FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to beverage coolers. More particularly, the present invention relates to a nestably stackable coaster-type cooler.
After water and tea, beer is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Beer is created from a fermenting process involving malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat. The fermenting process is known as brewing, and can produce a variety of different types of beer. Beer is best stored in cool, dark places. Beer is often served in a variety of vessels. Some beer is consumed from a can or bottle. Other beers are poured from a tap into glasses. The shape and size of the glass from which beer is consumed can provide the drinker with a different drinking experience. For example, a glass with a wide rim distributes beer more evenly across the expanse of the tongue. Additionally, after beer is poured, it typically develops a foamy “head” and the shape of beer glass effects the accumulation of the “head”.
Even though there many different styles of beer glassware, the most common style of beer glass is the pint glass. The pint glass holds an “imperial pint”, which is 568 ml, or about 1.2 U.S. pints. The most common shape for the pint glass is an inverted truncated cone around 6 inches (15 cm) tall and tapering by about 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter over its height. This type of pint glass has a flat, circular bottom, without any sort of stem. The glass in the bottom of the pint glass tends to be a little thicker than the glass throughout the rest of the pint glass.
The beer drinking experience is affected by several factors. The ingredients of the beer, the type of glass the beer is served in, and the temperature at which the beer is served tend to be the biggest factors that affect how the beer is enjoyed. Beer can be served at a wide range of temperatures. Some proponents find that beer served at room temperature, or even served warm, tends to have a wider bouquet of flavors. Typically though, beer is found to be most refreshing when served cold. Indeed, most beer in the U.S. is served in-between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
A problem exists, therefore, in keeping a pint glass of beer at such a cold temperature. The pint glass is not effectively insulated in order to keep the beer at a constant temperature once it is poured. As a result, the beer will quickly warm to the ambient temperature, and lose much of its refreshing quality. Accordingly, there is a need for a way to keep a pint glass of beer well chilled once the beer has been poured.
Just as human beings desire cooled beverages pets likewise desire cooled beverages, particularly on hot days. Many pet owners go to great lengths to ensure that their pets have cooled water to drink for comfort and health reasons. Accordingly, there is a further need for beverage coolers that can transport and maintain, typically, water in a cooled state, and yet provide easy access to the chilled fluid on demand.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention fulfills these needs, and provides other related advantages.
The present invention resides in a novel beverage cooler. The beverage cooler comprises, generally, a base having an upper surface, a lower surface, and one or more side surfaces connecting the upper surface and the lower surface, wherein the base defines an inner fluid-receiving reservoir. The side surfaces of the base are beveled, and a central recess is formed in the upper surface of the base. A fluid-fill aperture is provided through the base, which allows access to the inner fluid-receiving reservoir. Preferably, the fluid-fill aperture is disposed through the lower surface of the base. A removable plug is provided for releasably sealing the fluid-fill aperture.
A plurality of feet extend from the lower surface of the base to support the beverage cooler over a generally planar surface. The feet include a skid-resistant surface. The base and the feet are configured to allow one beverage cooler to be nestably stacked atop another beverage cooler.
In the illustrated embodiments, the central recess is configured either to receive a lower portion of a pint glass, or such that the beverage cooler will serve as a pet water dish. In this case, the central recess is configured in a semi-spherical shape. A selectively sealable aperture may be provided through the upper surface of the base and within the central recess to permit the central recess to be filled with chilled fluid stored and transported within the fluid-receiving reservoir.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.
The accompanying drawings illustrate the invention. In such drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a beverage cooler embodying the present invention, illustrating its use in connection with a pint glass.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the beverage dispenser shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken generally along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the beverage cooler of FIGS. 1-3.
FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the beverage cooler of FIGS. 1-4.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a plurality of beverage coolers nestably stacked atop one another.
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the beverage cooler of the present invention.
FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken generally along line 8-8 of FIG. 7.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 9 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 8, illustrating removal of a plug from an aperture disposed through an upper surface of the base, thereby permitting fluid to flow from an inner fluid-receiving reservoir into the central recess formed in the upper surface of the base.
The present invention comprises a beverage cooler referred to by the number 10 in FIGS. 1-6 and by the reference number 100 in FIGS. 7-9. In the following description, functionally equivalent components of the illustrated beverage coolers will retain the same reference number.
As shown in FIGS. 1-6, the beverage cooler 10 is in the shape of a truncated pyramid and is used in conjunction with a pint glass 12. In its preferred embodiment, the beverage cooler is no taller than 3.5 inches. The beverage cooler 10 is manufactured from a material with certain thermodynamic properties that allow the beverage cooler 10 to stay cold for long periods of time once it has been frozen. Such material may be an aqueous solution encased in plastic. The aqueous solution may possess a very slow phase change property that allows the solution to remain cold for a long amount of time. The aqueous solution may also be plain water. Alternatively, the beverage cooler 10 may be solid plastic that remains very cold after having been frozen. A user will use the beverage cooler 10 as a coaster, placing his or her pint glass 12 in the beverage cooler 10 when not drinking from it. In this way, the pint glass 12 is continuously chilled until the user again lifts the pint glass 12 to take a drink.
