The Weekly Spoon for 04/17/17 : Meet The PicoStill, Home Distilling 2017, Language For The Internet of Food

In our last newsletter, I wrote about how PicoBrew had just broke the record for the fastest funded food project of all time. 

Turns out, they were just getting started.

Since then, the company has announced Pico users will soon be able to make kombucha. If that wasn't enough, the company also announced the PicoStill, an add-on to the Pico brewing appliance that will allow a user to make essential oils and, if they're so inclined, whiskey or other spirits in the comfort of their own home.

Of course, making spirits at home is still illegal at the federal level in the US and could be for some time. As I wrote in this piece on the state of home distilling in 2017, there has been an effort in recent years to craft legislation to make home distilling legal, but the outlook for such efforts has become murky under the Trump administration. 

That said, home distilling is practiced by what is likely hundreds of thousands of people in US today and PicoBrew hopes to expand that market even more by giving consumers an easy way to get started.

We've got lots of other great stories this week, including a look at the newly renamed Chowbotics and their salad making robot (named Sally, of course), Grubhub's effort to survive against deep pocketed competition, a newly hot foodtech investment landscape and more. 

Make sure to also check out our most recent podcast where I talk to Dr. Matthew Lange about how an experience as a young medical intern set him on his course to help define a common language for the Internet of Food. 

Also, remember: If you missed out on our March 31st deadline for Super Early Bird tickets for the Smart Kitchen Summit, don't worry: we still have some great deals. You can get Early Bird tickets and when you apply our discount code NEWSLETTER to get 15% off of any ticket price. Simply use this link which has the discount automatically applied, or go to the SKS17 website and use the code NEWSLETTER at checkout.

If you're a loyal reader of this newsletter, make sure to share and suggest your friends and coworkers subscribe.  They (and you) can catch up on past issues here.

Have a great week.


Analyzing the future of food, cooking & the kitchen.

In the 04/17/2017 edition:

PicoBrew Announces PicoStill, A Home Still That Makes Whiskey (And Oh Yeah, Essential Oils)

By Michael Wolf on Apr 17, 2017 06:02 am
One of the worst kept secrets in craft distilling is nearly every whiskey maker gets their start making the good stuff at home. One only has to look at the many home stills for sale online to see there’s a strong market for home distillation equipment. Everything from big vats for making moonshine to smaller copper pot […]
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The Robots Are Coming, And They’re Bringing Salads

By Ashley Daigneault on Apr 17, 2017 05:00 am
The restaurant salad bar is often a mixed bag – sometimes it’s great, other times the ingredients are sad, with wilted lettuce and less-than-fresh cucumbers side-by-side. And sometimes the salad options at traditionally fast food chains are just downright sad. That’s where Sally comes in. She’s the robot from Chowbotics Inc., a robotics and AI […]
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PicoBrew Expands Beyond Beer By Adding Kombucha To The Menu

By Allen Weiner on Apr 15, 2017 06:49 am
Once the domain of hippies and diehard health foodies, kombucha is making a major impact on the world of ready-to-drink beverages. It is made with a simple fermentation process that uses tea, sugar, water and a gelatinous mushroom-like culture called a scoby. One global research firm estimates the fizzy, probiotic drink will hit close to […]
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Can You Make Hooch At Home? Not Yet. Here’s The State Of Home Distilling in 2017

By Michael Wolf on Apr 14, 2017 08:55 am
If you want to create your own booze, I have good news for you: With home distilling kits widely available online and an abundance of of information about how to make liquor through books and websites, it’s easier than ever to make hooch at home. But there’s still one problem for all you aspiring Jasper Newton Daniels […]
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Grubhub’s Future Clouded by Big-Monied Competition

By Allen Weiner on Apr 14, 2017 05:13 am
Once the darling of the restaurant-to-home delivery business, Grubhub’s TV commercial tagline “click, click, food,” may be in danger of becoming an internet relic.  With the explosive growth of well-heeled competition in this market space, there is increased skepticism from Wall Street and investors. Despite its current lofty standing, in which the Chicago-based company works […]
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The Future Of How (And What) We Eat

By Ashley Daigneault on Apr 13, 2017 09:22 am
Could technology change the way we eat?
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Podcast: Creating A Common Language For The Internet of Food

By Michael Wolf on Apr 13, 2017 06:30 am
A traumatic early experience as a young medical intern set Dr. Matthew Lange on a career course to change the way the world thinks about nutrition. He realized early on that medical community had it backward: by focusing on treatment of people sick from years of poor eating habits rather than helping people to better […]
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Freshub Partners With Big Data To Make Smart Kitchen Shopping Easier

By Ashley Daigneault on Apr 13, 2017 06:10 am
Freshub announces a partnership with IRI to create a recommendation engine for appliances and devices with in-home and digital grocery shopping platforms.
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Reheated: Q1 2017 Shows Food & Beverage Investment Is Hot Once Again

By Amy Cravens on Apr 12, 2017 09:35 am
Food and beverage are hot again. After a sluggish 2016, a strong first quarter of 2017 suggests investment in the food and beverage sector could be set for a comeback on an annualized basis according to CB Insights.  This would be a reversal from the past couple years, which has seen food and beverage sector investment decelerate […]
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Here’s The Most Exciting New Coffee Tech Of 2017

By Michael Wolf on Apr 11, 2017 02:04 pm
Ready for a jolt of innovation with your morning caffeine fix? Good thing, because 2017 looks like it could serve up a double shot of disruptive coffee technology. Due to a combination of emerging taste trends, technologies, and good timing, 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year in the world of coffee. Here are the products that […]
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