At booth No. 72351 of the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) inside the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, one Seattle startup did something a little out of the ordinary to catch the crowd’s attention. PicoBrew featured a Citroën H Van to showcase Pico, their brand new beer brewing appliance.
It got lots of looks, and outright scrutiny from two fellows from France that had never seen a H Van with non-suicide doors. In fact the vehicle, which belongs to George Dyke, a PicoBrew board member and leading angel investor, is one of the very few export models produced by Citroën with “typical opening” front doors. To accomplish that Citroën fitted shrouded external door hinges and raised the front step to get into the van, both distinctive features not found on European spec models.
Several months ago, the PicoBrew team was trying to come up with marketing ideas that would help get more PicoBrew-made beer in the hands of customers. That’s when George noted how Citroën H Vans are in high demand as a “cliquey” food trucks and volunteered his for the company to use at CES. “We’re an unconventional company, so we rebelled strongly against the idea of doing a conventional booth anyway,” said PicoBrew CEO Bill Mitchell. “This was a no-brainer.”
Pico is the world’s smallest and easiest to use craft beer brewing appliance. It uses ready-to-brew- PicoPak ingredient kits created by dozens of craft breweries around the world. Load a ready-to-brew PicoPak ingredients kit, attach a keg of water and start brewing. Brew cycles typically take about 2 hours to complete. When the keg cools, add yeast and set aside for 5-7 days to ferment. Because external kegs are used, you can brew multiple batches of various beers in a day and enjoy beer fresh from the tap—anytime and anywhere. “The awesome thing is that we are at a show where we have mostly technologists and people who love beer — the Venn diagram is 100 percent overlapping,” Mitchell said. “So people stroll along and say, ‘wait, tech and beer?’ What’s not to like about that, right?”
PicoBrew not only attracted the attention of CES attendees, which include media, investors, and other industry insiders. The startup has been a CES Innovation Award honoree for the past two years. In 2015, it won an award for its original high-tech Zymatic beer-maker, which allows amateur brewers to easily craft various beers from scratch or from recipes on their kitchen countertops. This year, it won for Pico, the smaller, faster, and easier-to-use version of the Zymatic that is half the cost.
See more of the H Van at the PicoBrew booth at CES in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ9-4bfvJ0M