Today PicoBrew announced they were opening up the Pico brewing system to allow brewers to make beer using their own ingredients. The update, called UnPak’d, allows users to create their own recipes crafted via PicoBrew’s online recipe crafter tool, and then brew using their own ingredients through a new ‘manual brew’ option available via the updated Pico menu. As part of the update, PicoBrew will also make available a new reusable grain bag and smaller hop/adjunct bags that users can load ingredients into for their brews.
From today’s email to Pico users:
“When the update completes, you can choose the new Manual Brew option from your Pico’s main menu, set the desired time and temperature for your first step, and start the brewing process. You have full control of the brewing process by selecting the duration and temperature of each step, to brew your target wort profile.
To help you adapt your existing recipes, and to create new ones from scratch, you now have access to the RecipeCrafter tool the next time you log into your PicoBrew web account. Once you have a recipe, fill the BrewBags with your grain, hops and other ingredients and start brewing!”
The company first hinted it was considering opening of the Pico brewing system to allow customers to bring their own ingredients last year. At the time, they were considering letting users buy their own PicoPak pulp containers – the containers that the pre-packaged PicoPak beer ingredients ship in – but it looks like they opted instead for, thankfully, the lower-cost option of reusable brew bags.
The opening up of the Pico brings the consumer brewing appliance one step closer to that of the company’s pro line, the PicoBrew Z (and the original Zymatic), the modular system that allows brewers to craft their own recipes. The price point, however, is much lower, with the Pico UnPak’d Bundle now available for $329, while the lowest cost model Z starts at $2,199.
In a way, the move aligns the Pico with a trends towards more open systems in recent years. Whether it’s the forthcoming BEERMKR brewing appliance or the CocoTerra home chocolate machine, newer entrants to the all-in-one home food machine space allow customers to bring their own ingredients in addition to offering ingredient packs. Not only does this allow for what is likely the lower-cost of bringing-your-own ingredients, it also gives makers room to grow and create on their own. With this move, PicoBrew might attract some of the holdouts who were hesitant to buy a closed brewing system and wanted the freedom of brewing with their own ingredients.