The idea hit Milwaukee small business owner Roy Henning like a ton of bricks.
Watching a beer commercial, he found his inspiration for the Home Run Koozie Kit, a hands-free, gloved beer holder, and he ran out to Menards to build a prototype.
His rookie effort was a little rough around the edges.
"The first one looked like something I made in my basement using parts from Menards," says Henning, who is also the co-owner of Mofoco, an auto parts and machine shop in Milwaukee.
But the contraption actually worked, and Henning found some business partners to put the idea into production – though for this first run, he was literally gluing on all the bat-shaped pieces of Velcro by hand.
Some 500 units later, along with a Facebook eCommerce page, the Home Run Koozie Kit is ready for order. You can also buy them in person at Mofoco at 102 W. Capitol Dr.
And, because Brewers fans know there are two cold-weather baseball tailgating seasons in Milwaukee, it has launched just in time.
"I am not endorsed by Major League Baseball or the Milwaukee Brewers at this point, so this is not an approved product," admits Henning, but he hopes someday it might be.
The $15 pair of work gloves and koozie actually works, with the Velcro strong enough to effortlessly hold a 12 or 16-ounce can in either hand. It's an odd sensation to hold a drink without using so much as a hand muscle, but it's not uncomfortable, either.
If this first run goes well, Henning hopes to make a green and gold version for Packers tailgating, and maybe even a blaze-orange model for hunting season.
"I already see four or five improvements for the next run, but the initial response has been pretty positive," says Henning.
He's also working on a recruiting a promo team to hit up bars to sell to tailgaters on the way to Miller Park.
The best part? This is a contraption that Henning will actually use himself.
"I've seen enough people drop beers in the parking lot, and I've dropped my own beer while not paying attention. When you're playing bags in one hand and you drop your beer in the other ... it's kind of annoying."
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.