Brewery is testing beer delivery by drone

It’s a dilemma that comes with the territory if you’re an ice-fisher, when you run out of beer it’s going to be a long time before you can go grab a six-pack. Until now…

Meet the Lakemaid Beer Drone.

Wisconsin-based Lakemaid Beers - whose tagline is "Great Fishermen need Great Beer" - was inspired by Amazon’s announcement that it was planning on using drones to deliver packages and decided to adopt its own version of a delivery drone. Called the Lakemaid Beer Drone, the device has been tested at ice fishing lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The company recently posted a video on YouTube that shows a shop keeper getting a call for a delivery, writing down co-ordinates and strapping a case of beer to a drone. The drone then delivers the beer to ice-fishermen on a nearby lake.

“It’s the perfect proving ground for drone delivery,” Lakemaid Beer Company’s president, Jack Supple, said in a release. “Our initial tests on several mid-size lakes have been very successful. We’re looking forward to testing the range of our drones on larger lakes.”

Of course, the brewery faces the same problems as any business wanting to use drones. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) currently restricts the commercial use of small drones. But in comparison to what Amazon is up against, Supple says his company has the benefit of terrain.

“Amazon faces a lot of obstacles,” said Supple. “Dense urban locations present a host of problems to drone delivery. But our tests are on vast, wide-open frozen lakes free of trees and power lines. Our drone can fly as the crow flies, straight to our target, based on GPS coordinates provided by an ice angler.”

It may be a long wait for thirsty ice-fishers to get their beer. The FAA is not expected to issue new regulations governing the commercial use of drones until 2015. Plus, the brewery is up against another kind of regulatory battle, verifying the legal drinking age of the ice anglers. Until those issues are sorted out, ice fishers will have to get their beer the old fashioned way: with a trip off the lake and into town.