Kickstarter Competition: Beer Edition

It’s always interesting to see how different products compete with each other over Kickstarter. I wrote about the playing cards phenomenon at Caffeineforge, and I’m planning on looking more closely at the wristwatch madness that seems to have boomed in the past few months. I also noticed Sunski and Enclave Eyewear go at it a little when Enclave launched shortly after or near the end of the Sunski campaign with an equally impressive pitch for nice sunglasses that don’t break the bank.

In terms of competition, the playing cards aren’t really targeting the same group of consumers (since they focus on the content of the art rather than the playing cards themselves, although clearly there is a small group of card maniacs—the middle of the Venn diagram). The sunglasses do. The watches might be as well, and I’m curious to see how projects fail or succeed. I’m sure this will reveal some of the same things as the playing cards: projects with well thought out pitches, a reasonable reward structure, and a focus on the uniqueness of their deck/watch will succeed more than those that lack these.

But in the past two days, two very niche beer products have been released. Yesterday, I noticed the The TapIt Cap: The beer growler’s best friend and was pretty impressed with the idea and the pitch:

tapit cap

Basically, it’s a universal cap that will fit the ubiquitous glass growler and help keep beer fresh by providing a layer of CO2 on top of super fresh beer. The pitch video is very professional although maybe a bit long. Based solely on my common sense, $80,000 seems like a lot to ask for, although they have clearly invested a lot in the project and probably need that amount to get the real deal created. The biggest downside of this project is that the video doesn’t feature the actual finished version of the product, which will eliminate the hose and put at tap on top of the cap rather than connected via a hose. I wonder if this isn’t a result of the Kickstarter prohibition of “product simulations” and “photorealistic product renderings.”

And just a few hours ago, another impressive beer project launched. The Perfect Beer Drinking Vessel and Private Keg! product “Drink Tanks” is a stainless steel beer growler that can be fitted with a tapping system very similar to the TapIt cap:


I was excited to catch this project early as the first 200 growlers are only $35, not a bad deal at all; in comparison, I bought my brother a decent vacuum-sealed stainless steel growler for $50 two Christmases ago. You can opt to add the cap for $30, which is less than the $40 the TapIt cap is asking for their product. The pitch here is very professional, and although the video is a minute longer than the TapIt cap video, it doesn’t feel that way – fewer folks talking for long periods of time. Their goal is also $50,000 LESS than the TapIt cap—$30,000 feels reachable, and it’s clear that they’ve invested quite a bit of money in the project already. Several of the rewards are for multiple units, which seems to go against the Kickstarter guidelines that requires that rewards be one item or one SET (e.g. a set of blocks, a set of salt and pepper shakers), but I feel like Kickstarter added that requirement to provide a way to easily reject projects whose only purpose is to get rid of pre-existing inventory (i.e. not creating something new); if a project is reasonable about the number of items in a reward, they seem to be allowing it on a case by case basis. This is something I can get on board with.

My prediction: Drink Tanks gets funded but the TapIt cap does not. It’s really unfortunate that these projects launched so close together. TapIt cap has made 14% of it’s goal in one day, which bodes well, but I wonder if some backers will opt to pull their funding and pony up an additional $25 or $35 (depending on where in the first 200-400 customers they choose to fund) to get a growler along with their CO2 sealing cap. I think the biggest thing in Drink Tanks’ favor is their lower funding goal. $50,000 is a lot of money for projects that aren’t able to offer much in terms of boutique reward levels.

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