Now This Is a Drone Use We Can Support: Remote Beer Delivery

Problem is, the FAA isn't too excited about it.
Feb 2, 2014·
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

While Amazon has moved on from drone delivery to figuring out ways to preemptively deliver the things you’ll likely order in the future, a brewery in Wisconsin landed on what might be the ultimate domestic use for the quadcopter: delivering Lakemaid beer to thirsty ice fishermen.

In what’s becoming a well-established genre of YouTube video, the Stevens Point, Wis., beer maker demonstrates how a call to the bait and tackle shop could bring a 12-pack of Frosty Winter Lager drifting over to a frozen lake in Minnesota via drone.

Yet unlike similar schemes to deliver books, tacos, pizza, and other food products traveling by unmanned aerial vehicle, the kibosh was put on this newfangled beer run by Federal Aviation Administration.

"They think it's a great idea, though they're telling me to stop," Jack Supple, the president of Lakemaid, told The Verge. Supple says the drone operator was careful to stay below the 400-foot ceiling under which recreational unmade aircraft are allowed to fly without approval. But the FAA deemed this a commercial operation, which the agency currently does not allow, although it may introduce new regulations for drones next year.

But judging by Supple’s interview with The Verge, Lakemaid wasn’t quite able to quench the thirst of those beer-loving fishermen out on the ice: The six-propeller drone shown in the video wasn’t powerful enough to carry all 12 bottles. Calling that a commercial operation seems like a bit of a stretch. Still, "it did deliver the box with something in it," Supple said—but no one’s going to pay to get shorted on a 12-pack, even if arrives from the heavens.