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Whirlpool Corporation finalizes sale of Vessi® Fermentor to 80West Labs

BENTON HARBOR, Mich., June 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Whirlpool Corporation has finalized the sale of its Vessi® Fermentor to 80West Labs, a company created by Prota Ventures, an operator-investor group based in Chicago, and KZValve, a Nebraska-based firm involved in the original engineering of Vessi. Vessi, a home beer fermentation system, was developed by WLabs of Whirlpool Corporation, the company's rapid innovation branch.

"We are excited about the plans 80West Labs has for Vessi," said Doug Searles, general manager of WLabs. "As Whirlpool Corporation's innovation incubator, we explore new product and marketing opportunities to address consumer needs.  We are proud of the impact Vessi has made in the homebrewing community and what we have been able to learn about early adopters."

Vessi was launched by WLabs of Whirlpool Corporation via IndieGoGo in May 2016, and quickly sold out and met its funding goal with early backers of the product. The appliance – a single tank that is sealed, pressurized, and temperature-controlled – allows homebrewers to continue to experiment with flavors and ingredients while bringing more consistency and ease to the fermentation process.

Vessi was born out of Whirlpool Corporation's internal business concept challenge to employees, called SPARK. With several homebrewing enthusiasts at the company, the idea quickly took off and was developed further at WLabs. The project was unique from the outset with Whirlpool Corporation edging into the homebrewing culture.

80West Labs will continue to support consumers who have bought Vessi since its launch.

With offices in rural Nebraska and downtown Chicago, 80West Labs was named after the interstate that connects KZ Valve and Prota Ventures, bringing together unique perspectives and capabilities with a Midwestern work ethic and passion for technology and craft beer. 80West Labs seeks to advance the craft of brewing by making professional grade, intuitive, and connected products for homebrewers. The company is currently collaborating with existing customers, homebrewers, and craft brewers to uncover insights and evolve the Vessi product line.

"We have assembled an experienced and passionate team at 80West Labs focused on taking Vessi to the next level," said Kyle Buzzard of Prota Ventures. "We are excited for the opportunity to continue to evolve Vessi in collaboration with the brewing community, and to create products that make brewing a more fun, accessible, and social experience."

About Whirlpool Corporation
Whirlpool Corporation (WHR) is the world's leading major home appliance company, with approximately $21 billion in annual sales, 92,000 employees and 65 manufacturing and technology research centers in 2018. The company markets Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, JennAir, Indesit and other major brand names in nearly every country throughout the world. Additional information about the company can be found at WhirlpoolCorp.com, or find us on Twitter at @WhirlpoolCorp.

About 80West Labs
80West Labs was created by a partnership between Prota Ventures, an operator-investor group based in Chicago, IL, and KZValve, a family owned engineering and manufacturing business located near Omaha, NE. 80West Labs has a team of designers, engineers, technologists, marketers, and craft beer enthusiasts, with expertise and capabilities in domestic and international manufacturing. More information can be found at 80westlabs.com, protaventures.com, and kzvalve.com. Contact: 80West Labs- info@80westlabs.com, Prota Ventures- kyle@protaventures.com, KZ Valve- idealabs@kzvalve.com

Whirlpool Corporation Additional Information
Certain statements in this press release relating to post-sale product expectations constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of U.S. federal securities laws. These statements reflect management's current expectations regarding future events and speak only as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties, should not be read as guarantees of future performance and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether or not, or the times at or by which, events will occur. Actual performance may differ materially from that expressed or implied in such statements. Reference should also be made to the factors discussed under "Risk Factors" in Whirlpool Corporation's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon what are believed to be reasonable assumptions, investors cannot be assured that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements, and the differences may be material. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release and, except as expressly required by applicable law, Whirlpool Corporation assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.

 

Whirlpool Corporation (PRNewsFoto/Whirlpool Corporation)
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