A Minneapolis beer company is pushing the limits skyward with drone deliveries in an attempt to stand out from the crowd of Super Bowl beer ads, but the Federal Aviation Administration is grounding their plans.
In a video demonstration, a remote-controlled drone is able to drop off beer to an ice house on Lake Waconia -- but the FAA is dropping the hammer on the idea since there are no rules for commercial drone yes yet.
In the end, the controversy and discussion around the idea is exactly what the company had hoped for. Jack Supple is the man behind the controls of the devices that hover and dance in the air with ease -- and he says they are creating a unique buzz for Lakemaid Beer.
"Across a flat lake, there's just little ice houses here and there," Supple said. "That's not so bad."
Supple, chief creative officer of ad firm Pocket Hercules, hopes to serve up some suds from the brewery he owns to fishermen in hard-to-reach places. His vision took off online, getting so popular the idea drew attention from national news outlets.
"One snag in that master plan -- the FAA restricts the use of commercial drones," Supple lamented.
The FAA, which regulates the traffic in the friendly skies, has yet to come up with clear rules for flying commercial drones.
"We haven't broken any laws -- yet -- that we know if," he insists.
Still, some are calling Supple a marketing genius. As the former leader of ad agency Carmichael Lynch, he believes any publicity is good publicity.
"We were targeting the Super Bowl because all the big breweries are making their noise now," he explained.
There's even a guerilla marketing campaign with posters and fliers protesting the FAA.
"Even the geek websites are saying, 'I am finally not afraid of drones,'" Supple quipped.
Some resorts on Lake Mille Lacs have already agreed to become Lakemaid Beer Ports that send and receive drone deliveries in case the FAA does eventually create regulations that allow for it.
"It seems like a very smooth ride," Supple remarked. "I don't think the beer will be too shook up at all."
With every intentional marketing move, Supple is clearly calling the shots -- but the future of drone deliveries is out of his control. They do hope to deliver beer via drone in the future, but the FAA isn't expected to release any new rules governing commercial drones until next year.