Farmington Hills resident David Vogel’s unique solution to a common problem for home brewers started out as a way to resolve his own brewing dilemma.
While living in Florida, he found the beer-making process especially difficult, because of the climate.
“It was extremely hard to brew, unless you bought specialized equipment,” he said, explaining that maintaining the right temperature for two weeks is a challenge “when it’s a million degrees outside.” And variations in temperature can lead to disappointing flavor.
Home brewers will often create make-shift coolers, some will even rewire refrigerators to maintain the 60-plus degree temps. Surprised that he couldn’t find an pre-made insulated cooler that would fit a fermenting container, Vogel designed Cool Brew. The cooler bag that accommodates the container and ice packs or plastic bottles filled with water and frozen. Information on the Cool Brew site shows home brewers which size bottles to use, how often to change them out, and more detailed data.
By the time Cool Brew launched in 2012, David and his wife, Melissa, had moved to Grand Rapids. The business, which started in the couple’s garage, quickly grew, and soon, they were accepting regular semi-truck deliveries. When the Vogels moved to Farmington Hills two years ago, they found a distribution center in Wixom, from which products are shipped across the country.
Cool Brew is also catching on in Europe. Last month, Vogel struck a deal with a large distributor there and pitched the product at a trade show in Belgium. Through all of this – and the development of new products released this spring – he kept his full-time job, while his wife, Melissa, has helped manage the business from home. The Vogels are also the parents of two pre-school children, and David said he intends to keep the company family-owned.
“My goal is to make it a full-time thing,” he said. “I think the new products will definitely put us there with the home brewers and the breweries.”
The business has grown pretty much as Vogel expected. However, he added, “It’s more work than I ever would have imagined.”
To learn more about Cool Brew, visit cool-brewing.com.