Today PicoBrew announced the latest addition to their connected homebrew appliance lineup, the Pico C, in a newly launched Kickstarter campaign. Alongside the lower-priced entry, the company also is debuting BrewUnlimited, an all-you-can-brew subscription service for $59 a month.
The newest Pico is a cost-reduced version of the Pico S, the original Pico model. By offering their new beer brewing appliance at $549 retail (and starting at $279 for Kickstarter backers), the company is looking to make the homebrewing more affordable to those who may have been curious about trying tech-enabled brewing but were unwilling to drop the $800 required with the previous generation. At these lower prices, chances are both existing home brewers who may have been reluctant to abandon their traditional methods and homebrew-curious newbees will be more likely to take the plunge.
In order to make the latest version of their homebrew appliance more affordable, the company made slight modifications such as replacing the all stainless steel exterior with a black powder-coated exterior and a slightly lower fidelity OLED screen.
Today the company is also introducing its first subscription service called BrewUnlimited. The service will cost $59 a month and will allow a Pico user to brew as many PicoPaks as they wish per month (with the only limit being the customer can have only two unbrewed PicoPaks at any given time).
In an interview, company CEO, Bill Mitchell told me the thinking behind the new all-you-can-brew plan.
“We’re committed to make sure people will see new PicoPaks they want to brew,” he said. According to Mitchell, the company is adding new PicoPaks based on recipes from craft brewers at a rate of five per week, and the BrewUnlimited plan will allow Pico users to explore these new beer recipes more freely.
“It’s like Netflix for beer,” said Mitchell.
As with any subscription plan, the individual user will need to do the math and see if they brew enough to make it worthwhile. Mitchell told me the typical Pico user brews two PicoPaks per month. With the typical PicoPak costing about $23-$25, the new subscription service makes sense for anyone who brews three times a month or more.
With this announcement, the company is also adding its first mobile app. Called BrewPulse, the app will allow you to order new PicoPaks as well as monitor the progress of the brew. While much of the monitoring by the app is based on standard timelines for fermentation, the new app will be able to make more precise estimates of the fermentation curve progress if the homebrewer leaves the fermentation keg next to the new Pico. According to Mitchell, the Pico C has an ambient temperature sensor that will be able to help better predict progress. In short, higher temperature means faster fermentation.
The company is also introducing a newer, simpler brew keg. The Pico C keg, which unlike the older ball-lock kegs, is dishwasher safe. The newer keg, which is the same volume (1.75 gallons) as the old keg will have simplified connectors. According to Mitchell, there will be conversion kits available for those with a Pico S so they can also use the Pico C keg.
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