes,” Stober said. “Our product is designed to stay with you through the growing process. Most of the products on the market, as you grow to the next level of brewing, you have to purchase a new product and these products can range from $500-$3,500 each time. We feel like we have a pretty affordable product that is also pretty durable and versatile that can stay with you throughout the whole brewing process.”

Listen to the guys behind Brewers Buddy explain their product to RCN's Bryan Burke:

The next step for the company is to launch its Kickstarter campaign where Eric and Anthony hope to raise $55,000 from March 5 to April 4. Brewers Buddy will host launch party at Braxton Brewing Company in Covington on March 5. Their goal for the launch party is to raise $10,000 on the first day and grow from there.

The business partners have also expressed a strong interest in working closely with local brewers in the near future.

“We really want to work with the local breweries in the area. With Cincinnati being the tenth largest market in craft beers, our second phase really has us working closely with these breweries here,” Stober said.

Brewers Buddy already has an online storefront built and is waiting to become a point of sale for consumers interested in purchasing the equipment.

“The majority of our sales are going to be driven through the website, but there are motions in the works to partner with a local home-brewing supply store in Cincinnati called Paradise Brewing Supplies,” Tanner said. “We're working solely through them through 2016 and they will be the only brick-and-morter that we will have the Brewers Buddy in at this point.”

To learn more about the business tandem and what they offer, those interested can visit BrewersBuddy.com.

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor