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Cold Campsite Cans - Your thoughts?

  • 10-04-2022 3:49pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭


    Hi all - I dropped lordgoat a quick message about my intention to post here seeking opinions and he gave it his blessing, so thanks to him, and also to anyone who shares their thoughts below.

    Anyway I work in refrigeration and I go to festivals. For many years I drank cans in the campsite which were revoltingly warm at worst, and bearably tepid at best.

    During Covid I had the opportunity to develop a solution. It is a machine wich will take batches of mouldy warm tent cans and perfectly chill them in under 90 seconds.

    I am happy with the functionality of the system and I teamed up with a mate who's more into marketing / promotion etc with a view to getting it out there this summer, and now we're thinking about how best to make a go of it.

    Our original plan was to offer ultra rapid can cooling as a paid service to campers at festivals, and we might still do this yet - I am in discussions with some festivals at the moment to take a pitch (nothing finalised yet).

    But I am interested in getting some impartial opinions from unconnected parties who go to festivals. Hence my posting here. Boards will provide brutal truth, if nothing else!!

    Two simple questions for festivalgoers:

    1. Is 90 second on-demand can cooling a service you would consider using? 

    2. If so, how much would you pay for all weekend access for up to 24 cans?

    Anyone who provides me with thoughful input here can make themselves known to me by PM so if I do end up going to some festivals, I'll ensure your campsite beers are cold!

    Thanks all!



«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,402 ✭✭✭Stillill42


    Oooooh. Intriguing. I would certainly pay something for that. More details please. Do you mean some sort of pass whereby you show up each time you want one cooled? You hardly mean storing your cans with you for the weekend and collecting them on a piecemeal basis?

    I suppose the trick is convenience. If it's a real trek each time you want to avail of the service, I'd be giving it a swerve. The real earner of course would be inventing a device that punters could buy and operate themselves. But that's probably up there with flying cars and a cure for cancer.

    Anyway, my blessings for a worthy venture, hope it works out for you.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,117 ✭✭✭El Director


    Sounds like a great idea Van Doozy! We only ever manage cool beers on the Friday/Saturday morning but then once your ice is melted, arguably when you need them most, it's nothing but warm beers for the rest of the Saturday and Sunday. I think I'd pay 20 eur for such a service. I'm off to the first Irish festival (I think) since Sept 2019 on the June bank holiday, Wild Roots in Sligo, I'd be happy to trial it there for you 😎



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,098 ✭✭✭Poorside


    Would certainly use it and pay for it, price would be crucial and the problem is keeping the cans cold after that, would nearly need a few areas dotted around campsites, if there's any sort of a queue over 5/10 minutes I think most people would avoid it.

    Great idea and I hope I get to use it at a festival soon.



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Stillill42 thanks for your reply. It's nice to know you'd pay. How much would you be willing to part with.?

    Oooooh. Intriguing. I would certainly pay something for that. More details please. Do you mean some sort of pass whereby you show up each time you want one cooled? 

    Exactly, you got it in one! You buy a wristband. It’s got 24 squares on it. Every time you cool a can a square gets marked. You cool as many cans at a time , when you like, all weekend.

    You hardly mean storing your cans with you for the weekend and collecting them on a piecemeal basis?

    Definitely not. I don’t think me storing cans for people is a good idea for all sorts of reasons. This is why a conventional freezer wont work. It’s just too slow. Per my experiments an ambient can needs minimum 25 minutes in a home freezer before it’s nicely chilled. My machine does it in under 90 seconds so you can cool while you wait. Every time you go for a slash you can bring 2 cans with you or whatever, they're done by the time you've updated your instablog or facegram or whatever it is the youngsters upload these days.

    I suppose the trick is convenience. If it's a real trek each time you want to avail of the service, I'd be giving it a swerve. 

    I agree. I think beside the urinals would be a great (if stinky) location.

    The real earner of course would be inventing a device that punters could buy and operate themselves. 

