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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Calling all engineers, tinkerers, inventors, mad geniuses, and problem solvers

Straight from the boss' desk, a proposition for the mechanical minded...
If you've ever purchased bulk liquid malt extract from Siciliano's, you know that we don't have a high-tech dispensing system. In fact it's pretty low tech. Okay, it's downright abysmal. In conjunction with our expansion, we would like to upgrade to a more user-friendly, self-serve arrangement. The problem though is that we're merchants, not engineers, and we have absolutely no idea how to go about designing this.

So, here's the deal. We're asking for your help.

My vision: I would like to have some kind of setup that would hold four 33-lb malt extract containers (see pictures below). The individual containers would be easily brought forward by the handle (preferably by the customer) to dispense the desired amount of malt into the customer's container. We would also need a way to move a digital scale back and forth, from side to side, in order to accurately weigh the syrup poured from the malt containers above into the customer containers below.

The malt containers are 10” deep, 6” wide and 15” high. We'll have some empty containers at the store in case you want to take one for design purposes.

We would love to hear your ideas as to how this can be executed. In fact, we would love it so much that I have a crisp $50.00 bill for the winning design. In addition to cash, we'll make up a nice plaque indicating that the malt dispensing station was designed by: (THE APPROPRIATE NAME OF THE INDIVIDUAL OR BREW CLUB)

Let's hear your ideas!

(Or, pass this along to anyone you think might be interested.) 


  1. Well I'm no engineer either, but it seems the easiest thing to do and would cost considerably less than the $50 you're giving away would be to...

    Drill holes in 4 caps insert and seal rubber tubing into each cap. The tubing should be long enough to reach bottom of extract container and extend far enough out to reach scale, where customer container will be. (Below the counter)

    Now all you have to do is attach a pinch clamp and voila a dispensing system real cheap and run by gravity. Just move caps to new containers as needed.

    You, of course, might want to create a low box or frame to secure the extract containers on the counter, but you get the idea.

    You can keep the $50 ;-)

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, BigDog. I'll pass it along to our panel of "experts" for review.