ISU alumni invent new “Cooler Cannon”


Courtesy of Derek Hoy

ISU alum Derek Hoy designed a cooler that will shoot out beverage cans to the consumer. Hoy’s product has been shown on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and on the Food Network’s “Invention Hunters,” as well as being featured on ESPN’s holiday gift guide. 

Brian Day

We’re in the midst of tailgating season at Iowa State, and in most of the tailgate lots at Jack Trice Stadium, people are using the standard, run-of-the-mill cooler to hold their beverages. 

One ISU alumnus decided that he wanted to upgrade his tailgating experience by having his cooler shoot his drinks to him. Derek Hoy, an electrical engineering graduate from Iowa State, took this idea and ran with it.

Originally, the idea was materialized in the form of a coffee table that shot your drinks to you, but Hoy said he thought that a cooler would be a much more functional way of storing and receiving your drinks. Hoy calls his invention a “Cooler Cannon.”

“It’s geared more toward people tailgating and hanging out in the backyard,” Hoy said. 

While the product was in its beginning stages of work, a very limited amount of people were allowed to see it, and those who did were not allowed to speak of it to the public.

“I kept it pretty secret, really, before the patent was issued,” Hoy said.

Hoy explained how the Cooler Cannon works. A can rolls down the plank where it comes to a rest. Then, a lever and spring mechanism, powered by a 12 volt battery, shoots the can out of the lid of the cooler.

With the push of a button, the cooler can shoot a 12 ounce can up to eight feet, and you don’t even have to move a muscle. The Cooler Cannon can hold up to 18 beverages at a time and can shoot one can every two seconds.

Although Hoy did the majority of the engineering for the product, he had a lot of help with the graphic design aspect from a friend who lived across the street from him in college, Mike Ludwig.

Ludwig, another ISU graduate, designed the logo and color scheme for the Cooler Cannon.

Ludwig said that he worked on the original design for the product, which was called the “Shoot A Brew” for about six months, but then they decided to change the name to appeal to a broader market. Ludwig worked on the new design for the Cooler Cannon for about three weeks.

When Hoy first showed Ludwig the product, he had a great first impression of it, Ludwig said. 

“When he first told me about it, I said, ‘Where can I get one?'” Ludwig said. “When I first saw it, I thought it was awesome. I can’t wait to see one with an Iowa State logo on the side of it.”

Although there is no official product on the shelves yet, production is in the works, Hoy said. When it arrives in August or September of 2014, full production and distribution of the product will begin.