Image via Instant Pot

Instant Pot, the company behind the multicooker with a rabid online fanbase, is getting into the beverage business with the release this week of the Ace Blender, which will be available exclusively through Walmart.

Dubbed the Instant Pot Ace Multi-Use Cooking & Beverage Blender, the new device not only blends up frosty smoothies, but also heats up liquids. From the product description, the Instant Pot Blender features:

  • 8 Smart Built-in Programs – Smoothie, Purée, Ice Cream, Crushed Ice, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond, Nut/Oat Milk, and Soup
  • 3 Manual Blending Speeds – Low, Medium and High, blender will beep 3 times and begin blending at the selected speed
  • 4 Cold Blending Programs – Smoothies, Ice Cream, Crushed Ice, and Almond (Nut)/Oat Milk
  • 4 Hot Blending Programs – Purée, Soy Milk, Rice Milk and Soup, with the ability to toggle between 2 options for purée, rice milk and soup
  • Pitcher – Premium-quality 60 ounce (1.75 Litres) glass pitcher which includes a concealed heating element and 8 machine ground stainless steel blades

All this for the low low price of $99, which is about a quarter of the price of the Vitamix 5200. Though, to be fair, we have no idea at this point how well the Ace will perform, how long the motor will last, etc. But more important than the actual performance could be the perception of functionality for existing Instant Pot users and potential new customers.

We named Instant Pot as one of our FoodTech 25, writing:

“The Instant Pot is not the highest-tech gadget around, but its affordability, versatility, and speed have made this new take on the pressure cooker a countertop cooking phenomenon. It also has a large and fanatical community, where enthusiastic users share and reshare their favorite Instant Pot recipes across Facebook groups and online forums. By becoming the first new breakout appliance category of the millennial generation, the Instant Pot has achieved that highly desirable (and rare) position of having its brand synonymous with the name of the category; people don’t go looking for pressure cookers, they go looking for an Instant Pot.”

It’s worth pulling out the millennial aspect from that analysis, as this new blender seems to tick all those little millennial boxes: It’s affordable. Its multi-function means a lot of use in a small amount of space. And there is an existing, active community online that users can connect and experiment with. (Though technically, every generation enjoys a good bargain.)

Additionally, with the heating ability, millennials (and others) can make their own alterna-milks like rice, soy and almond (the blender even comes with a strainer cloth). Which, if it works as promised, is coming at an optimal time: non-dairy milks are growing in popularity.

We should also note that Walmart has made a savvy move by getting the exclusive on the Ace Blender, as it blocks rival Amazon from selling the appliance. Amazon, which is notoriously tight-lipped about any stats, said that the Instant Pot DUO08 was its best selling kitchen appliance in the U.S. and worldwide last holiday season. As we prep for the holidays once again, Amazon is being shut out of any buzz and sales generated by the blender.

The new Instant Pot Blender will be available for sale at Walmart starting September 23.

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