How long does the beer stay fresh?
Like a mini keg, the uKeg will keep your beer fresh for weeks.
How long does the CO2 cartridge last?
The CO2 cartridge dispenses one uKeg full of beer, with some pressure left over that you can use to clean the growler with water, and pour through the tap.
What type of CO2 cartridges does the uKeg cap use?
All uKeg growler caps use unthreaded food-grade CO2 cartridges. Our regulator cap can accept 8g or 16g cartridges. We will also be releasing an adapter.
Where can I get the CO2 cartridges?
Food grade CO2 cartridges are readily available at kitchen stores, online via Amazon, or here on our website. We plan to make these available at growler fill and retail locations in the future as well.
How much does the CO2 cost?
The 8g CO2 cartridges can be found on Amazon for as low as $0.50 each. We list them here on our website for $1 ea. With about 5 x 12 oz. beers in a growler, that's just 10-20 cents per fresh beer.
Where do I fill my growler?
With an internal volume line, you can take your GrowlerWerks growler to any store or bar that currently fills glass growlers. Growler laws vary state-by-state, and are rapidly changing to remove old restrictions. The Brewers Association provides a helpful directory:
Can the uKeg be used for other carbonated beverages besides beer?
You can put soda, water, or other carbonated beverages in the uKeg, such as sparkling wine or homemade cocktails (just add rocks glasses for a party). One of our team members even uses it for carbonated apple cider for his kids!
How can the uKeg be cleaned?
Cleaning the uKeg is easy. Rinsing with warm water after each use is the best practice. Any leftover CO2 can be used to flush the tap with water, but turning the uKeg upside down works too. The cap can be removed to easily clean the inside of the stainless steel vessel. The tap assembly, sight glass and pressure gauge can be fully dissembled for deeper cleaning when needed. Standard brewery equipment cleansers can be used.
What pressure range does the regulator cap provide?
We designed this version of our regulator cap to go between zero (0) and 15 psi. Zero psi corresponds to the "off" position when the regulator is closed, and the cap will not dispense the contents of the CO2 cartridge. The off position is for taking the cap on and off the vessel. 15 psi may be good for force carbonating homebrew or other beverages, or highly carbonated stuff.
Can the uKeg 64 be used to force carbonate Homebrew?
The uKeg 64 is capable of force carbonating beer and other beverages. Turn your homebrew, cider, wine or juice into a delicious carbonated beverage within just 2-3 days. To ensure you have enough CO2 onboard we recommend using a 16g cartridge for the uKeg 64. The uKeg 64 comes standard with an 8g cartridge holder. However, additional 16g cartridge holders will be available on our website soon. Sign up for our email list and we'll keep you updated.
Can the uKeg 128 be used to force carbonate Homebrew?
The uKeg 128 currently uses a 16g CO2 cartridge. This may be sufficient, however, we're not confident that's always enough CO2 to both fully carbonate and dispense your beer to your liking. To ensure you can fully dispense, the cap can be easily removed to replace the cartridge after carbonating and before dispensing. We've had really strong interest in using the uKeg 128 to force carbonate home brew and other homemade beverages, so we're developing a specialized cap holder that accommodates 33g cartridges. Sign up for our email list and we'll keep you updated.
Can the uKeg be used with nitrogen cartridges?
You can get various mixtures of beer gas in 8g and 16g cartridges. These will work with the uKeg, however there isn't normally enough volume in these gasses to fully empty the uKeg at the pressure you'd want, even using a 16g cartridge. If 33g cartridges can be sourced and used with our 33g cap adapter then enough gas would be available.
Can the ukeg be used for non-carbonated beverages like draft wine?
If you set the pressure low enough, or use an inert gas like nitrogen or argon instead of CO2, the uKeg can dispense non-carbonated beverages just fine.
How does the sight glass work?
Beer (or other beverage) travels through an inner dispensing tube within the sight glass, that connects to the tap, while the sight glass is an extension of the vessel with openings at both the top and the bottom. The pressure gauge measures pressure near the bottom of the vessel.
