Beer Delivery By Drone? A Reality, Until The FAA Shoots It Down

Tyler Durden's picture

Who says Amazon is only good for putting other retailers out of business with its 1% margins: in the aftermath of Jeff Bezos' announcement that the online retailer is considering launching drone delivery, one company took the concept from merely the theoretical stage to practical implication. The company in question is a Minnesota Micro Brewery called Lakemaid Brewery and the product it had hoped to deliver by remote control airplane to ice fishermen is beer. However, before beer fans around the country rejoice at the prospect of having a buzzing airborne beer delivery, we have some sad news: less than a week after the company posted a promotional YouTube video showcasing the first test flights across mid-sized lakes, the Federal Aviation Administration called Lakemaid Beer to immediately pull the unmanned beer from the skies.

ABC explains why the FAA took the proposed novel form of delivery as an affront to more traditional forms of alocohol intoxication, and why the bartender lobby may or may not have been behind this move:

"As much as they thought it was a funny idea, it was a violation of all sorts of codes," Lakemaid Beer Company President Jack Supple told ABC News, adding he's determined to keep pushing to get his idea off the ground.


"I understand why they had to shut it down, but I would like to do it for our fishermen," said Supple, lamenting the missed opportunities that the coming Super Bowl weekend could have brought for the business. "The fishermen are going to sit there from Friday 5 p.m. all the way through Sunday. That's a long time to be out there on a frozen lake." 


This is "barley news," FAA spokesman Les Door joked this morning to ABC News when asked to comment on why the FAA shut down Lakemaid's operation. "The media just hops on it. I hope things finally have come to a head."


Despite the jovial tone, the illegal use of drones for commercial purposes is a serious matter, Door said.


"The FAA's prime directive is safety and while we are evaluating a lot of different potential uses of unmanned aircraft as we're moving toward safely integrating them into the national airspace, commercial operations of unmanned aircraft is not allowed," Door said.

Here one wonders why Amazon which until recently was dazzling investors with one ridiculous idea after another, would get the FAA's blessing for drone delivery in far more congested and risky environments, if smaller companies, arguably those that can't afford to bribe the FAA, are denied. So does Lakemaid's CEO.

Supple concedes the FAA has its work cut out for it, as "there's going to be a million ideas and I don't want to get hit in the head with a pair of dress shoes ordered from Amazon."


But in contrast to Amazon's proposed drone package delivery operation announced late last year, Supple said Lakemaid's drones will face less obstacles -- namely of the skyscraper and billboard kind.


"Dense urban locations present a host of problems to drone delivery," Supple said in an earlier statement. But our tests are on vast, wide-open frozen lakes free of trees and power lines."


His drones would instead be able to "fly as the crow flies, straight to our target based on GPS coordinates. Fish houses are very uniform in height, so we can fly lower than FAA limits, too," he said.

Of course, there is Jeff Bezos, where the more ridiculous the idea, the higher the PE multiple, and then there is everyone else, even if "everyone else" would still have to figure out how drone deliveries avoid breaking the law by sending booze straight into the hands of a minor.Then again, in Obama's America where one controlled substance after another is being legalized, perhaps to make the pain more bearable, it is only a matter of time before toddlers are allowed to chug Vodka.

See more US News from ABC|ABC World News

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
booboo's picture

So... Subcontract it out to say, 100 different locals and tell the Feds to fuck off, overload THEIR system for a change.

howenlink's picture

+100.  I'll toast to that.  Businessmen need to give the sheep reasons to care.

Silver Bully's picture

'+100.  I'll toast to that.  Businessmen need to give the sheep reasons to care.'

You know, here's the problem with the entire FAA grounding issue. There is no federal REGULATION or LAW that will put anyone in jail, or fine anyone for any amount for flying any RC aircraft for commercial purposes . . . this is an FAA *POLICY*.

Why is this even remotely important? Because Congress hasn't passed any legislation mandating a damn thing on the commercial activity of drones or RC aircraft. So the FAA has taken it upon themselves to draft a policy to get what they want. In other words, without an actual law or regulation to back them up, the FAA has VERY weak legal ground to stand on.