    I considered this solution first actually. You're right, it's not practical. You got to remember there's no power. The only way to do it without power would be using compressed gas, which would be too heavy to easily carry and contrary to campsite rules. Also dumping large amounts of (for example) propane into the atmosphere would be terrible for the environment!!!

    Anyway, my blessings for a worthy venture, hope it works out for you

    Thanks, appreciated.



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    El Director thanks for your reply. Wild Roots looks like a class festival alright, if we do make it there, I’ll drop you a PM.

    Poorside thanks for your reply

    Would certainly use it and pay for it, price would be crucial 

    So how much would you pay for 24 cans?

    and the problem is keeping the cans cold after that, 

    Agreed. But that's why my idea is ‘cool as you drink’ - coz it’s not practical to keep the cans cold once you get back to your tent. That’s why the system had to be fast.

    would nearly need a few areas dotted around campsites,

    You’re not the first person to suggest this, and I believe you are right. I think long term that’s where we’ll go with it but for now I only have just one prototype machine, which cost a lot of money to build, and took a long time. Dotting them around the campsite would be an expensive punt for an unproven concept. Plus I would need to staff them.

    if there's any sort of a queue over 5/10 minutes I think most people would avoid it.

    I totally agree. I spoke to my partner about this exact issue at our last meeting and we decided that in the event that it’s a runaway success we would limit selling passes for the system to avoid p!ssing off people who had paid for rapid can cooling. Oversubscription is a problem I would love to have!

    Great idea and I hope I get to use it at a festival soon.

    I hope so too!



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,402 ✭✭✭Stillill42


    Thanks for the reply Van Doozy. I'd probably go €20 for a weekend pass? Again, all the best with it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭Alkers


    I've upgraded to a campervan / caravan pass at this stage so have access to a fridge when at festivals but great idea otherwise.

    Are you planning this to be in the campsite as opposed to the venue grounds? Some festivals might not want you to be encouraging people to stay in the campsite more?

    Heineken have had a setup at some EPs where you buy cans from them at an inflated price and they keep them cold for you and you pick them up as you want. They had a few dotted around the campsites.

    If I was camping I'd definitely use it but only if it was near to where I was setup. The distance I'd be willing to walk each time would probably vary with how sunny a day it is!



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Hey Alkers, thanks for your reply - yes I know your name from the motorhomes and campervans forum!

    Yes, if we go ahead with it as planned it will strictly be for the campsite. Perhaps it might be seen as encouraging people to stay in the campsite, but in fairness, if a cold beer is all that’s going to keep them there, then why are they at a festival at all!? You can get cold cans at home. I’d imagine most people at festivals want to go see stuff and listen to music. I would counter that point with the argument that any decent festival SHOULD have a facility for campers to chill their own beers! Then they can get a nice pint of draft when they go into the main arena to hear some bands.

    And yes, I remember well the can fridge setup at EP, and indeed Oxegen prior to that. I would describe it as 'sub optimal', for several reasons. Just my opinion.🤷‍♀️



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,428 ✭✭✭RINO87


    No. Warm cans are the life and soul of a festival, we would be lost without them. People are getting too soft. Plus they make the sub par pints inside the arena all that more palatable!


    I jest, I'd pay 20=25 for this for sure, but as others said access and q'ing times would be crucial - I don't know if 90 seconds even would cut it - Look at the queus for coffee in the mornings at festivals, they can be crazy, and probably have a similar dispensing time - If you are only cooling a couple of cans at a time, people are not going to stand in line for all that long, unless its absolutely roasting.

    You do have a good idea, and with some tweaking you have a great little earner on your hands I would say. Best of luck.



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Rino87 thanks for your input. Yes what festival experience would be authentic without delicious cans of Tent Galahad at 23°C?

    The machine has a sh!tload of capacity for cooling multiple cans simultaneously - much more than a coffee stall that has maybe 2 dispensers.

    But still - if needs be we'll stop selling passes to avoid having people queue for too long. ideally they wouldn't have to queue at all - except maybe for a minute or so at peak times.

    That's something that I guess we wouldn't get a feel for until the actual event.


