Alpha Dominche, which burst onto the the specialty coffee scene six years ago with the launch of the high-design Steampunk brewing system, has announced that it has shut down all business operations.
An announcement from Alpha Dominche CEO Thomas Perez came from seemingly out of nowhere for backers of Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns for Alpha Dominche’s Flask home brewing device. To them, Alpha Dominche CEO Thomas Perez wrote:
Hello Kickstarter and Indiegogo Backers,
It is with great regret and sadness that we share the following:
Effective today December 4th, 2018 Alpha Dominche Limited is closed and all business operations have ended.
The company is exploring options to continue with fulfillment of the Kickstarter and Indiegogo if possible and will keep all backers advised. The Company greatly apologize for this news, the hardship it causes, and will keep you all informed of any updates. You may not receive any correspondence for some time while this situation is finalized.
In another letter sent to clients and partners and attributed to “The AD Team,” the company announced that all sales operations, technical support, spare parts fulfillment and internet/server maintenance for the Steampunk brewer and Flask brewer have ceased. The company said it has explored “every reasonable option” to stay in business over the past year, but that it has been unable to secure the necessary resources.
“Although our hearts are broken and this moment is painful, it is our hope that the spirit of startups within the coffee industry is not defeated by our narrative,” the letter stated. “Although this story is ending, we urge our customers and partners to continue pushing the boundaries of brewing excellence and continue building a better cafe experience for all.”
In addition to the Flask crowdfunding campaigns, Alpha Dominche had also been engaged in an equity fundraising campaign through the Crowdfunder platform. While the amount of equity raised through that platform is undisclosed — the target was $1 million in seed money — the Kickstarter and Indiegogo platforms combined pulled in more than $232,000 in February in March of this year.
The company had been supplying backers with monthly updates up until yesterday’s announcements.
In its short time in business, Alpha Dominche has stood at the vanguard of coffee equipment design, while toeing the line between the commercial and consumer categories.
The company was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah, by Khristian Bombeck in 2012. Bombeck, who has since gone on to create equipment design company Saint Anthony Industries, is the inventor of the Steampunk brewer — a pressure-based immersion brewer for coffee, tea and other beverages — that also functions as a stylish talking point atop coffee bars.
In 2014, Bombeck parted ways with the company, ceding the CEO role to former Bodum CEO Perez, as the company was relocated to Brooklyn, New York. In 2015, the company made its European debut, while announcing distribution agreements on five continents.
In 2016, at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Atlanta, the company unveiled its second major product, a full-immersion batch brewer called The Sight. That product, however, never reached full production and was pulled from the company’s product catalog as of this year.
In February of 2017, the company opened a public showroom and progressive roastery cafe in Brooklyn called the Extraction Lab. The space served as a place to show off coffee brewers for both the commercial and consumer segments, and this past June it was announced that acclaimed Danish roaster La Cabra was partnering in taking over the roasting space.
In August of last year, the company announced it was becoming the U.S. distributor for Italian-made Dalla Corte products, with a particular emphasis on the high-end home products such as the Mina espresso machine and the Max grinder.
In late 2017, the company unveiled The Flask, a press-style brewer intended for the high-end home brewing market. The announcement was followed early this year by the two highly successful crowdfunding campaigns, although The Flask was never fully brought to market.
As of this writing, Alpha Dominche has shut down all its social media pages.
[Note: This story has been updated. A previous version incorrectly stated the combined amount raised through Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns for the Flask brewer.]
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.
I said it then, and I’ll say it again.
The Flask is just an overpriced glass aeropress with a Stagg Prismo on the bottom.
Good riddance, I won’t be missing them.
They cheated a lot of us out of money. We believed in the product and the stability of the company when we (the backers) invested in them. The month prior to this announcement they pushed for an upsell of accessories which seemed prudent at the time (buy spare parts and filters so there would not be ongoing costs.)
There was a vague murmur of retooling needs with the enamel versions but the glass core product was told to us to be complete and shipping in “weeks” but then nothing. Then it was stated to be coming Dec 6th and then this? Nothing logistical has been explained, nor any legal explanation for the record. Yet the ” You may not receive any correspondence for some time while this situation is finalized.” is legal PR speak for don’t tell your customers anything that could get you sued.
$15,000 for a machine that requires you to logon to a server in order to brew?? Like…what the??? Insane. They came to Brooklyn with their pompous product, which led to the advertisement of an $18 cup of coffee and poof now they’re gone. Good riddance.
“Free the SteamPunk Machine from Limbo.” Indiegogo effort …