In fact, it is so weak, that an RC enthusiast has taken them to court after being fined $10,000:

What this guy is really trying to do is establish if the FAA can regulate ANYTHING below 400 feet. If he wins, you will see Amazon spring into action. Everyone from RC fliers to Jeff Bezos is watching the results of his case and his motion to dismiss, FAA vs Raphael Pirker. However, if he loses, his name will be mud because the FAA will have been granted the ability to dictate what the public and business sector can do with drones/rc aircraft BY POLICY INSTEAD OF LAW.


And we know how that all works out.


kaiserhoff's picture

This whole thing is such bull shit.

Who's gong to write the liability policy for this fool's errand?  Oh yes,  AIG.  Why not?

Then one of the damn things will crash into a school bus.

Those promoting this have never flown a kite.  Look at the early history of aviation mishaps, and multiply times one million.


atomicwasted's picture

The Luddism of the average ZH poster is truly breathtaking.

kaiserhoff's picture

OK, ever look at the actual wind vectors in any real city?  They circle and corkscrew in all sorts of unpredictable ways.  How about snow, sleet, freezing rain?  How about power lines, radio towers, general aviation, lines of sight for control systems?  How about kids, pets, traffic?

This shit will have the glide slope of a crow bar, and land like an anvil.  Ever see a fool playing with a toy helicopter?  How often does he wipe out?

The first time you get hit in the head with a case of beer, Luddism will be the least of your problems.  It all looks so easy when you're  hiding out in Mom's basement.

Gnonannon's picture

That's right. I second his concern.  The danger of raining beer cans is what we, in the real world, spend time worrying about.

Though I would love to be the insurance company who gets this contract...

TwoShortPlanks's picture

Quadcopters are flat out carrying 1-2 kg....what's wrong with this picture???

Intoxicologist's picture

Is it better to be hit by a case of beer from the inside, or the outside?


booboo's picture spend your time ice fishing in the city...sewers? How's the Brown Trout tasting these days? Maybe standing on the frozen bank of a large lake looking out at a smattering of ice fishing huts and sleds and thinking about the best way to get beer out there to the guys on the ice was the genesis for this idea. I don't think getting a bottle to Chas and Buffy on their penthouse balcony or wino's laying in cardboard boxes in alley ways of Fucktopia was the intention.

Baldrick's picture

This comment may be too late for this thread, but your protest is an example of how this country has become so fucked up.  Regulations are not required. If the beer drone hits a bus, the company is sued into bankruptcy, that is how our system is supposed to work. WINNERS WIN AND LOSERS LOSE. No one has been promised a safe and secure life. Before auto insurance was required, that is how the system worked. If you were an irresponsible driver you were sued or jailed. It would become too expensive to own and operate a vehicle, or you would get your shit together and drive responsibly respecting the PROPERTY RIGHTS of others.

A Nanny Moose's picture

I would think RC anything would be a smugglers dream. What do you suppose the payload capacity is of something like this...

Range might be an issue...only needs to make it over the Mexican Border

zhandax's picture

Hell, they busted an RC sub bringing in the goodies into S. Fla. in the early 90's.

CPL's picture

They'll strap bombs and machine guns to them to cause havoc...but they won't let them deliver beer.  Wow.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

If you combine the two concepts, get your drone to deliver a fiery "cocktail" to another drone. 

Drone Wars.  ;-)

Kiwi Pete's picture

As the newsreader said,"Beer not bombs!"

Almost sounds like the international call of the hippy. Go ABC!

A Nanny Moose's picture

The State's only "talent" is murder.

sleigher's picture

They do the same thing to 18 year olds too...  strange

CPL's picture

I never understood that idea either.

holdbuysell's picture

"So... Subcontract it out to say, 100 different locals and tell the Feds to fuck off, overload THEIR system for a change."

Wouldn't surprise me if something like that happens, in that people simply stop heeding the law after watching their leaders blatantly ignoring or not enforcing them.

How's Corzine doing anyway?

Yenbot's picture

Silly brewery, Forget About Aviation, 'mkay?

FAA killed General Aviation air taxi decades ago, especially for helicopters. If they regulate this, it will be the kiss of death.

LetThemEatRand's picture

That is correct.  According to executive decree, only the First Dog may be transported by air taxi (aka Air Force One).

BigJim's picture

"Drones are for Death, not for Refreshment" - O'Bammy

Silver Bully's picture

"If they regulate this, it will be the kiss of death."

