I'm a Kickstarter fanatic. I'm pretty unapologetic about it too. My friends hate it when I call myself an "Adventure Capitalist." I hate it too. I don't like being labeled anything, but I'd reluctantly argue being a Kickstarter backer is one manifestation of being a hipster in 2017. I promise to go to the doctor if I start to show more hipster-like symptoms! I spend 5ish minutes a day browsing the crowdfunding site, making bets on awesome projects or raising my nose into the air when I know its a dud. Pico C is not a dud. With nearly $1M raised, this (semi) affordable countertop home brew system is something I dreamed of having when I was in college. Now it is here and only $300ish dollars - plus the cost of the proprietary brew packs- stands in between that dream and I.
Apartment living has its pros and cons. Pro: you don't have to spend a lot of money to make your living room look like a Día de Muertos parade had a one night stand with a Tiki Bar - a look I have perfected. Con: you're short on space for fun adult activities...like home brewing. Pico C solves this problem by making a kitchen appliance sized brew system that only takes 2 hours to brew. It'll have you imbibing your favorite Día de Muertos inspired beer, Dead Guy Ale in 2ish weeks once you rack it. The time frame is less if you cough up the extra dough for an extra fermentation tank and the forced carbonation adaptor to add that frothy fizz that we all crave. And this is where my gripe with this amazing machine starts: the continued cost to brew with this machine could make you have to decide between 6 months of car insurance and biking to work or looking like a cool Portland Home Brew Master in his 850 sq ft apartment. What a fucking Portland problem to have.
To add intrigue and a slight confused eyebrow raise is the pricing for the Netflix meets Beer service Pico Brew is offering for their home brewing customers. For $60/mo you get access to 2 Biodegradable PicoPaks shipped - for free- directly to your door whenever you're Pico C is ready to brew again. Pico Brew's fine print on how often you can request the two sent to you is confusing for a reason. They don't want to take a bath on sending out 2 PicoPaks that generally cost $25ish each and produce 5L of beer once a day to you. The way I interpret this monthly subscription service - which you can cancel at anytime - you'll probably only be able to brew 4 Pico Brews a month if you're brewing once a week - unless (wait for it) you purchase proprietary fermentation tanks. :money_mouth_face: (Sorry if you don't get the /slack reference)
I think one point that I'm glossing over: the PicoPaks are certified recipes for beers from all over the world. Some of these beers are only available seasonally at a premium cost and aren't always distributed to some of my local bottle shops. But I live in Portland, OR - so I am a spoiled brat when it comes to the delicious beer that is flowing around every corner here.
Ultimately, Pico C will cost you less in the long run than conventional home brewing would. I figure the PicoPak subscription will net you about 15-20L of beer a month if you are on top of your brewing weekly and purchase at least 2 extra tanks to rack simultaneously. I'm really on the fence with this one. As it stands the timing is a perfect storm to make such an outrageously justifiable purchase - I was fortunate enough to get in at the early bird discount price of $299 (it has now gone up to $329). A price tag that doesn't hurt as bad thanks to Uncle Sam's allowance that shows up in my bank account around April every year. Yeah, this will fit right in between my sugar skulls and tiki mugs on my kitchen counter. But I have to ask my budget conscious self: do I finally have to give up my car for the summer and live life in the fast (bike) lane or am I OK being like 99.99999% of beer drinkers and buying my non local beer like a neanderthal from a tap room or bottle shop?
The Kickstarter campaign ends on May 12...it is not too late to cancel my pledge and give the early bird pricing to some smug & lucky SOB. Take a peek here on May 13th to see what I ultimately decided.