If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, it doesn’t get much more crafty than what you brew in your own kitchen. While you may think that you don’t have the equipment or the expertise to make your favorite malted beverage in the comfort of your own home, PicoBrew is urging you to think again. The company, which has previously introduced beer enthusiasts to a wide range of countertop beer brewing devices, has now debuted its latest offering. It’s called the Professional Z Series, and it’s heralded as the company’s first all-grain brewing appliance line.
Made specifically for restaurants, bars, brewpubs, and yes, even craft breweries looking to produce smaller batches of custom beers and kombucha, the Z Series are now available for pre-order. And while the professional-grade level of this new PicoBrew offering will stand up to commercial use, it’s also just as appropriate for homebrewers who may be looking to introduce more precision, repeatability, and larger batch sizes (because hey, now that you’re known as the one who makes the beer, you’re hosting all the parties).
The Z Series promises brewers the ability to produce up to 10 gallons of beer at a time depending on the model selected. There are four appliances in the line — the Z1 through the Z4, and each produces 2.5 gallons more than the last (with the Z4 boasting the greatest capacity). But aside from output, the PicoBrew Z Series promises a number of new and improved features, including upgraded fluid distribution and heating components, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity to create recipes that can be precisely controlled in terms of temperature, fluid flow, and timing.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the Z Series is its modular design. If you start off with a Z1 but discover that you actually have more demand than anticipated, you leverage the modular, rackable, and stackable chassis components in order to scale up to a larger model.
“We have heard the demand for larger brewing-volume solutions from our customers loud and clear,” said Dr. Bill Mitchell, CEO of PicoBrew. “After almost two years of experimentation and prototyping, we arrived at the Z Series: A modular solution that can meet the needs of advanced homebrewers, bar and restaurant owners, and pro-brewers alike.”
Brewers have the option of either brewing with their own combinations of loose grains and hops, or can use new so-called ZPaks, 2.5-gallon craft beef recipe packs introduced specifically for this new model. These ZPaks, PicoBrew says, will allow Z Series owners to brew larger batches of fresh beers from some of the biggest names in the craft industry, including Grossen Bart, Paradox, Rooftop, and Stoup Brewing. All these packs are filled with fresh grains and hops, and need only to be loaded into the step filter compartment of a Z Series machine. From there, the Wi-Fi-connected home brewer will download the correct recipe and begin brewing.
ZPaks will be priced between $30 and $40 and should begin shipping this summer once the first Z Series units begin making their way to customers.
Of course, you can also use PicoPaks with the Z Series, whose recipes come from more than 200 breweries from around the world, so you can reproduce some of your favorite beverages at home. And thanks to the newly introduced PicoBrew Network (PBN) for Homebrewers, anyone can upload a recipe and create their own PicoPaks. Better still, if your PicoPak proves popular, you can earn royalties, effectively making money off your passion.
“While we have all probably dreamed of quitting our day jobs and opening a brewery, startup costs, and a competitive landscape make this option unworkable for most homebrewers,” Mitchell said. “The PicoBrew Network (PBN) gives homebrewers the opportunity to distribute the beers they create and earn royalties, while PicoBrew does all the work of marketing, manufacturing, and fulfilling the Paks.”
The Z Series can be pre-ordered beginning for the introductory price of $1,500 for the Z1. If you’re looking for the largest appliance in the lineup, you can pre-order the Z4 for $4,000. All members of the Z Series begin shipping in June.
Updated on March 14: PicoBrew adds ZPaks to go alongside the new Z Series.