Wisconsin Beer Drones Grounded by FAA

Ra Boe \ WikimediaRa Boe \ Wikimedia

Lakemaid Beer, “the hottest beer on ice,” arranged for beer-delivering octocopters to carry 12-packs over frosty lakes to thirsty ice fishers. But as soon as it learned of Lakemaid's plan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded it.

Released about a week ago, the Minnesota-based company's beer commercial instantly went viral. Drones delivering Wisconsin-brewed beer rather than targeted killings? Consumers loved the idea.

But the FAA says it isn't ready for the technology. The Star Tribune explains:

The nation’s stewards of the air are still studying how to safely bring drones into modern life, and until then, their commercial use isn’t permitted.

Meanwhile, Lakemaid president Jack Supple broke his printer printing all the documents the agency sent him.

When Supple saw Amazon Prime Air commercials he had his doubts. But he believes Lakemaid is a little different. Supple wasn't planning on navigating drones through mazes of skyscrapers and stoplights. They would traverse open lakes. He explained to Star Tribune:

That would be a far better testing ground because they’re vast and flat and people are in little fish houses out there.

Eager entrepreneurs have brainstormed a zillion uses for the new technology. FedEx has toyed around with replacing its delivery trucks with a drone fleet. Taco deliveries are anticipated in California.

Other countries have already legalized commercial drone use. South Africa companies have operated beer drones. China based company InCake started delivering cakes last July, and the Australian textbook delivery company Zookal has plans to utilize drones early this year.

In response to growing enthusiasm for commercial drones, the FAA released a road map to cautiously guide the country toward safe, reliable domestic drone use. Administrator Michael Huerta expects its integration plan will take five years. The FAA projects “7,500 unmanned aircraft in the skies within that period if regulations are in place.” But the roll out is already months behind schedule.

Entrepreneurs like Jack Supple have to wait for the green light from the FAA whether or not they're sure their individual enterprise is safe.

Watch Lakemaid's commercial below: 

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  • R C Dean||

    The nation’s stewards of the air are still studying how to safely bring drones into modern life, and until then, their commercial use isn’t permitted.

    What risks to commercial drones pose that LEO drones don't?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Someone might make a profit.

  • Tonio||


  • BakedPenguin||

    Exactly. The only good progressive use for drones is killing brown people at foreign weddings.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If the government won't get in the middle of business transactions, who will?

  • Juice||

    So Amazon drones are right out?

  • Brandon||

    "stewards of the air?" Seriously? This seems slightly...grandiose for a fundamentally useless agency.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    When are the drones delivering the alt-text?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    We don't want drones unintentionally killing people.

  • Tonio||


  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    They don't even need to accidentally kill someone. The second one malfunctioning drone drops a 12 pack on some person's windshield you'll see domestic drone deliveries banned.

  • pan fried wylie||

    And a repeal of the 21st.

  • Tonio||

    And there is no way you should roll out a technology in a sparsely populated area inhabited entirely by rugged, risk-taking types. People might get ideas that they can do things without asking permission.

  • CE||

    The lakes are frozen. Just send an RC car, with a big "F-U-FAA" on the top.

  • pan fried wylie||

    As long as the person operating the controller has a legal BAC.

  • Almanian (yeah, I said it)||

    That which is not expressly allowed is prohibited. So good call by the FAA. Stupid Wisconsinists Minnesotaites.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm glad I live in the freest nation on earth.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Puritans are upset because it's beer.

    If hospitals started using drones first, the FAA would not give an unmanned flying fuck.

  • sarcasmic||

    You kidding? It's about control. It's about people daring to do something without first asking permission and then obeying orders. That's what freedom is to these people. You're free to act, as long as you ask first, and then once you have permission you must obey their rules. Freedom is slavery.


    Someone invented a robot helicopter that will deliver beer to people far out in the wilderness.

    And the government is stopping them from doing so.

    [Grabs rifle, 6 pack]


  • RishJoMo||

    As a licensed pilot, I know the FAAs motto: "We are not happy, till you are not happy"



    Anonbot, sometimes you are just awesome.

    You're like 10X cooler than mary. Which, I guess is like -.01 something but hey, better?right?

  • DWC||

    Everything that isn't required is prohibited.

  • cheap kits||

    In fact, I like drones delivering pizza if I am in a mountain top.But they have to figure out the problem of safe.

  • onitsuka tiger mexico 66||

    much less a New Yorker feature, should earn it a place on any list of the decade’s top journalism. Except perhaps, on lists prepared by those who aren’t so eager to embrace the fact that it isn’t 1980 anymore.


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