Swanky home brewing kit HopBox killing it on Kickstarter

Image provided.
Image provided.

In just one day Boston entrepreneur Mike Langone and his childhood friend Matt Gorman reached their $45,000 crowdfunding goal to increase production of their luscious home brewing kits. They’ve now passed $100,000.

“Things have been moving pretty quickly,” Langone said.

The HopBox brew kits distinguish themselves from what you might find at your local wine and hops shop, featuring a warm wood display rack and sexy blue glass flip-top bottles. Each kits holds all the necessary ingredients, tubes, and recipes in hideaway cubbies.

For Langone, brewing isn’t about making the next best beer so much as the process and experience. He wanted people to brew a batch and be able to say, “Okay, that’s what fermentation looks like.” A big part of that was getting rid of all the plastic, the stuff you would typically “shove into a closet” when the batch is done, Langone said.

HopBox started back in January of 2013 and succeeded almost from the start. Places like Uncrate, HiConsumption, and Popular Mechanics took notice. The Kickstarter funding will help the company move out of their small and limited workspace so they can keep up with demand and grow their business model to include a quasi education component.

“I wish the whole process had been a little more approachable and obvious when I started,” Langone said.

Langone found home brewing while at college in the unforgiving winters of Syracuse, N.Y. The process started using just about the least sexy object one can conjure: a five gallon bucket. An architecture student with an interest in woodworking, Langone eventually merged the brewing and the woodcraft to make custom kits out of reclaimed wood and elegant glass components.

Finishing a display unit.

Last holiday season HopBox got busy enough that they stopped taking orders in November. With its splits, warps, and general misbehavior, the reclaimed wood became too burdensome for the level of production HopBox had achieved, Langone said.

As of Monday morning the company’s Kickstarter had surpassed $104,000. The campaign ends May 31.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the response. It’s just blown me away,” Langone said.

I could hear bubbling in the background.

While we talked on the phone Langone was brewing beer for a Kickstarter success party.

People approach HopBox thinking Langone is “some sort of guru.”

“I don’t want to let anyone down by saying this but I’m really not,” he said. “I’ve come up with a few batches that are really great and I’ve come up with a lot that really sucked. My approach has always been toss in whatever you want if it turns out great, fantastic. If not learn from your mistakes.”

Langone hopes to emphasize that learning.

The duo hasn’t found the perfect fit yet but wants to create an environment where people can come and go free of judgement, learn about home brewing and how HopBox kits are made, and maybe even brew a batch in house.

“My ultimate goal is to bring home brewing to as many people as possible,” Langone said. “To bring them an experience that I really enjoyed and see what they can do with it.”

George is a regular contributor to BetaBoston, and can be reached at george.levines@gmail.com.
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