This is doubly correct. Anything below 400 feet. if the FAA loses, they win power. if they lose, they can no longer mandate what the public can do by policy instead of law. Even if you don't care about drones or Amazon's stock price, from the perspective of a normal citizen, it could be interesting to watch.

f16hoser's picture

I can't wait to shoot-down an NSA Drone! Can I use Lead Shot or is Steel Shot required by law? Just asking...

Overfed's picture

Better yet, a LASER or a HERF gun. Or even better still, hack the comms and make it do YOUR bidding.....(maniacal laugh here).

kaiserhoff's picture

Exactly, why waste ammunition?

Hack it, over-ride it, or just jam the signal.  Hilarity ensues.

If we really had a terrorist problem, it would be raining drones.

Someday, my prince, will come....

A Nanny Moose's picture

Would that be a Buzzkill?

buzzsaw99's picture

The FAA doesn't mind if gubbermint drones kill people they just don't want anyone else doing it.

A Nanny Moose's picture

We cannot negatively impact the DUI-Industrial complex, prison industrial complex. They generate too much revenue for the unionized fascists manning (read: violating your rights) the checkpoints.

wretch's picture

Why not just take some beer along on the fishing trip?  Solving problems that don't exist.

Rainman's picture

Because the decision on how much beer to take is often made while sober and seriously underestimated

Hope this helps.

Overfed's picture

LOL!! The voice of experience rings true!!

El Vaquero's picture

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day. 

philosophers bone's picture

MyRA, Brosurance and Drone Beer Delivery.  Good things come in 3's.

LoneStarHog's picture

There are FAA rules about drinking and flying.  But, I still can't contemplate a way to check the drone.  I mean does one check the oil/alcohol count?  I dunno...

krispkritter's picture

Yeah, it says pilots can drink and fly but you can't...sounds fair.  

I took two quad-copters in trade for auctioning a Vibe 90 heli off.  The guy who bought the heli said it lifted 19lbs. in his test flight!  I'm still tinkering with the quads but if they can lift 1/4 that I gotta take these to the lake and try and get some crappy on and film it for you guys...

Silver Bully's picture

" I'm still tinkering with the quads but if they can lift 1/4 that"

Oh good luck with that. I've noticed quadcopters need to be ultralight, even more so than an RC helicopter. When hobbiests struggle with adding a simple FPV camera or bigger battery, extra payloads are typically out of the picture. Unless you get something/make something with some spectacular lift.

Raynja's picture

That gas better be ethanol free.

Yen Cross's picture

  Al Gore would be proud.  JFC, how much stored energy does it take to deliver one case of beer? Last I checked beer is about 90 something percent water.

  The insanity never ceases to amaze me.


 Update: That's not beer, it's individually packed silo based "Molotov cocktails."

Winston Churchill's picture

Thats Canadian beer,

Us beer is about 99% water, or cowpiss in Budweisers case.

Yen Cross's picture

  @ Winston Churchill, I didn't have an opportunity to reply on your earlier comment so upvoted you. Hope you weren't offended.

  Re; U.S beer< the mainstreem brews are junk. I like Canadian brews. The nice thick lagers and such! Ehh. :-D

Overfed's picture

Screw the tax man. Make your own.

Yen Cross's picture

 I've been experimenting.  Old porcelian bathtubs for mash. Hehe.

El Vaquero's picture

Just watch out if you are naturally carbonating it.  I made a batch once where the fermentation stalled, so I added my extra sugar for carbonation purposes thinking that the fermentation was done rather than stalled, and it did nothing for a couple of weeks.  Then I went to show a friend who was asking about it by opening a bottle and KABLAM!  Beer shot all the way to the ceiling!  Once I got that under control, I noticed a sore spot on my belly.  The bottle cap came off so violently that it left a welt.  We took a few outside and it would launch the caps out of sight, literally.  We then very carefully put them into a big tupperware container, put them in the back of my friend's truck, then went out for some target practice.  Several blew up on the way out to shoot them, prompting my friend to say "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED TO MY TRUCK?  Oh, the bottles."

Yen Cross's picture

 Those were great tips. Thank-you kindly.

   I might ask you for a favor in the not so distant future. ( that is the best story I've heard in awhile)

   Ya know why?  Kids are pussies/pussys. They aren't creative.

  For instance, We've been known to prop some cars on their "hind sides". No Kidding.

kaiserhoff's picture

Clydesdales are not cows, Winston.

Even though they have been out pulled by smaller Belgians in every fair competition since Adam.

Not cows.  Big wusses, maybe.