recommended reading

Feds Shoot Down Beer Delivery by Drone

Lakemaid

It seemed like the perfect plan. Take thirsty ice fishermen, bring them beer with a drone, and watch the profits roll in. But unfortunately for Wisconsin's Lakemaid Beer, Uncle Sam thought otherwise.

[Related: Feds Shoot Down Drone Delivery of Valentine's Day Flowers]

Lakemaid—a beer co-owned by a brewery and fishing-lure company—was hoping to bolster its standing with its target demographic this Saturday, dispatching a drone to a Minnesota lake to bring six-packs to ice fishermen. But then the FAA got wind of the plan.

"Yesterday and the day before we've had calls from the FAA," said Lakemaid President Jack Supple. The agency informed him the delivery operation violated its ban on using drones for commercial purposes. Though Lakemaid didn't plan to charge for its test run, the publicity garnered from the deliveries still qualifies them as commercial use.

The company hatched the plan after seeing Amazon's drone-delivery scheme late last year. And while that concept has a long way to go, Lakemaid saw frozen lakes as the best opportunity to put drones into action. "It seems to me to be the perfect place to try this as opposed to bouncing off lampposts and church steeples in the city," Supple said. "[The lake] looks like a drone airport."

An initial test used a smaller drone—not capable of carrying a full six-pack—guided only by the pilot's line of site. But after the video of that run took off on social media, the company decided to go bigger. "Our core audience is very ready for this technology," Supple said. They purchased an eight-propeller drone, able to carry a six-pack up to a half-mile and hone in on GPS coordinates provided by thirsty fishermen.

Everything was ready to go for Saturday's deliveries—until the FAA stepped in. "They were nice about it," Supple admitted. "It wasn't like they were going to put me in jail." But the thick list of drone regulations the agency provided "will be a good weekend of reading," a far cry from his initial beer-flying plans.

FAA will set new drone rules in 2015, and Supple is optimistic his operation will be legalized, especially given the positive response from consumers. But that's little consolation this year. "I might be out of the drone business for a while," he sighed. "For now, they're just going to have to go the store and get the beer."

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.