When will my reward arrive? How does my backer number line up with the number of uKegs shipped?
Our goal is to have all uKeg 64 orders fulfilled by February. Stainless steel uKeg 64s ship first, followed by copper. Based on the most recent uKeg 128 production timeline, we hope to have all orders fulfilled by Spring.
Specific delivery predictions by backer number are more complicated. While we do ship by backer number first, many of the earliest backers wanted uKeg 128s, and many ordered multiple products or copper versions – meaning the number shipped won’t align by backer number.
What has taken so long?
As first-time inventors and entrepreneurs, we had a steep learning curve. While very exciting, the journey became even more challenging when the success of our campaign required us to rethink and dramatically scale up our manufacturing plans.
Finding Manufacturers & Suppliers
Our first step was finding a factory that could meet our high-quality standards and produce on the scale we needed. We couldn’t find a U.S. company with the capabilities or interest in producing a vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottle. We learned that nearly all vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottles are manufactured in China. The process of finding a factory capable of producing this complicated, new technology took several months. In addition to finding the right factory to assemble the product, we had to source the high-quality materials we needed and identify other factories that could manufacture our key components.
High Quality Standards
As of December, approximately 2,400 uKegs have been received at our fulfillment center. Our product inspection uncovered a small defect with the sight tube and a cosmetic mismatch with the plating color on some of the uKegs. That discovery meant we needed to carefully inspect every detail of all the uKegs in the shipment. The defect was fixed, but the issue caused another two-week delay.
Why is the uKeg available on Amazon before all backers have received their rewards?
Of the 2,400 products that have arrived, only 400 went to Amazon to fulfill a commitment we made even before we launched our Kickstarter campaign.
The GrowlerWerks Beginning & Marketplace Launch Plan
An Amazon rep for Launchpad discovered Brian Sonnichsen with our uKeg prototype at the September 2014 Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, WA. As the GrowlerWerks team was preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund production, Amazon offered to support us by ordering 400 to sell on Launchpad if the product was funded. Launchpad is Amazon’s program showcasing cutting-edge products from start ups. We were thrilled. Like everyone, they had to wait for the product to go through development and production delays. That caused them to remove the product from the site, until they had a more concrete timeline for delivery.
When the founders came together and knew they had potential to build and grow a successful brand, they set to work preparing the business plan that included a Kickstarter campaign to fund production and the standard launch strategy for the market place. The group set about building customer (retail partners/wholesale customers) relationships to gauge interest. One of the earliest retail partners showing support for our product was with another Oregon-based company, Kitchen Kaboodle. If we could get the product made, they wanted to be among the first retailers to carry it. A small handful of these wholesale customers were early supporters who loved the concept so much they became Kickstarter backers, as well.
Our wholesale customers include high-end retailers, online stores, breweries, home brew shops, bottle shops, beverage resellers like BevMo. At launch we wanted to have our product available to all consumers to position GrowlerWerks for success. While we knew the Kickstarter campaign was succeeding, we didn’t imagine it would succeed by more than 20 times beyond predictions. Initially, we also planned to have production complete for backers by May 2015 and planned to ship uKegs committed to retailers by August 2015.
With production delayed by six months, it meant we owed backers and customers simultaneously. When we realized the level of the demand and production scale-up could affect production deadlines, we stopped selling to wholesale customers.
The first shipment we received from the factory was sent entirely to backers. We allocated our next shipments to backers, pre-orders and Amazon to fulfill our concurrent commitments. The shipment of 1,600 being processed out of our warehouse as of December 10 is being allocated between backers and our retail partners. Some may begin selling uKegs as early as next week.
The support from our first backers and customers has been exciting and humbling and we are thankful to all of you who have supported us from our start. We are working to get product delivered to our Kickstarter backers ASAP and working to fulfill our commitments to customers simultaneously. We were disappointed when we learned we wouldn’t have most product delivered to you by the holidays and it pains us to be disappointing all who hoped for the same.
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