Meet HopBox, a Company Bringing a Sense of Aesthetics to Homebrewing
Mike Langone is making homebrewing look sexy. All those unseemly plastic jugs, rubber hoses, and clunky carboys once sequestered to the back of a closet have all been reimagined with Langone’s HopBox designs. Made with locally-sourced cedar and pine, high quality glass, and compartments loaded with homebrewing ingredients, recipes, and all the necessary equipment, HopBox is not only sleek and counter-friendly, but completely functional.
“I think a lot of people have been waiting for something like this,” Langone says. “I know when I started brewing I started with those really large bulky five-gallon white buckets, which aren’t really at home in a kitchen environment. As soon as I was done brewing I would toss the whole setup in the closet, never to be seen again. I think giving people something half-decent to put in their kitchen, that’s also functional, is an exciting idea. I know it has prompted me to brew a lot more often.”
A longtime homebrewer, Langone left his career in architecture in 2013 to pursue making designer homebrewing kits out of his Somerville workshop. Initially made from all reclaimed wood, Langone was forced to abandon the labor-intensive practice when a rush of holiday orders left him unable to keep up with demand late last year.
HopBox is currently available in four models (The Homebrewer, The Long One, The Double Barrel, and The Tall Boy) that range from a one-gallon to three-gallon brewing capacity. Most of the designs are also equipped with cobalt blue swing-top bottles to avoid the tedium of capping, as well as issues with over-carbonation, particularly the dreaded “bottle bombs.”
“My education in architecture, a passion for woodworking, and a love of beer and brewing, it all kind of came together with HopBox,” Langone says. “I think too often products want to go to a place where they work extremely well or they look great. Rarely are the two considered simultaneously. I’m trying to bring that perspective as much as possible to homebrewing.”
Langone and his two employees have already been in business for a year, with HopBox featured in publications like Popular Mechanics and Uncrate, but they’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for a bigger workspace and better tools. In less than a week, the team has already doubled their modest $45,000 goal.
“Now that we know we’ve already hit our goal, we’re being proactive and looking around for a new space that will help us streamline the whole process,” Langone says. “We want to make it a destination where people can come in and not only see how these kits are made, but how to homebrew. We want to give tips and demonstrations and really demystify the whole process.”