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A 3D printer for craft beer?

posted 22 February 2016 at 16:37:58

Although 3D printing purists will no doubt disagree with the description, the Pico, developed by Seattle start-up company PicoBrew, is a compact, affordable ‘plug and play’ home brewing machine. Described by CEO Bill Mitchell as a ‘3D printer for beer’, the concept does have parallels with 3D printing: you put in the raw ingredients at one end, clever software does the number crunching behind the scenes, and out the other comes the desired object – in this case a glass of craft beer! (There are a few extra steps involved… but the same can be said for a 3D print).  

The Pico is aimed at amateur brewers, fits neatly on your kitchen counter and can make 5 litres of fresh, top-quality craft beer in one brew. All the ingredients come ready-measured and pre-packaged, so you just fill a keg with water, load the hop and grain PikoPaks into the machine, tweak the alcohol/bitterness levels, and hit the ‘Brew’ button. The process goes like this: wait about two hours for it to brew, then add yeast and wait for a week for it to ferment. Once it’s carbonated in the keg, your beer is ready to be quaffed. The ingredients are sourced from breweries around the world, so all the hard work of finding the best combinations and flavours is done for you.  

PicoBrew has also launched a BrewMarketplace, so any brewer can publish their own beers and earn royalties on sales and so far, 75 brewers have signed up. The first batch of Pico machines ships this May.   

Image: Courtesy of PicoBrew Inc (