After witnessing his countertop craft brew dispenser rake in over $640,000 on Kickstarter two years ago, Synek founder Steve Young has once again turned to the popular crowdfunding site for help with his latest venture. Choosing to stick with what made him a load of scratch in the first place (i.e., smart alcohol products), today Young has officially launched the Somm smart wine dispenser. Armed with the capability of learning its owner’s palate and featuring hundreds of different wine varieties, Somm is like having your own personal sommelier installed in your kitchen.
Like most Kickstarter projects, Somm rewards early adopters not just with significant initial discounts on the system itself but also discounts on its wine varietals. Moreover, anyone who opts to purchase a smart wine dispenser during the 30-day campaign also gets the privilege of using the thing months before anyone else (aside from other backers, of course) even sees the device in stores. Synek even employed the help of a Master Sommelier who decided which kind of wines would be available for the device and personally tastes each variety.
“We made a big splash on the beer side of things (and we continue to grow), but I think Somm could have an even larger and more immediate impact on wine,” says Young. “There hasn’t been significant innovation in this industry in decades and consumers are demanding it.”
The innovation Young talks about comes not just by way of the machine itself, but from the system’s smartphone integration and (perhaps most importantly) its Sylo wine bottles. When users first unbox the Somm, their first task is to tell the smartphone application a little bit about what kind of wine they enjoy. Based on those preferences, Synek sends them a perfect selection of Sylos matching the specific kind of wine they like to drink. Once delivered, users need just load the Once the Sylos are delivered, users need just load the capsules into their Somm and the device automatically aerates and chills each variety to its perfect specification.
“We believe technology can make a positive impact without compromising the tradition of winemaking and consuming,” Young adds. “We see it as the natural first step for those new to or overwhelmed by wine. Further, once sommeliers see the effectiveness of Somm, I think they’ll see it as the natural next step for the industry.”
What’s also impressive about Somm is that users don’t have to drink through an entire Sylo (which holds three full bottles worth of wine) before switching to another varietal. As Young points out in the video posted to Kickstarter, “Sylos were designed for interchangeability and virtually unlimited shelf life.” Furthermore, the more people rate each type of wine they drink, the better Synek gets at not only suggesting future Sylos but improving their everyday selection as well.
Synek plans to offer the Somm for just $199 during the course of its 30-day Kickstarter campaign, which checks in at a a full $100 off its future retail price. Young also notes that unlike his previous campaign with the craft brew dispenser, all parts for the devices have already been sourced and the company is ready, right now, to go to production. Obviously, anything can happen over the course of 30 days but considering how much momentum smart alcohol products seem to be gaining as of late, Somm will likely have Synek tasting crowdfunding glory yet again.