A Minneapolis-based startup has developed a “personal malt-house” for those who enjoy home brewing beer. This personal malt-house, the Acro, is from Sprowt Labs.
Home and craft brewers have not had a large assortment of home breweries to choose from, which is one reason co-founders Brian Hedberg and Christopher Abbott created the Acro. Home brewers have had to rely on large industrial malting operations for consistent, good-quality malt.
The Acro can produce 10 to 35 lb of finished base and specialty malts and is easy to assemble and use. It automates the weeklong sprouting process that transforms seed to malt with the aid of an injection-molded humidifier box.
The box uses multiple climate control systems to accurately cool, heat, humidify, dry, aerate, submerge, and drain the malting vessel that contains the malting seeds. The molded humidifier box was based on earlier 3D-printed design concepts from Sprowt Labs, and has helped the company reduce the cost per product.
Hedberg and Abbott wanted to ensure their product was built to last. While developing parts and equipment, they applied for a Cool Idea! Award from Protolabs. Protolabs worked with them to create the injection-molded humidifier box for the personal malthouse.
The monetary portion of the Award helped Hedberg and Abbott accelerate the manufacturing timeline and create a higher quality product. Hedberg and Abbott had tried to work with other contract manufacturers for the needed parts, but were turned down because of the complexity of the design and the quick turnaround time required.
“We enable local farms to produce barley for their own community by engaging stakeholders in craft beer’s supply chain from breeders to brewers,” said Hedberg, “who can then use our equipment to test and prototype recipes. We connected with the team at Protolabs because they too are helping people prototype ideas and create something new.”
With the box and other components in hand fast, Sprowt Labs will be launching a better, more efficient product to market.