PicoBrew blindsides Kickstarter backers with astonish stretch goal

PicoBrew has been around for a while, making beer brewing easy, even for people who dont know the difference between hops and hops. The companys current Kickstarter campaign is for the Pico C, a small home brewing appliance to stimulate brewing even easier, using a Nespresso-style cartridge approach to stimulating your own home brews. Today, the company announced a surprise upgrade option to its campaign a whole new appliance. The PicoStill is a small still to make hard liquor from the beer you induced with the Pico C. Im not sure these kinds of astonishes are a great idea.

On the topic of moonshine, I should point out that the company( wisely) doesnt indicate you go and brew your own gin right off the bat. PicoStill can be used to distill hop oil, water, and essential petroleums. Licensed and properly permitted craft distillers can also use the PicoStill to make a wide range of alcohols, including vodka, whiskey, bourbon, moonshine, gin, brandies, schnapps and more. Can you hear the wink, wink, nudge, nudge in that sentence, right around where it says licensed and properly permitted craft distillers? Yeah, me too.

Anyway. As exciting as it is to spring a whole additional piece of kit on your backers, Im not going to lie: I genuinely hope that this isnt the start of a trend. Hardware startups are hard( I should know ), and scaling hardware fabricating is an art in itself. Weve watched many of the more popular hardware crowdfunding campaigns crumble under their own weight( ahem, were looking at you, Coolest Cooler ), not least because they added layers and layers of complexity to a product as so-called stretch objectives. Adding a whole new piece of equipment to the mix is brave , to put it mildly.

Dont get me wrong; PicoBrew is an excellent company, and theyve successfully delivered on promises in the past. Theres nothing that stimulates me think that itwont deliver this time, too. I further admit that a $479 brewing machine/ still early-bird kit is causing my finger to hover over the pledge now button. The believed to be having a home brewery and still in my ownhome is so unbearably cool that I scarcely know what to do myself. Of course, thats exactly what marketing is meant to do( It worked! Congratulation .)

Having said that: Surprising backers with major changes halfway through a campaign builds it much harder to do due diligence. Whenever you back a campaign on any crowdfunding campaign, you should ask yourself, Do the promises a company is making about a product make sense? Do I have faith in their ability to deliver? The provide answers to that topic could change significantly if the campaign changes the goalposts halfway through, and makes it much harderto be a diligent crowdfunding backer.

PicoStill is available now to Kickstarter backers for $170, or packaged with the Pico Model C for $479. It will retail for $349 when it makes stores later this fall.

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