Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: The Cat's Out Of The Bag
Next story: Air Quality and the Peace Bridge

Erik Baker: Inventor, Artist

Get to know a Buffalonian...

The Tonawanda native and University at Buffalo senior majoring in Fine Arts with a concentration in Emerging Practices, is the brains behind the Buffalo BrewBot. Part-machine, part-art installation, Baker designed the steampunk contraption for his senior thesis. The semi-automated BrewBot uses a mechanical process to spike your favorite beverage with personalized flavors and additives.

How many beers did it take to come up with the idea for the BrewBot?

Enough to make me forget how many! It was a simple concept at first. I wish I could tweak the flavor of this beer, I said to myself. Better yet, how about if a machine could do it for me? The idea ran wild from there.

What was the design and construction process like? How long did it take to develop and test the device?

Research and development of the BrewBot consumed literally thousands of hours. I would watch video or read books and articles about factory automation and works by other artists who created original contraptions of their own. Once I had a basic design sketched out, the fabrication process began. But the model has changed quite a bit since my first conception. I call it, “design on the fly.”

Where did you draw inspiration for the artistry and design of the device?

The mechanical contraptions of Arthur Ganson and ridiculous drawings of Rube Goldberg, combined with an industrial steampunk aesthetic is where most of my inspiration was drawn from.

How does the beer taste? What are some of your favorite flavors or blends?

The beer is all home brewed and surprisingly, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on the base beers. There are over 400,000 different flavor combinations that can be made with the BrewBot, but some of my favorite combinations are the Chocolate-Espresso Stout, and the Cherry-Coconut Red Ale with boosted hops and alcohol.

Do you see a market for the BrewBot and if so, are you exploring plans to bring it to the consumer?

The original prototype for the Buffalo BrewBot is being redesigned in a much more condensed, efficient, and streamlined system that can be implemented in restaurants, bars and brewpubs, to bring the consumer millions of new flavors of their favorite beverage.

BONUS: Where does your invention lie on the spectrum between practicality and artwork?

This thing is completely impractical, but it’s a wonder to look at.

blog comments powered by Disqus