To get a perfect glass of beer, you apparently don't start at the top but at the bottom.
A newfangled beer dispenser at this year's Utah Arts Festival fills liquid gold from the bottom of the cup in just a few seconds, quenching a thirsty crowd in only a fraction of the time. It also curbs the possibility of a big head and the wasteful foam that normally would be dumped out of the side of the glass during the pour.
GrinON Industries, the Montesano, Wash., company that invented the Bottoms Up beer dispenser, claims it has filled 62 cups of beer with the machine in one minute.
General Distributing, a Salt Lake City beverage distributor, is the only company in Utah to have the machine, which looks like the top of a metallic stove with either two or four valves that stick up. In addition to this week's arts festival, which begins Thursday, the Bottoms Up has recently been demonstrated during two Real Salt Lake soccer games at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"I will always look into the cutting edge of this stuff, and this is one that actually works," said Jay Benard, who manages the draft department at General Distributing.
At first, the core idea of this unique beverage dispenser might seem crazy: You use cups that have a hole in the bottom. But around the hole is a metallic ring on the cup. A round, bendable magnet - exactly like a refrigerator magnet and about the size of a silver dollar (which they claim is too big to accidentally swallow) - covers the hole.
You place the cup over one of the valves, which pushes the magnet up. That causes beer to shoot up into cup until it's filled, and the valve automatically shuts off. When you pull the cup off, the magnet seals the hole with no leakage.
"I had to scoot people out of the way to sell others a beer because people wanted to see it, they thought it was so cool," said Rob Hammer, a senior draft technician for General Distributing who first tried it at Rio Tinto.
The idea for Bottoms Up came to inventor and Grin ON president Josh Springer while he was daydreaming at his father's birthday party in 2008.
"I saw a pitcher of beer filling up at the bottom. It just popped into my head," he said. "The conversation at the table earlier was how much beer is wasted on service. Then it literally hit me like a lightning bolt.
"Everybody looked at me like I was crazy except my dad," he added. "He said, 'That's cool, but I don't think you can do it.' So the challenge was set, and four days later I had a working prototype."Next Page >
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