drones

Ice-cold brew? Petition seeks to allow beer deliveries by drone

Jan. 31, 2014 at 1:18 PM ET

If Jeff Bezos can talk about drone deliveries...
Lakemaid Beer
Jeff Bezos isn't the only one promising drone deliveries.

The Internet cheered when Minnesota-based brewing company Lakemaid Beer demo-ed a new way to deliver their seasonal special to thirsty customers fishing on a faraway frozen lake: by drone! But the FAA quickly shut down the plan. 

"The problem of ice anglers is they’re way, way out on the lake and they’re there for the whole weekend so we needed a way to keep them in beer," Jack Supple, president of Lakemaid told NBC News.

But days after the company posted a YouTube clip showing a successful delivery of a 12-pack of Frosty Winter Lager ("a nice craft lager, all malt, with an icicle sparkle of hops at the end") by hexacopter, Supple got a call from an inspector and regional supervisor at the FAA — whose guidelines prohibit the operation of drones by commercial entities — explaining that the flights were in violation of guidelines. 

Now beer-by-drone enthusiasts have signed a statement petitioning the White House to "Force the FAA to issue an Airworthiness Certificate for Beer Drones (BUAV's)."

"This innovative product-to-market technique allowed a small business to grow its brand and take advantage of a government-supported initiative to embrace UAV technology," the petition states. "The FAA has no standing to restrict the delivery of products by small businesses and choke economic growth."

The goal is to get 100,000 backers by March 1 — and as of Friday evening, 128 people had signed on. But it's slower goings than that other new petition to "Deport Justin Bieber and Revoke His Green Card," which has been signed by a 200,000-strong mob within a week. (It's worth noting that the White House is required to respond to petitions that cross the 100k mark.)

"I’ll be amazed if something happens," Supple said. "I don’t know, maybe!"

We'd be similarly surprised if the petition picks up enough signatures for the administration to respond. But if it does, we hope it's half as good as the White House explained to 34,435 Americans why funding and building a Death Star was a bad idea

Video: After the Lakemaid Beer company depicted a drone delivering their brew to ice fishing huts in a commercial, the FAA came calling, telling them it violated their law prohibiting drones from delivering consumer goods.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about technology and science. You can follow her on FacebookTwitter and Google+

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