November 4, 2014
Joe Hackel got the inspiration for his startup Pop and Stop, formerly Boulder Bombproof, to solve a serious need in the craft beer community. As you may know from experience, beer does’t stay carbonated long in the fridge.
Focused on a mission to develop a beer opener for every occasion, with a sealer for special times, Hackel and his team at Pop and Stop have successfully dealt with this issue. You can drink half of a 22 ounce bomber, or normal sized craft brew, at lunch and then enjoy the same bomber the next evening; it’s like you never even opened it.
Stop and Pop has seen some positive early adoption and traction, and as the product has been developed the team has found countless uses beyond simply keeping a beer fresh. I sat down with Hackel to hear more about this unique piece of hardware.
Tech Cocktail: What are the main uses, outside of the obvious?
Joe Hackel: Use it as a cap to transport a previously opened beer home from the local brewery. Enjoy your beer on the lift up and toss it back in your pack as you shred back down the slopes. Use it at a BBQ, picnic, or concert. If you want to down your full beer or bomber, than screw the seal and just use the wide edge of the opener to pop that cap off in one – and only one – crank of the wrist.
Bombproof was born out of exasperation. It was frustrating since I’m A) frugal, B) like my microbrews, and C) an engineer. I put those things into a blender and out popped an idea – you can reseal beer with a little basic physics. Adding the opener to it made it a one-piece unit
Tech Cocktail: Why did you decide to get involved with the craft beer market?
Hackel: The Craft Beer industry is on the upswing, and it’s currently valued at $14 billion in the US alone. Not only that, it’s expected to grow to $18 billion in just a few years. Phenomenal growth like this needs new products to promote enjoyment.
And we’re on to something, because people I show it to often buy the unit right from my hands.
Tech Cocktail: What were some of the challenges getting started?
Hackel: Refining the design was a challenge. We decided early on to focus on using 3D printing because of the speed you can get a new design into users’ hands. Plus, there is huge customization available with using 3D printing, so this has been a triumph. But 3D printing is a double-edged sword: The downside is the strength of 3D plastic isn’t as sturdy as others.
Tech Cocktail: How are you marketing your openers to new markets?
Hackel: Currently there are very few combined openers/sealers available on the market. There’s one in the German market, Hermetius, but none in the US. It’s a brand new market segment.
As such, we’re seeing late Gen-Y and Gen-X, educated and opinionated, users adopt the product. They want to differentiate themselves with the new and different. We go to beer events, as well as startup events, to get this demographic while also tapping the people who will be the evangelists to their less craft-beery friends.
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