News Column

Beer Drone Gets Cold Shoulder From FAA

January 31, 2014

Joseph Lindberg, Pioneer Press

Jan. 31--A Minnesota beermaker wants drones to help anglers remotely replenish their stocks of beer, but the government is saying no.

For now.

The Federal Aviation Administration informed Lakemaid Beer that it currently prohibits small businesses from using drones shortly after the beermaker posted video of a test run on Lake Waconia last week.

Inspired by Amazon, Lakemaid had been testing a drone delivery system for 12-packs of beer on ice fishing lakes in Minnesota and in Wisconsin where the beer is produced, Lakemaid president Jack Supple said in a news release.

Another test was set for Lake Mille Lacs and the Twin Pines resort before the FAA stepped in. The beermaker's video went viral and now has more than 100,000 views.

Amazon grabbed the country's attention late last year after announcing it was exploring ways to deliver packages with drones, and wants to deliver some packages within minutes of the orders being placed.

But Amazon faces the same FAA restrictions as Lakemaid -- though the beermaker will be navigating wide-open spaces and wilderness rather than dense urban areas.

"We'd be happy to share our research with Amazon," Supple said.

The FAA is expected to release new drone regulations by 2015, but Lakemaid would also have to implement a system to remotely verify age.

For the FAA's restrictions on drones, gi to www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/uas_faq.

Joseph Lindberg can be reached at 651-228-5513. Follow him at twitter.com/JosephLindberg.

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(c)2014 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

Visit the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.) at www.twincities.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Original headline: Minnesota company's drone beer delivery is a no-no, FAA says


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Source: (c)2014 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)


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