     



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,428 ✭✭✭RINO87


    The machine has a sh!tload of capacity for cooling multiple cans simultaneously - much more than a coffee stall that has maybe 2 dispensers.

    But still - if needs be we'll stop selling passes to avoid having people queue for too long. ideally they wouldn't have to queue at all - except maybe for a minute or so at peak times.

    Sounds great, you're on to a winner here!



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,361 ✭✭✭GiftofGab


    I plan on bringing a cooler back,filling it up with cold water and putting my cans in that.

    I think the cooler system needs to be convenient and price worthy. We're not going to drink 24 cans in the campsite in one day so don't need to cool that many. We may only need to cool 4-6 cans.



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Hi GiftofGab, thanks for your reply

    I plan on bringing a cooler back,filling it up with cold water and putting my cans in that.

    You'll get maybe as low as 12° doing this. If you're lucky. In my opinion it is a clunky solution for that kind of performance. But maybe you're not into freezing cold beer. Maybe you just don't want to be stuck drinking soup. If so, then yours is a perfectly reasonable approach I guess. Some people love their beer cold though.

    I think the cooler system needs to be convenient and price worthy.

    I agree. The system IS convenient. I know that. Whether it's price worthy depends on how people value it i guess. I would be interested in what you would pay for such a service? Any thoughts?

    It means you would have access to ice cold cans on demand - much colder than you would get with your cooler, which you wouldn't have to carry all the way in and out.

    We're not going to drink 24 cans in the campsite in one day so don't need to cool that many. We may only need to cool 4-6 cans.

    Yes but the pass gets you weekend access. Most people would put a fair oul dint in a 24 slab over a 3 day festival. Again, maybe you're not a big drinker...



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,117 ✭✭✭El Director


    Do you have festivals earmarked for trialling this summer @Van Doozy?



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,098 ✭✭✭Poorside


    A weekend pass for 24 cans at about €20 would have my money no problem.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,696 ✭✭✭StupidLikeAFox


    To start would you try partner with some company looking for a unique marketing gimmick, (I'm thinking somebody like paddy Power would be all over it). Then you could focus on providing the service and let them worry about getting it out there.

    You get paid for providing a service and they would see it as a marketing cost so probably wouldn't care about profitability too much. It would let you test the market if you wanted to set up down the line also



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,013 ✭✭✭sully123


    If I were you I'd consider not charging, but teaming up with a promo group who would pay you directly, and pay for your concession at the festival. Good idea overall tho



  • Registered Users Posts: 28,007 ✭✭✭✭looksee


    The machine has a sh!tload of capacity for cooling multiple cans simultaneously 

    You would need some sort of a token system going otherwise you have a dozen people each with a couple of cans in the machine, standing around in a cluster waiting, then claiming they handed in 4! Then how do you differentiate between who handed in the good stuff or the cheap stuff?



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Yes I do, But like I said above we have nothing finalised yet so can’t say anything just yet I'm afraid!

    I am in dialogue with a couple, and some events have fairly standardised online application processes which you just fill out and then they select traders who they feel will be a good fit for their 'vibe'.

    There are some I’d prefer to get more than others for all sorts of reasons. And one or two I'd love to be at! Then it comes down to cost…

    Edit: I am actually trialling it at an event this weekend, but for use behind the bar (customer's can't BYOB to this one)



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Good suggestion. I would have thought more drinks companies but you could be dead right about the likes of a seemingly unrelated business like PaddyPower who would like the quirky / novelty aspect to it.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 984 ✭✭✭kg703


    Hey! I come from this as a regular festival goer and am also now involved with them this year.

    Sounds like a great idea. I'd love to bring down some of my fancy white hags and have them chilled in seconds ha! I think you would definitely need multiple spots or youre going to end up with the queue issue or the issue its too far to walk to chill two cans because by the time you get back and drink them, any more would be warm.

    Trial runs are key here so that you know your business model, know exactly how many you can process, how many people and how much time it'll take.

