You no longer have to keep your moonshining business a secret — depending on what you’re distilling. Last April, the creator of the PicoStill from PicoBrew home craft beer brewing system introduced what it’s calling the PicoStill, an attachment to the PicoBrew that will allow you to legally distill hop oils or water.
And now, that magical device is shipping. So while you’ll still have to keep any actual moonshine a secret (because it’s illegal to distill your own spirits at home), but you can, at the very least, own a still.
The PicoStill was introduced shortly after PicoBrew launched a Kickstarter campaign for its most affordable craft brewing system, the Pico C (which ultimately became the most well-funded food Kickstarter campaign ever, raising over $1.9 million). But as exciting as the brewer itself was, the PicoStill add-on truly stole the show. The accessory can be used to produce hop oil, which can replace the more lengthy process of dry hopping in brewing. Hop oil can quickly infuse beer with the aromas of hops that dry hopping might otherwise take up to a week to accomplish.
The PicoStill makes use of its copper distilling coil and glass infusion chamber, which sits over the Pico C Keg. The coil heats a clean container of water, then the vacuumed container of the PicoStill lets it boil at a low temperature. Then, the resulting vapors run through the hops (or whatever else you may have in the PicoStill), extracting oils, and then cool back down by way of another coil, condensing back into liquid form in another container. Really, it’s just a miniature version of a real still, and is therefore capable of distilling not only hop oils, but also essential oils, water, and sure, spirits as well. Just make sure that you have the proper licenses and permits to do that.
Kickstarter units of the PicoStill are currently being fulfilled, but the add-on can be purchased separately for $249 from the PicoBrew website. Don’t dally though — this pricing will only last for a limited time, after which the price will increase to $349.
“We wanted to develop a product that would help homebrewers and professional distillers take it up a notch,” said Dr. Bill Mitchell, CEO of PicoBrew. “We’re excited to get the PicoStill in the hands of our backers and see how creative they get while experimenting and developing their own unique flavors and aromas.”
Of course, we must offer a caveat emptor: Obtaining a license to legally distill spirits is a lengthy, exhaustive, and expensive process. And distilling without one is potentially dangerous; the penalties for getting caught with moonshine include a hefty fine and jail time after the first offense. Consider yourself warned!
Updated on March 7: The PicoStill is now shipping to Kickstarter backers, and can be purchased for $249 from the PicoBrew website.