Regarding Kegbot support

Continuing the discussion from HowTo: Install Kegbot Server on Digital Ocean:

(This reply is a bit rushed, so apologies in advance if I’m inarticulate.)

First and foremost, if you wish to return any store purchases, please contact [email protected] asap. I have never rejected a return, regardless of the official store policy. There has been a grand total of 1 to date – a number I’m particularly proud of.

Second, I’m sorry for the poor experience. You are coming up against an issue which I haven’t fully solved for: How to market and support Kegbot’s “off the shelf” hardware while still preserving the project’s open source, DIY nature.

Historically, Kegbotters have managed to work through rough edges by way of community support (here), and have even improved the project in the process. This is by no means to say you should accept a crappy experience, but merely that Kegbot users have, on the whole, seemed to favor a bit of hackability over a finished product.

When we starting selling and building hardware, it was primarily to accelerate builds and let folks focus on customizing the software. Everything about the project is opensource for this reason: just like homebrewing, it’s meant for the tinkerer.

Not everyone has the time, interest, or even ability to futz with things, which I fully recognize. What is offered today in terms of hardware is the result of trying to make something “just work” out of the box with a recommended config. And this is where, I think, things are falling short for you: something isn’t working, now what.

On this topic specifically, unfortunately, we sold out of kits before I could follow up.

If Kegbot was doing $3-10M/yr, you could bet we would have a dedicated customer support person (among many other things!) The reality is that it’s a low margin, low volume, niche hardware business. I’d be particularly interested in perspective running such a business. Every signal (and everyone) tells me its a bad business, but despite that it’s been rewarding to run, just to see others join this unique community and get their builds off the ground.

The radio silence of late is a result of competing “day job” priorities and loss of an important business partner; things have been in maintenance mode while I rethink what to do with the project as a whole. I’ll be posting more about this very soon, and I’m very open to suggestions, but in the meantime (and to avoid even the remote possibility of any more bad experiences), the store is closed for new orders.



I had a very detailed reply penned but I deleted it. In the end, what precipitated my rant was the expectation of support. If that was removed, there would be zero frustration directed at you/Kegbot the company. You start off great with no published phone number (I completely agree with that) but your real life got in the way and you can’t get to the emails and PM’s. I absolutely get that.

How to market and support Kegbot’s “off the shelf” hardware while still preserving the project’s open source, DIY nature

I’m a big DIY and open source fan and the best solution I can come up with is for you to make it clear that this is unsupported however customers can utilize the forum. I’ve found that managing customer expectations is highly important in a small business.

I realize I came off like a dick in my quoted post and for that I apologize. It wasn’t the intention. I’m in the middle of real life as well (17 year old daughter, disabled wife, two jobs). I need my expectation managed.

Though I can understand your potential reluctance, if you want to chat with another (former for me) small business owner, please feel free to call or email. I promise I won’t mention flow meters :smile:

I love the idea of this project. I’ve been saving up for it for some time. Please stick around. The beer world is better having you in it.

Sean Ries

Hey Sean,

Thanks for the reply - and don’t sweat it! I didn’t interpret any dickishness, really; in many ways this disconnect has been looming for a while, while I’ve gradually become less responsive; and your very understandable frustration has been the catalyst for me to address it.

Rest assured I’m not going away, but I do need to revisit the store as a whole. Support aside, our modest sales volumes still don’t quite justify all the other stuff that goes into keeping it stocked and running.

I do appreciate your sincerity and interest. And I’ll try to go through some of your technical issues soon; thanks to josh and others for stepping in and keeping the community going!



I finally found another Nexus 7 to borrow and it works! I ran through the same procedure on both (wipe back to stock, starting over, then moving forward with the kangaroo zip) and the borrowed one works great while mine doesn’t. No idea what the issue is but I’m going to keep at it.

Thanks to Josh and Mikey