    My advice is to link in with one of the smaller camping festivals & offer your services for a nominal fee e.g. the cost of transport and your time for the weekend. Then dont charge and gauge interest, have someone there recording the numbers, timing people, troubleshooting issues, seeing what common complaints may be and preparing the solutions.

    I would not pay for set yourself up at the likes of Electric Picnic without knowing all of this because if you charge people and the service is not what they expect or is poorly organised and run, word of mouth will kill you and people will say 'that was crap last year, not paying the money for that again'. Same before you go looking for a possible sponsor as someone mentioned - they will want all the critical info before giving you any money and proof it works. They wont associate their brand with something unless you can show what you can do.



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Yes, good suggestion, and we are also working this angle. That approach has a lot of advantages. The system is not proven in the field (pardon pun) yet though so it is hard to get buy in from promo groups without them standing on front of the machine seeing it work its magic!



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Its self service. They look after their own cans.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,244 ✭✭✭Juwwi


    Sounds like a great idea ,, how cold does it get the cans ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,244 ✭✭✭Juwwi





  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Hey KG703 many thanks for taking the time to respond. I agree with what you're saying re the smaller festival approach alright.

    Hey! I come from this as a regular festival goer and am also now involved with them this year. 

    Sounds like a great idea. I'd love to bring down some of my fancy white hags and have them chilled in seconds ha! 

    How much would you pay for the weekend?

    Funnily enough a part of how this started was a conversation I had at ATN 19 - some whippersnapper was laughing at the p!sswater I was drinking. I told him we'd do the pepsi challenge of my bargain lager versus his hand crafted double IPA when the tent he was keeping it in got up to 25 degrees in the afternoon sun.



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    It depends on a couple of variables - mainly how warm they are and how long you want to wait.

    Room temperature to standard domestic fridge temperature (4 degrees) takes approx 60 seconds, we say 90 because they're probably going to be warmer than room temp in a tent. If you had them in the dashboard of your car in July and want them absolutely ice cold you'd be looking at about 2 mins.



  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 10,686 Mod ✭✭✭✭melekalikimaka


    Hey Van,


    Work in the area myslef, with concessions a number of times and in a few other areas.


    Heineken did something similar, it was so so. problem is the high cost of concession space, insurance, staffing, equipment and the sheer number of locations you will need, you will also have to handle competing with the festivals main drinks supplier, not sure how they would feel about their exclusive ability to serve the only cold drinks at the show.


    You could go down the sponsorship route but this then requires branding.


    The whole industry is all over the shop now so there is windows to step in gaps


    Best of luck



  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Van Doozy


    Hi melekalikimaka, thanks for your reply

    ya I am familiar with what has been done in the past alright, I believe what we're doing offers distinct advantages over that approach. Mainly convienence and speed. But you're dead right about those other factors too. 

    It's all in the mix!

    The bottom line about all this is that there is are a lot of elements to this that I simply won't fully understand until we go and do it.

    I have been working on this project for over 2 years - the machine itself took nearly a year to develop - and now that holding festivals is suddenly a reality the possibility that we might soon be in front of paying customers with what was once a pipe dream of mine has suddently become very real!!!

    I got good feedback from friends and contacts but I felt posting here would give me honest feedback from festival goers who have no skin in the game before we make the final call to march forward with it!

    It's been pretty positive, so thanks all for that, I'll keep you up to date.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 984 ✭✭✭kg703


    Me personally, I'd pay a tenner. But I only ever bring about 6-8 cans with me and drink spirits for the weekend. Plus I'd only pay if it was literally a walk up and walk away system. I'd sacrifice cold cans for avoiding any type of queue. The heineken one as mentioned above (I know yours is different) - a friend put their cans in there at EP and had to queue an hour to get them back. Wasn't worth anything. Queue management is your big issue here and you need to have a management system in place to make sure the 90 second aspect works.

    You mentioned above that you only have one machine. That'll limit you to who you are offering to as the walk between campsites is long enough, you dont want to be walking 15 mins just to get a couple of cans cooled down.

    There are tons of new small festivals this year who are dipping their toes in the water - I really think trying to link in with one of them is your best bet.



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