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Pico Model C
PicoBrew’s new Pico Model C home brewing appliance. (PicoBrew Photo)

Raise another glass to the folks at PicoBrew as they continue to make advances in their quest to bring simplified home brewing machines to the masses.

The Seattle-based startup launched a new Kickstarter Monday morning to introduce the Pico Model C, a re-engineered version of the company’s automatic craft beer brewing appliance. The Model C will be available to early backers for just $279 — which is a significant savings compared to the $800 cost of the previous Model S.

“We’ve spent a significant amount of time listening to our customers who were early adopters of the initial Pico to identify areas where we could streamline and simplify the use of the appliance even further,” PicoBrew CEO Bill Mitchell said in a news release. “By making improvements to our hardware with a sleeker design and easier-to-use and clean brewing keg, and by offering a more accessible price point, brewing fresh craft beer at home can be a reality for an even larger number of craft beer enthusiasts.”

Mitchell, the former Microsoft executive, founded PicoBrew in 2010 along with his brother, Jim Mitchell, a food scientist, and engineer Avi Geiger. Their first machine, the Zymatic, was introduced in 2013 and the Pico Model S, aimed at kitchen-counter brewers, debuted in 2016.

PicoBrew Model C
PicoBrew targets consumers with brewing machines which are small enough to fit on a kitchen countertop. (PicoBrew Photo)

PicoBrew’s mission has been to simplify the home beer making process by radically reducing the equipment and time needed to brew quality craft beer. Ready-to-brew PicoPaks containing the measured ingredients for beer, are available from a wide range of brewers in the company’s BrewMarketplace. In October, GeekWire took home a Model S to run through the process and get an idea just how easy it could be, and whether the end result was worth it.

The new Model C, which will retail for $549 when it hits stores later this year, has been tweaked in a number of ways on the inside and out. While the Model S will continue to be the company’s flagship machine, with its stainless steel exterior, the new appliance comes with a black, powder-coated exterior; a two-line OLED display instead of four; and an easier to use and redesigned brew keg.

“We’re big fans of Tesla, and going from their Model S to the Model 3 has certainly gotten their customers excited,” Mitchell told GeekWire. “So I guess you could say we’re stealing a page from their playbook: pioneering innovation on the more expensive product then engineering cost reductions so that you can bring a lot of these benefits to a true mass-market product.”

BrewPulse app
PicoBrew’s new BrewPulse mobile app. (PicoBrew Photo)

PicoBrew is also launching two additional supporting products in conjunction with the Kickstarter:

  • BrewUnlimited is a new PicoPak subscription service that allows customers to brew as many PicoPaks as they want for just $59 per month, including shipping. Customers are limited to two unbrewed packs at any time during their subscription, but as soon as they brew may reorder.
  • BrewPulse will be a new mobile app to help beer lovers manage their “beer life.” Users can purchase PicoPaks through the BrewMarketplace, monitor the progress of a brewing cycle in real-time, and track fermentation and carbonation progress through to the finished beer. The free app will be free for iOS and Android and timed to Model C shipping. It will also work with the Model S.

PicoBrew’s Kickstarter campaign has a goal of $350,000 for production of the Model C, and it runs through May 12. The $279 price point will be available to backers on an initial offering of 500 Pico Model C units.

Mitchell said PicoBrew continues to grow. The company now has 56 employees and its custom PicoPak manufacturing facility in Renton, Wash., is fully operational. The company has sold and shipped more than 20,000 PicoPaks and they are adding more than five breweries a week to the Pico Brewer’s Network.

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