Kickstarter is the birthplace of many devices, clever ideas all, but littered in the aftermath are many tales in which donors funded a product only to see it fail to materialize.
That is why some viewed with skepticism the launch last week of PicoBrew’s combination craft beer maker that brews kombucha and makes juice infusions, as well as hot tea, and pour-over coffee.
Seattle-based PicoBrew was founded by a former Microsoft vice president, Bill Mitchell, and his brother Jim, a food scientist specializing in food processing. Avi Geiger, a hardware engineer at Microsoft is the third co-founder. Together they understood that the challenges of bringing even the best ideas from the drawing board to full-scale production are daunting. That is why they decided to partner with Flex, one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world.
It was a smart move. Currently the project is 724% over-funded, with 1,687 donors pledging more than $362,000 and three weeks before the June 21 deadline. The campaign, the fifth Kickstarter by PicoBrew, could easily top $500,000 in donations.
The PicoBrew U offers a single device with a modest countertop footprint. PicoBrew is really offering a system that combines several successful products that the company has launched since 2010. The basic machine, priced at $169, makes coffee, tea, and other beverages. The deluxe, which adds beer and other beverage capabilities, sells for $199 on Kickstarter. These machines will retail for $249 and $299, respectively, in department stores beginning in 2019.
One reason for donor exuberance is that kitchens are now crowded with a half dozen beverage making machines from Sodastream seltzer makers to Keurig capsule machines, juicers, blenders, and the old reliable electric tea kettle (multi-temperature, of course).
“We founded PicoBrew in 2010 with the vision of democratizing craft beer by allowing anyone to brew delicious craft beer, leveraging the expertise of the craft beer community,” say founders Bill Mitchell and his brother, Jim. Three years later the company added a fully automatic all-grain beer brewing appliance. The Zymatic improved the precision, repeatability, and overall quality of beer-brewing at home. A countertop version followed in 2015 and by 2017 the company had become so skilled it launched its Z-Series, a professional-grade, all-grain brewing appliance used by craft brewers around the world. The company now employs 57 and has received many prestigious awards and honors including 3 CES Innovation Awards, an IFA Best of Show, multiple Editor’s Choice picks, and more.
“We’ve received so many awards in fact, that Fast Company recently named PicoBrew the 10th Most Innovative Food Company in the World,” according to the company.
According to the Kickstarter description: “Pico U is a smart and compact brewing appliance that makes it easy to create your favorite craft beverages: From your first cup of coffee or tea in the morning to a kombucha or yerba mate afternoon pick-me-up to delicious pints of fresh craft beer as your end-of-day treat. Imagine sipping on an ice-cold black rice horchata or a crisp lemon cilantro dry soda that you created yourself. Pico U lets you brew just about anything!
The company claims “you just can’t buy beverages as fresh as the ones you’ll make using your Pico U in your own kitchen—and that’s what we love about the Pico U. If you can dream it, you can drink it!”
- Craft beer – With the full-size step filter and 5-liter stainless steel brew keg, Pico U is ready to make delicious batches of craft beer. Load the PicoPak of your choice, add water, press the button, and you’re brewing!
- Coffee- Newly-designed, pour-over basket turns your Pico into the ideal way to brew a perfect cup of coffee! Using your own fresh grounds, select your brew style and amount, and a fresh cup of coffee is just 90 seconds away.
- Fusion beverages – Brew a refreshing pitcher of iced horchata, ginger lemon kombucha, citrus dry soda, yerba mate chai tea, vanilla cocoa cold brew, golden milk, and more with the Pico U! With the 1-liter glass Bruet and Mini Step Filter, you can brew practically any drink with our new PicoPak Mini recipe kits. Load a PicoPak Mini, connect the Bruet, and the Pico U can smartly brew a wide array of unique beverages.
Source: Kickstarter (PicoBrew)