PicoBrew, a pioneer in easy-to-use home-brewing machines in which AB InBev holds a minority interest, has presented a new entry-level device, called Pico Model C. The machine automatically brews beer at the push of a button and goes through all of the stages of the traditional brewing process. The device uses prepackaged sets of ingredients called Picopaks that include all of the needed ingredients in a biodegradable housing. The packets, which make around 5 liters of beer, are available for a variety of over 50 different beer types or for customizing your own brew under the new Freestyle program. The company also developed a new mobile app tfor ordering additional PicoPaks.
The first 500 units of model C will be sold for only $279 as part of a Kickstarter campaign starting this week. In fall, when the product will be available in stores, the regular retail price will nearly double to $549. This is still considerably cheaper than the price of its predecessor, called Pico Model S, which had been sold at a retail price of $799.
The new Pico Model C is a trimmed down and further improved version of Model S with a hard plastic instead of a stainless steel construction, a smaller readout, a dishwasher-safe keg and simplified hose connections. "We have taken strides in simplicity, as well as costs, too, and listened to the feedback from our customers," said PicoBrew CEO Bill Mitchell, who founded the business in 2010 with his brother JimMitchell, and partner Avi Geiger. All three of them had previously worked as engineers for Microsoft and brewed beer only as a hobby.
During the Kickstarter campaign, which was intended to run through May 12th, the company wanted to raise $350,000 for production. Within 3 hours after the start PicoBrew already collected half of the money and after two days more than 1,600 backers signed up for a sum in extend of $500,000.
Home-brewing devices like PicoBrew fill a market niche for private users, who want to brew their own beer without installing sophisticated home brew equipment. Many market observers see a huge potential for such machines, when the price comes down to a more affordable level.
Home-brewing devices should not be mixed up with devices for the immediate consumption of beer like draft beer dispensers or the new in-home alcohol drink system, which is currently being developed by Keurig Green Mountain and AB InBev (inside.beer, 8.1.2017).
It looks like AB InBev wants to have a foot in the door for either solution of home beer appliances, whatever system will be successful in the future.