Cool Plans for Tall Cans
By Kevin Kelleher

(Business 2.0) – For the beer industry, a self-cooling can would be a sure winner. Demand for such convenience among beachgoers, tailgaters, and couch potatoes too lazy to hike to the fridge could rack up an estimated $1.6 billion in annual sales. The Chill Can, introduced nearly a decade ago, was nixed by the EPA for shooting out ozone-depleting gases every time the tab was pulled. But now a Florida-based company has a safer, fully recyclable answer. Tempra Technology has been working with Crown Holdings, one of the world's largest beverage-can makers, to bring self-cooling cans to stores in the near future. Tempra's I.C. Can uses a water-based system that drops a beer's temperature by 30 degrees in three minutes. The can holds 11 ounces of beer and is slightly larger than a 16-ounce "tall boy," so it fits on a standard beer-filling assembly line. The self-cooling beers are likely to cost about $2 per can at first, but the price will drop as economies of scale kick in. Tempra CEO Barney Guarino says several major brewers--U.S. and European--are taking a close look at Tempra's cans and kegs. As for retailers, they'd likely be as thrilled as Joe Sixpack: Storing cans on shelves instead of in coolers could save them millions in refrigeration costs.

HOW IT WORKS

Twisting the can's base pierces a foil seal separating a cylinder of watery gel from a vacuum chamber. Like a refrigerator pump, the gel pulls heat from the beer into the base, where it's trapped in a heat sink.