Brewing is an art form requiring patience, some basic chemistry skills and plenty of trial and error to make a perfect drink. There’s a reason they call it “craft” beer. But not everybody has the time, resources or know-how to turn their home into a brewery.
This is where PicoBrew comes in — a company making a “Keurig for beer.”
The product, known as Pico, is a tabletop brewing system that works in a similar manner to its caffeinated cousin. Instead of coffee-filled pods, the system uses Pico Packs, which contain all the necessary ingredients to brew. The packs are designed and licensed by breweries from around the country, so Pico owners can have brewery-quality beers made in their own kitchen. Environmentalists can rest easy, as the packs are biodegradable.
“We’ve got over 100 craft breweries that have joined with us to produce these Pico Packs … which is everything you need — the grain, the hops and the recipe — the process that will produce craft beer just like they intended you to taste it, in the comfort of your own home,” said PicoBrew Founder Bill Mitchell, in an interview with Reuters.
The system includes the Pico, a fermenting keg and a dispensing keg. Users insert a pack into the Pico, add water to the fermenting keg, and have the option to modify the bitterness and alcohol-content by using a dial. The brewing process takes about two hours (the recipe is downloaded via Wi-Fi to the device) after which the beer will need to ferment between three and five days. Once it’s fermented, transfer the beer to the dispensing keg and allow it to sit overnight to carbonate before drinking.
A batch yields five liters of thirst-quenching goodness, which is about 14 standard bottles. The packs range from $15 to $29, a potentially expensive price tag for a glorified 12-pack from most stores. This is why the company created the Brew Marketplace.
The Brew Marketplace is where breweries and homebrewers can upload Pico Packs they have available for purchase. Some big names in craft beer, such as 21st Amendment, Abita and Rogue, have packs, but many of these brews can likely be found in specialty stores. Allowing nano-breweries and homebrewers the chance to create packs means people can brew something they won’t be able to find so readily, if at all.
The Pico is available for the pre-order price of $699, with an expected ship date in July. Around that time, the price will jump to about $999. PicoBrew hopes to attract not only at-home enthusiasts looking to brew in a simplified manner, but also small breweries hoping to develop brand recognition beyond the limiting means of traditional distribution.