A Minnesota brewery’s airborne solution to the problem of running out of beer while ice fishing has been brought down to earth by the Federal Aviation Authority.
Lakemaid Brewery had planned to use rotary-wing craft to deliver cans of its ‘fisherman’s lager’ to shacks around Lake Mille Lacs and the Twin Pines resort, until it fell foul of the agency’s current ban on the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
“We were a little surprised at the FAA interest in this since we thought we were operating under the 400-foot limit,” Lakemaid manager Jack Supple told US news group NPR. “[We] figured a vast frozen lake was a lot safer place than [the location] Amazon was showing on 60 Minutes.”
Lakemead drew attention late in January, both wanted and unwanted, when it posted a video on YouTube showing a UAV carrying a case of beer. Ironically, this was filmed outside the USA ‘for legal reasons’. “My intent was to try a larger drone that could fly unmanned, based on just the coordinates,” said Supple.
Drones have been used to deliver beer before — notably at a music festival in South Africa – but the federal agency said it’s a no-go in US airspace. In hindsight, Supple admits he can see the FAA’s point. “I understand their concern. Drones whizzing around piloted by any knucklehead is probably not the Jetsons future we all imagined.”