PicoBrew, a crowd funded company in which AB InBev holds a minority interest, has presented Pico U, “the world's first universal brewing machine”, which does not only brew beer but also coffee, tea, kombucha, yerba mate, horchata, cilantro soda, golden milk, Thai iced tea or whatever else you want to brew. Spirits can be produced with a separate PicoStill accessory. Pico U can replace some of PicoBrew’s older entry-level models, which are only designed to brew beer.
Just one year ago, PicoBrew presented its entry-level home-brewing device Pico C, which sold for $279 as part of a Kickstarter campaign with a regular retail price of now $399. (inside.beer, 4.4.2017)
Pico U will be available in January 2019 in two versions. The basic version costs $169 in the early kickstarter phase and brews only coffee, tea, and fusion beverages. It makes single serve coffee and tea, and produces 1.4 liter batches. The deluxe version for $189 in the early kickstarter phase includes everything in Pico U Basic plus a brew keg and full step filter, which allows brewing 5 liter batches of craft beer and other fermented/carbonated drinks. The price jumps to $250 for the basic version and $299 for the deluxe version when the crowdfunding campaign ends.
The draw-back for users is the fact that the new device relies again on PicoBrew’s signature PicoPaks, which are ready-to-brew ingredient kits and which makes brewing beer more expensive than buying ready-made beer right from the store. However, the experience of brewing your own beer should be a value to itself for the customer.
The customer should also keep in mind that brewing beer or kombucha takes about two hours and another seven to 10 days for the fermentation. Fusion beverage like horchata take between one and two hours for brewing; golden milk is ready in 20 minutes and only your coffee or regular tea is immediately available after one and a half minutes.
PicoBrew is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and has raised a total of $20.2M in funding. The company was founded in 2010 by Bill Mitchell who is still the CEO of the company. Main competitors are MoreBeer!, Brew U Chico and Northern Brewer, the latter since October 2016 also being part of AB InBev through its subsidiary ZX Ventures. (inside.beer, 19.10.2016)