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FAA Says No To Beer Delivery Drone

Drone Beer Delivery

The Federal Aviation Administration is shooting down one brewery’s idea to deliver beer by drone:

Lakemaid Beer is brewed in Stevens Point, Wis., and distributed to several states in the region. But it was a very local delivery that put the company out of favor with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Minnesota-based company is receiving a flood of support and condolences after the FAA ruled that its beer delivery drone, which had only recently taken flight, had to be shut down.

Lakemaid calls itself the fishermen’s lager. It had hoped to use drones to deliver its beer to anglers in thousands of ice shacks, from the frozen northern lakes’ combination bait and beer shops. But the government says the brewer’s next test — which Lakemaid managing partner Jack Supple says was tentatively set for Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs and the Twin Pines resort — cannot proceed.

“We were a little surprised at the FAA interest in this since we thought we were operating under the 400-foot limit,” Supple says via email. He adds that the beer-makers “figured a vast frozen lake was a lot safer place than [what] Amazon was showing on 60 Minutes.”

Here’s a video the company put out about the service:

If the drones really are flying under the 400 foot limit, then I’m not sure under what authority the FAA purports to be exercising here.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Brett says:

    There’s a ban on commercial use of drones in US airspace, which presumably goes all the way to the ground. That won’t restrict you from model planes (or having a drone flying beer to yourself under the 400-foot limit), but not so much running a business of it.

    I think it’s stupid. If you’re worried about drones in more densely populated areas, then put in a density prohibition requirement unless a city chooses to waive it in its local airspace. Let people operate them out in the open wilderness.

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  2. JoshB says:

    Thanks Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Brett: The problem is that if there is an accident (2 drones colliding, debris hitting the ground), the FAA will get the brunt of it. Remember, the energy of a can of beer hitting someone is m*g*h.

    You may think they’re being silly, but a similar “go on, it’s deserted, no need for regulations here” resulted in two passenger planes colliding over the Grand Canyon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. Tillman says:

    Doomed to failure. Their market niche was “fishermen who failed to prepare adequately for fishing.” The whole point of fishing is drinking. I don’t know a fisherman alive who didn’t bring beer with him on a fishing trip.

    The FAA stepped in to stop what can at best be called an absurdity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. Franklin says:

    I think everybody’s missed the real problem here. What if the drone comes down in the wrong place and into the wrong hands? What if … (dunh dunh dunh> … an underage person gets a hold of beer?

    Please think of the children!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. bill says:

    dilbert had another angle on drones the other day.

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