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Trio Dreams Up Idea to Keep Kegs Cold

Mon Aug 9, 5:44 PM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!

By THOMAS J. SHEERAN, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND - A trio of college fraternity buddies hopes to make it big with an idea that might appeal to a party host who winds up with a half-keg of warm, leftover beer and no ice.

"I've had people come up to me and say, 'That's a great idea. I'll buy one,'" said Adam Hunnell, 22, who pioneered the idea of inventing a portable cooling wrap to keep beer kegs cold on the beach, backyard or pickup truck.

Hunnell and two fellow West Virginia Wesleyan alumni and fraternity brothers, Aaron Noland and Nathan Slavin, both 23, are using a $20,000 entrepreneur grant to develop the "Keg Wrap," using their collective engineering, marketing and beer-drinking knowledge.

Hunnell, a graduate student at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, compared the Keg Wrap under development to a heating blanket which chills instead of warms. It would be powered with a plug that can be used with an electric socket or a car battery power source.

The key, according to Hunnell, is portability — the ability to take a keg anywhere and keep it cold.

"It makes things a lot more convenient," said Hunnell, a native of Marianna, Pa., who is designing motor-home parts in Macon, Ga., while completing his physics entrepreneur program thesis requirement at Case.

Hunnell got the grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance to build a prototype at the urging of his Case mentor, Cyrus Taylor. Hunnell hopes to have a working prototype by year's end and hopes to price it at about $150.

Noland, a Parkersburg, W.Va., native and communications graduate student at Miami University of Ohio, has worked on strategic planning and marketing for the project. The target audience: beer distributors who would rent the Keg Wrap to keg buyers.

Slavin, also a Parkersburg native and a West Virginia Wesleyan business school graduate student, has studied engineering and has worked on the Keg Wrap design side.

"It would be kind of cool to turn something that you didn't think would be possible into reality," said Slavin, a boyhood friend of Noland. Slavin met Hunnell when the two were freshmen at West Virginia Wesleyan.

The Keg Wrap idea emerged from a college bull session involving Hunnell and Slavin. "We had kegs with a party and we thought, 'There's got to be a better way than sticking a keg in a trash can and creating a big mess'," Slavin recalled.

The idea was put on hold until Hunnell pursued the grant at Case.

Keeping a keg cold traditionally has meant a container for the keg and lots of ice, sometimes with an insulated blanket. A dormitory-size refrigerator also works.

But those methods require a continuing source of ice, particularly if the keg lasts overnight, or electricity.

Rocky Kreutzer, who works for a suburban Maple Heights distributor that sells 40 to 50 kegs on a summer Saturday and 80 or 90 a day at graduation party time, thinks the Keg Wrap has potential, especially if the rental cost beats the estimated $15 ice expense.

Still, Kreutzer said the Keg Wrap will require a battery power source. "Will you have (that power) access?" he asked.

The most obvious way to keep a Keg Wrap powered up away from a home electric socket would be a vehicle's cigarette lighter outlet. The idea of driving around in a pickup truck with a cold keg in the back didn't sit well with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"It's always a concern when we seem to make it easier to transport alcoholic beverages and we're not sure if they are going to be drinking while their transporting it or when they get to their destination," said Lexine Darden, a MADD victim services coordinator in Cleveland.

"It's always a concern whenever you have a new gadget that makes it easier for people to party," Darden said.

The coalition that provided the grant gives out about $2 million a year to colleges and universities to support the development of products and technologies with commercial potential.

Official SBN Party Pooper
20,028 Posts
The next millionaires right there....why the hell can't i think of a stupid invention like that??? You know that guy who took the hard hat, put 2 cup holders and a straw on it made 14 million buck from it??? WTF.....

319 Posts
Oh sure me too. But damn, too bad they have to invent it first, and physics is not on their side. I don't know if they're planning on using Peltier cooling (grossly inefficient with power) or gas expansion (like refrigerators). Maybe they use New Magical Physics. And what's the advantage of a keg wrap going to be over a refrigerator, if it still uses power and it's still expensive?
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