Pico is like the Keurig for homebrewing beer


Pico is a fully-automatic appliance that lets anyone brew their own mini kegs of craft beer, on demand.


Consuming an ice-cold brewski isn’t that difficult. Brewing it on your own, well that’s a different story. Fortunately, one Seattle-based startup is looking to do the same for beer as the Keurig has done for coffee. PicoBrew’s 3D printer-like appliance can be used by just about anyone to craft their own malted beverage inside their own home.

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If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you recall the team’s initial product, the Zymatic, which debuted earlier this year. The ATmega1284P powered device enabled ale aficionados to make their own stouts, porters and IPAs right from their kitchen. PicoBrew had raised more than $660,000 on Kickstarter and has since shipped more than a thousand machines. Now, its creators have returned with a smaller, faster and more user-friendly version of the Zymatic, which also happens to be half the price.

Whereas the Zymatic was originally geared towards experienced brewers, the Pico has been designed with the hobbyist in mind. The latest gadget employs much of the same technology as its older and bigger sibling, but with reduced complexity and cost. Ideal for any countertop, the Pico itself measures only 12 inches wide and is capable of producing five liters of fresh beer after a single brewing session. That size is more along the lines of a coffee-maker than a microwave.

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One notable feature of the Pico is the its new PicoPak system, which includes conveniently pre-packaged ingredient combinations (ranging from award-winning porters to Munich malts) from craft breweries throughout the world. These may be purchased and customized to taste. All the user has to do is fill a keg with water, load the hop and grain modules with the pre-packaged goods, and hit “brew.” Once it’s done, the beer is fermented by adding yeast from the PicoPak, and then transferred over to a mini keg where it stays for five to seven days to carbonate.

What’s more, PicoBrew recently launched a PicoBrew BrewMarketplace, which allows any brewer to publish their beer ingredient combination and earn royalties on every sale. Meanwhile, customers can find great craft beer by exploring ratings and recommendations and even communicating directly with the brewer.

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Earlier this year, the company also introduced its second product, KegSmarts — a Wi-Fi unit that attaches to a standard kegerator and provides information, like temperature and quantity, on an OLED display — all of which can be monitored and controlled from a mobile device.

Ready to brew your own personalized craft beer? Head over to Pico’s Kickstarter campaign, where the PicoBrew crew is currently seeking $200,000. Delivery is slated for April 2016.

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