FAA Crashes the Party, Prohibits Beer-Delivery Drone

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 1 2014 1:37 PM

FAA Crashes the Party, Prohibits Beer-Delivery Drone

Ice fishers in Minnesota are mad at the FAA right now after the agency told a regional craft brewer that it had to nix any plans to deliver beer to anglers using an unmanned aerial system. Local brewery Lakemaid was testing out the system and posted a video on YouTube that quickly went viral. As soon as the Federal Aviation Administration got wind of what was happening, it decided to call Lakemaid to tell the company it couldn’t move forward with its plans. Turns out, it’s against the law to use drones for commercial purposes in the United States. Although the FAA is working on new guidelines for unmanned aircraft, drones likely won’t be allowed to take to the skies until 2017, points out CNN.

Lakemaid Beer president Jack Supple tells the Associated Press that Amazon.com boss Jeff Bezos inspired him to look into the possibility of using drones after he said the online retailer was exploring the idea of using the unmanned aircraft to make deliveries. As soon as Supple heard that he thought it could work well with anglers who stay still for days on end in wide open spaces. Plus, they all know their GPS coordinates so ordering the beer would be a breeze. Supple says he’s not giving up and will be ready once the rules change.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.