May 31, 2021

Something New: The Canary Cap

Today I’m launching a new project: Canary Cap. It’s a swing-top bottle cap meant to assist home brewers (not just beer, but kombucha, wine, mead, cider, ginger ale–to name a few) by giving them a real-time pressure reading inside their bottle throughout the fermentation process. Fermentation “under pressure” is what makes the finished beverage fizzy and delicious. The yeast and/or bacteria eats the sugar, converting it to CO2, which results in carbonation and a pressurized bottle.

The problem, as I discovered when I started brewing kombucha, is that many variables affect how quickly a brew will ferment. This means you’re effectively making an educated guess everytime you open your bottle.

Sometimes you’ll wait a few days, open your bottle, and find that absolutely nothing happened–the fermentation never started. Or you’ll open the bottle and it’ll have progressed much faster than usual, resulting in your brew exploding out of the bottle and making a huge mess (my wife was never that happy about decomposing strawberries being ejected onto the kitchen ceiling). Canary removes the guessing games, basically.

Well, That’s Random..

Yeah, lol. There’s a couple things at play here. First, it’s a problem I’ve experienced first-hand, and everytime I’ve had this problem my mind went to potential solutions. But I’m also fairly taken with the emergence of 3D printing and the ability for the masses to start producing their own physical products. It’s just one of those areas where barriers to entry are nose-diving: Modeling software is getting easier to use, printers are getting cheaper and more reliable, the unit economics are amazing, and the old model of manufacturing is on the cusp of being completely disrupted (in my opinion..).

Lastly, after taking 2020 off post-Contently (turned out to be a fine idea), I realized I was burnt out on software and wanted to try something new. All those things led me to Canary, and after four months of prototyping, it’s a reality!

Lots and lots of prototypes

This project is very outside of my wheelhouse, so to speak, so I have a lot to figure out with respect to production and scale. My hope is that it becomes successful in its niche. After that, I may stick with physical products for a while, go back to software (still my first love), or–what I’d really love to do–focus on making new ideas work, no matter how quirky or in what category. Or I may just get a real job, hah. But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, if you’re a home brewer and want to know what’s happening inside your bottle, check out Canary!