Business Update - July 2023

by Bart van de Kooij, on Jul 30, 2023 10:27:01 PM

Minibrew_toolinspectionIn the past two months, we have been incredibly busy with working toward the first production run, as well as replenishing brew packs and improving our repair process.

Despite facing significant challenges due to the impact of COVID-19, our factory and subvendors have shown remarkable resilience in recent weeks. Although there is still work to be done to overcome the effects of China's 'zero COVID' policies over the past three years, we are making steady progress towards our production goals. We expect delivering our products after the summer holidays, and we would like to share the key updates with you.

GEN 3 Production Update

In the last update in May 2023, we communicated that every production process, our main assembly partner is buying components based on lead times and produces components in their facility. In mid-April, we made the decision to replace our wooden panel with a robust cover and aimed to deliver the first tool release in June 2023.

Fortunately, our tool partner didn't disappoint; they were able to deliver on schedule, completing the molding for the robust cover. As part of our quality control process and to ensure the highest quality, our sourcing manager, Steven, personally visited the factory in Shenzhen to inspect the tool and the off-tool (OT) samples end of June.

Minibrew_toolinspectionTool inspection

Minibrew_toolsamplesSample inspection - black colour doesn’t reflect real colour

During his visit, Steven inspected various aspects of the product. We are super excited to show you the first version of the GEN 3 Smart Keg. 


First samples of the new GEN 3 Smart Keg

Based on feedback, we decided to leave out the pad printing on the top and side, as the steps in the app/browser are explained clearly.

Steven inspected as well other items 

      • Improved thermal grease for better cooling
      • Changed the material of the Keg Stand to improve durability
      • Changed the Top Housing, Back Metal Plate, and Base Metal Plate after deciding to make a robust cover; the metal plate required a change as well
      • Removed a few Rubber Foots
      • Removed the back-up battery in the Smart Keg; we discovered that removing the battery has no influence on brewing, as the back-end pick-ups store your data in case the power drops from your Smart Keg
      • Removed the lips on the hops top cover based on customer feedback. We tested the hops top cover without lips, and it remains in place as the dot at the front keeps it grounded

GEN 3 Production Planning

Based on the off-tool inspection, our team and the main assembly partner decided to approve the first samples and move forward from OT to EB (Engineering Build). Our factory is planning to run an EB production on August 14, which is within two weeks from now.

During the EB phase, about 25 samples of the GEN 3 will be manufactured. In the EB production phase, all assembly stations will be tested, and certifications will be updated before we start with the first Production run in September. If all goes well, we expect to ship these products and realizing our planning of delivery after Summer Holidays. 

New Brew Packs

Our production partners in the Netherlands have ramped up and replenished over 10 new brew packs that were out of stock for a while. We are stoked that we can offer 16 out of 21 different recipes in our store!



Brewpack portfolio of MiniBrew Shop

We are thrilled to share the exciting news that the Porter from Stapzwan, the Wingman Robin from Bird Brewery, and the Sputnik and Bonfire brew packs will be making a comeback! These brew packs offer incredible recipes that you can brew after the Summer Holidays.

On top of this, we are going to introduce a new Brew Pack.  More information will be available soon as we are finalising the recipe with global malt supplier called Boortmalt from Antwerp. 

In the UK, we are in the last phase of pricing with The Maltmiller. We hope to get the ball rolling soon.

Update Repair Process

At the beginning of the year, we continued to repair machines at MiniBrew colleagues' homes. Basically, we arranged a return via DHL or FedEx, which was a time-consuming and pricey process to arrange.

In early July, we started a collaboration with Returnista. They have partnerships with local carriers and over 120,000 drop-off points to create an easy return process for you. As we are shipping more products, we expect the number of questions about returns to grow. In the future, we will proactively share a link on how to return a broken machine or request a refund if you are not satisfied with your purchase.


Minibrew Return Page

As for now, the return page only recognizes a MiniBrew SH order numbers and not outside order numbers made via 3rd parties. We are optimizing the return page for these cases and hope to realize this in the near future.

Despite the low number of repairs or returns due to dissatisfaction, we believe that having a dedicated space in our warehouse would reduce the time required to repair a unit from 12 to 4 weeks. In this warehouse, all spare and service parts are kept in stock, eliminating the need for shipment to our colleagues' homes. Therefore, we are focusing a lot of effort on preparing this room.


Minibrew Repair Room - needs an upgrade 

Software issue process

Over the weekend, we encountered a temporary issue with access, but we're happy to report that it has been resolved! We wanted to take a moment to explain how we handle these situations.

When an issue arises, we receive an alert in our Slack channel from our monitoring tool, Datadog. Internally, we create a ticket to assess the impact on our machines and determine if it's causing any performance issues or outages. We also check our social channels, communities, and support system to gather additional information and confirm the issue.

If it becomes clear that the operation of all machines is at risk, we escalate the ticket to our dedicated team of developers. They work diligently to address the issue during the week and even have a standby external team available on weekends, thanks to our Service Level Agreement. We also keep our status page and social channels updated to keep everyone informed. Please note that during these times, we may receive a high volume of messages, which could result in longer response times.

In this particular instance, the issue occurred on Saturday morning and proved to be quite challenging to locate and fix on the same day. However, we're pleased to inform you that it was resolved by Sunday afternoon.

  • If your brew is currently in the fermentation process, rest assured that your time has not been affected, and it will continue as planned.
  • If you were stuck at any step in the brewing process, please reach out to our support team so that we can manually move your brew to the next stage.

For future updates, please subscribe to th  status page or keep an eye on our X page for real-time updates.

How to prevent future issues

Looking back at the past year, we've had a few hiccups with our server, encountering three issues. However, our system's uptime has been consistently high at 99.5%. In the short term, we're taking steps to improve by increasing the frequency of alerts in DataDog and closely monitoring the expiration date of certifications for our tools and systems. Moreover, we're committed to enhancing our communication when you encounter any difficulties accessing your system. In the long term, our goal is to make our system even more reliable and ensure that you have a seamless brewing experience, making you less dependent on us.

Hiring - Service Engineer

Want to join the MiniBrew team? We are searching for a service engineer who can help us out with repairs. This role requires presence in the Netherlands (Zoetermeer). It's an 4-8 hours a week task, depending on the amount of repairs. Please reach out to - we don't reply on recruitment agencies

Next update

In the next update, we will share more information about the progress of GEN 3, and other plans. Thanks again for your patience. Please share any feedback/thoughts in the comments. Thank you as always, and happy MiniBrewing!


MiniBrew Team

Topics:MiniBrew Update