The following is a listing of drinking gadgets, hardware and tech that I am presently too poor to review personally. I wish I had the cash for these but time will tell. If you personally have one, please feel free to comment with your own take on their actual application.
Fizzics beer dispenser: Looks like a 1 bottle keg replacement. Having had to clean beer lines before I can only imagine how hard it would be to clean and sanitize this bastard without a slew of bottle brushes and a gallon bucket of iodine wash. Retail at $200. On sale for $150 last time I checked.
Jevo Jello Shot Machine: Really intended for the bar itself rather than the home, this machine appear to still be in the pre-order process. Pricing isn’t listed unless you fill out a contact form. It also appears to use “flavor pods” which sounds like a K-cups scheme to try to lock you into their supply of basic ingredients when you can get 12 pounds of unflavored gelatin for about $150. I have some friends who regularly make trays of these shots but I don’t think the countertop unit would save that much time.
Somabar: Robotic Bartender: A completed kickstarter that is still in the production process. You can pre-order one of these for $429. It holds up to 6 ingredients in the “pods” on either side. I’m sure there is an optimal load for one of these things to make the maximum number of drinks but I can think of 6 base sprits to put in the thing right off the bat so if you’re really into craft this isn’t going to last very long. Additionally I’m betting that carbonation isn’t going to fly which removes anything with coke, ginger ale, club soda or tonic without adding an extra step. The size of this thing in photos says it will fit in any kitchen, but I’m betting someone in a loft apartment with an efficiency kitchen isn’t going to have the counter space for something this size. This is certainly one of the best looking units I’ve seen recently but I don’t think it’s ready for anything more complicated than a good highball. I can make a lot of screwdrivers with four-hundred dollars.
Picobrew Zymatic: Countertop beer brewing appliances are hardly new but this one clocks in at a whopping $2000. Brewing 2.5 gallons of beer in about 4 hours is an amazing accomplishment when you take a lot of the hands on aspects of the process into account. I’m not as into home brewing as some other people I know but most of them don’t have the scratch to plonk down on something this big. Carboys are cheap and so is most of the associated equipment. If you have the time but not the money you can do bigger and better things cheaper. If you have the money but not the time, maybe go support one of the many fine craft brewers who are working to break into distribution in markets dominated by the likes of AB-inbev and Millercoors.
ALCHEMA: Cider is the new beer. Fruit juice is cheap and plentiful and you barely have to do anything to it for fermentation to start. The process can be finicky, having one batch of accidental cider some out tasting like old shoes is more than enough incentive to look for better options. Clocking in at somewhere around $500 depending on when you backed it or pre-ordered this is not a consumer grade piece of tech. Unlike the Picobrew, this process appears to take a bit longer. 1-2 weeks for cider and longer for some other things like mead or wine. Having just gotten off of a cider making binge this somewhat irks me. Primary fermentation, or the simple transfer of sugar into alcohol is pretty quick, but the resulting output is often cloudy, full of yeast and has a lot of odd flavors that can be removed if you remove the solids and let it sit and rest for a bit before drinking/bottling. This machine seems to want to accelerate that process by taking the finished product out as soon as possible. The self sterilizing carafe is a nice touch and does remove a lot of the messier aspects of the cider process but again, $500 buys a lot of craft cider and you don’t have to wait 2 weeks to see if it’s good.