By: Susan Vecera
Beer has been around for centuries, so it is not surprising that home brewing has historically been a popular hobby. But given the increased popularity of craft beers, one would think that home brewing is on the decline. Right? Wrong! In the United States alone, there are an estimated 1.2 million home brewers and this population was responsible for increasing the total gross revenue for home brewing shops by 10% in 2014.
Generally the home brewing process is rather simple. The tricky park is keeping the bottles sterilized and getting the bottles to be completely dry before filling them. If the bottles are touched after being sanitized or not dried completely, the beer could become infected with bacteria; thus spoiling the batch. To minimize the chances of this happening, entrepreneurs Mitchell Lesbirel and Casey Binkley designed FastRack.
FastRack is a trademarked and patent pending system for racking, drying and storing empty beer bottles. With the simple to use system, bottles are inserted upside down allowing excess liquid to drain and the bottles to dry completely. FastRack saves space and is more efficient than beer bottle trees, which take up a lot of space and time to set-up. Each FastRack holds 24 standard long neck beer bottles and the racks are stable enough to be stored one on top of the other.
Though FastRack was originally designed for commercial use in restaurants and bars, Binkley’s experience with home brewing helped these college roommates see that the FastRack could benefit multiple customer types. Helping transform this frat boy idea into a viable company and steer the young entrepreneurs onto the path for success was the RIC Centre. The RIC Centre provided FastRack with guidance on grant applications, introductions to key industry contacts and access to an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). When asked how the EIR helped FastRack, Lesbirel said, “Being paired us up with an EIR that had in depth knowledge about the plastics industry was tremendously helpful in advancing our business. Plus our EIR was readily available to be our sounding board and guide us to make smart decisions for our business.”
RIC Centre offers a variety of free services for entrepreneurs, including mentorship services, hands-on workshops and networking events. Could your business use commercialization support to take your technical innovation to market? Would you like to receive professional guidance every step of the way? Consider becoming a RIC Centre client and get your business on track for success.