Beer here: Local homebrew startup lands licensing deal

chris and conner trebour

Chris, left, and Conner Trebour bought the startup in 2016 and rebranded it a year later. (BrewPerfect)

As it looks to go into capital-raising mode, a local homebrew equipment startup has struck a deal with an industry giant.

BrewPerfect, which makes a WiFi-enabled hydrometer for homebrewers, signed a licensing deal late last year with Blichmann Engineering, an Indiana-based brewing hardware company.

Father-and-son duo Chris and Conner Trebour bought the startup in 2016 and rebranded it a year later. BrewPerfect’s flagship product is a digital hydrometer, which measures the alcohol by volume, gravity and temperature of homebrewers’ beer in real time and displays it on a mobile app.

Conner Trebour, who’s also an agent at Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville Real Estate, said BrewPerfect signed a deal to license its software to Blichmann, which makes both commercial-grade and homebrewing equipment.

Conner said talks for a deal began after they met Blichmann at a homebrew trade show in Oregon.

“(Blichmann) had launched a connected product themselves and didn’t want to keep doing software stuff,” he said. “It got outside of their niche. They wanted to stay in hardware so they approached us and asked, ‘Can we license your software?’ We said, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’”

Blichmann makes brewing hardware for both commercial and home brewers. (Courtesy Blichmann)

They created a new company, BrewLink, whose purpose is to license out BrewPerfect’s software. Trebour said they signed a five-year deal to be Blichmann’s software provider.

The deal coincides with a fundraising effort by BrewPerfect, which would allow it to develop more software for homebrewers. Trebour said they’re now trying to raise about $500,000 in investor capital.

Trebour said most of BrewPerfect’s sales are from its online store or through Amazon, and that they’re in a select few homebrew brick-and-mortar stores around the country.

The company formerly had an office in the Westwood area of Henrico County. Trebour said BrewPerfect now operates remotely.

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