Often new technology is good, whether it’s a spectacular advancement in medical science or just a new gadget that brings you hours of joy. Sometimes, it’s bad, like the infamous Keurig, a device that seemed to exist simply to break the stranglehold of Big Coffee on... coffee... by suckering people into buying a proprietary, wasteful, and unnecessary single-serving device.
But at least there are reasons to buy a Keurig—it’s somewhat easier and more efficient than making your own coffee, and in a setting like an office, it at least partially negates fights over which lazy coworker should be responsible for brewing the next serving or cleaning the machine. There was less use for others trying to replicate its success, like the utterly useless Juicero. And now LG is launching the umpteeth attempt to bring that business model to beer, the Verge reported on Monday, with a new device called the LG HomeBrew.
Homebrewing tends to be more of a craft hobby than a convenience, involving learning about the history of beer, the possibility of experimenting with one’s own brews, and making something yourself instead of just buying it. HomeBrew does none of that. According to LG’s description, HomeBrew takes care of everything for the consumer with an “optimized fermentation algorithm” and a “clever capsule system” in which all ingredients are pre-selected:
HomeBrew not only offers an incredibly simple way to make craft beer, it also enhances the quality of beer it makes. An optimized fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control for guaranteed brewing success. The clever capsule system also removes all the cleaning-related frustrations associated with traditional home-brewing methods. It automatically sanitizes using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.
It’s not clear how much LG’s device will cost, but per Tom’s Guide, competitors’ variants run between $329 and $799. LG says its device will offer five flavors (“hoppy American IPA, golden American Pale Ale, full-bodied English Stout, zesty Belgian-style Witbier and dry Czech Pilsner”) and take somewhere around two weeks to generate about 1.3 gallons, which comes to about 14 12-ounce bottles’ worth.
Of course, homebrewing kits are nothing new, but they’re generally intended to make brewing your own beer easier, not do it for you. Since the user is more or less not involved in the LG HomeBrew process beyond hitting a button, it’s hard to see the appeal for hobbyists.
For people with a more casual approach—nothing wrong with that!—one might wonder whether the expense of the device combined with the price of the pods will actually result in a customer saving money compared to just picking up a 12-pack. And, with the craft beer market still exploding, there’s more of a selection than ever! So this is the kind of thing that’s all too likely to end up just collecting dust in your basement.
In any case, if you have too much money and too few appliances, or simply find yourself in desperate need of a substance to imbibe in the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2019, LG says it will be demonstrating the HomeBrew at its booth there.