Right now in Las Vegas, hordes of tech brands, tech media, and technophiles have descended on the city for CES, the consumer electronics industry’s biggest trade show. Each year, new products are unveiled and, occasionally, things take a fortuitous turn and cross into our wheelhouse: drinks.
Enter PicoStill, a new distilling device that’s small enough to fit on your kitchen counter. It comes from PicoBrew, the company behind a line of beer-making appliances for home brewers and microbreweries. They’re billing this new mini still as a means to create essential hop oils for beer. But they also note that “licensed and properly permitted craft distillers or individuals can also use the PicoStill to produce a wide range of alcohols.” That’s where our interest lies.
Now, as hinted at above, not just anyone can distill liquor. And that makes sense—you don’t want your neighbor blowing off his roof, or gifting you a bottle of methane-laced brandy.
But many craft distillers got their start distilling at home, teaching themselves the trade and tinkering with recipes before moving forward with a fully-licensed (and expensive) operation. So without condoning unlicensed distilling, we’ll just mention that this new contraption might make that easier, if one were so inclined. And even more importantly, it will make it safer. From the company:
“PicoStill incorporates the most precise temperature control and safest technology to make distillation both simple and safe. PicoStill is a modern-day vacuum still that mitigates inherently dangerous situations produced when alcohol vapors are near open flames or other sources of ignition by using indirect heating sources and operating under vacuum to reduce temperatures and prevent flammable vapor leaks. It also incorporates patent-pending mechanisms to make distillation even safer, such as heating that shuts off automatically if the vacuum seal is broken and a custom methanol collection chamber to automatically isolate congeners.”
It should be noted that PicoStill is not a self-contained device, but a distilling attachment to be used with the company’s brewing products—like the Pico C, a compact, home-friendly, five-liter option. Five liters of source material can produce 500ml of spirit, a manageable amount for enthusiasts looking to experiment or professionals wanting to create small test batches.
PicoStill is available now for pre-order at the discounted price of $249. After that, you can expect it to run $349.