Pico is an idiot proof Wi-Fi connected craft brewing kit (Wired UK)


A home brewing kit that takes a cue from pod coffee machines is hoping to encourage more people to brew their favourite craft beers at home.

Pico, the second home-brewing kit from Seattle-based PicoBrew, uses easy-to-follow recipes to remove the hassle and risk from home brewing.

“It’s an app store for beer,” founder and CEO Dr. Bill Mitchell tells WIRED at CES 2016. And in a room full of tired journalists, the offer of a taste of craft ale proved unsurprisingly popular.

Mitchell says the aim of the project is to get more people brewing but also to allow microbreweries to have their beers sampled by anyone, anywhere. Come to Portland and sample an amazing IPA? When you get home, order the ingredients online and brew up your own batch.

More than 100 craft breweries from as far afield as Canada and Peru have submitted their recipes to the PicoBrew store, from which customers can order the combination of ingredients needed to make a five litre keg of beer. Breweries get a commission on every order and, according to Mitchell, the system is a great way for customers to share feedback to improve brews.


Pico, which raised more than $1.4m (£954,000) on Kickstarter, is set to ship to backers in April but the company behind it has ambitious expansion plans. After exhibiting at CES 2016 in Las Vegas the company is heading to the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany in March to try and tap into the potentially lucrative European market. Pre-orders placed now will ship in spring, PicroBrew said.

The mini-fridge sized unit lets small craft breweries around the world share their beers more widely. According to Mitchell this has the added benefit of customers getting fresher beer, rather than bottled versions that might be months old. “It’s a reliable version of the beer,” he explains.

Brewing is a simple process of adding the right ingredients, pressing a couple of buttons and then waiting. The process takes about two hours, with fermentation lasting anything from two days for a lighter beer to two weeks for a “big Belgian”. As well as the main unit the Pico also comes with a fermentation keg and a drinking keg.


Pico has built-in Wi-Fi so it can download recipes ready for brewing and carries out a steam self-clean after each brew. All the components are also dishwasher safe.

The Pico can also alter the bitterness, strength and sugar content of beers to make them more palatable to individual customers. So-called “freestyle” packs even let users brew up their own creations, which can then be shared online for others to order.

On offer now for $599 (£408), but eventually retailing at $999 (£680), the Pico is the followup to the Zymatic, a far larger $2,000 (£1,360) system designed for microbreweries. The new system is fully automated and relies entirely on pre-packed ingredients, which its developers say makes it almost idiot proof.

PicoBrew’s ultimate goal? “We want to get the world brewing,” Mitchell says.

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5 January 2016 | 7:02 pm – Source: wired.co.uk


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