The beverage cooler 10 comprises a base 14 having an upper surface 16, a lower surface 18, and a plurality of side surfaces 20 connecting the upper surface and the lower surface. As shown best in FIG. 3, the base 14 defines an inner fluid-receiving reservoir 22. Moreover, a central recess 24 is formed in the upper surface 16 of the base 14.
A fluid-fill aperture 26 is formed through the lower surface 18 of the base 14, which aperture allows access to the inner fluid-receiving reservoir 22. A removable plug 28 is associated with the fluid-fill aperture 26 to releasably seal the aperture for purposes of retaining, preferably, an aqueous solution within the fluid-receiving reservoir 22.
A plurality of feet 30 extend from the lower surface 18 of the base 14, and each foot includes a skid-resistant surface 32. As illustrated best in FIG. 6, the base 14 and the feet 30 are configured to allow one beverage cooler 10 to be nestably stacked atop another beverage cooler.
FIG. 2 illustrates that the central recess 24 is located in the center of the beverage cooler 10. This placement of the central recess 24 ensures that the base of the pint glass 12 will be evenly cooled on all sides. The beveled side surfaces 20 of the base 14 allow for a maximum amount of cooling agent to fit within the inner fluid-receiving reservoir 22. The beveled sides 16 also give the beverage cooler 10 a very low profile, while ensuring a very high level of stability for any glass placed therein. This is helpful in preventing the pint glass 12 from tipping over when used on a rickety table, a boat, a rowdy sporting event, etc.
FIG. 3 illustrates a side cut-away view of the beverage cooler 10. Here, the central recess 24 is shown as sized to fit the bottom of a standard pint glass 12. The central recess 24 may be flat-bottomed, or may contain a series of raised dimples (not shown). These dimples may prevent the pint glass 12 from becoming suctioned within the central recess 24. This would be especially useful once condensation forms on the outside of the pint glass 12 and forms a puddle in the bottom of the central recess 24. The depth of the central recess 24 roughly corresponds to the depth of the thick glass found in the base of the pint glass 12. Chilling the thick glass base of the pint glass 12 ensures quicker and longer lasting cooling of the beverage contained within the pint glass. While the central recess 24 may be specifically sized to fit the base of a pint glass 12, other cups and glasses may be used in conjunction with the present invention and benefit from its cooling abilities.
FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate the placement of feet 30 in relation to the beveled sides 20, as well as the central recess 24 (shown by the dashed lines). The feet 30 may be made of plastic or rubber, and function to keep the beverage cooler 10 from sliding across the surface upon which it is placed. The material of the feet 30 should be able to retain its non-skid ability even on a wet surface. The feet 30 are preferably wide and shallow so as not to create a higher profile than necessary for the beverage cooler 10. The bottom of the beverage cooler 10 is preferably fitted with four feet 30, as shown in FIG. 5. Each foot 30 is preferably positioned near a corner of the bottom of the beverage cooler 10. In this way, the beverage cooler 10 is provided with a maximum amount of stability.
FIG. 5 further illustrates placement of the removable plug 28 relative to the lower surface 18 of the base 14. The fluid-fill aperture 26 and its associated removable plug 28 allow a cooling fluid to be placed within or withdrawn from the fluid-receiving reservoir 22 of the base 14. Although an entirely removable plug 28 has been shown, it will be understood that any type of valve that allows fluid ingress and egress through the fluid-fill aperture 26 could advantageously be used in connection with the present invention.
Although the beverage cooler 10 has been described in use with beer in a pint glass 12, the present invention may be used with an assortment of beverages and drinking vessels. As is well-known in the art, beverages such as water, juice, milk, soda pop, and wine benefit from chilling. Also, many types of glasses besides a pint glass 12 will fit within the central recess 24. Such glasses may be a smaller juice glass, a short tumbler, or a tall soda pop glass. Drinking vessels made from plastic or metal may also benefit from use in conjunction with the beverage cooler 10.
FIGS. 7-9 illustrate another embodiment of the beverage cooler 100 which has all of the components of the beverage cooler 10 described above, plus an additional feature. The beverage cooler 100 of FIGS. 7-9 comprises a base 14 having an upper surface 16, a lower surface 18, and one or more side surfaces 20 connecting the upper surface to the lower surface. The base 14 defines an inner fluid-receiving reservoir 22, wherein the side surfaces 20 and the base are beveled.
The central recess 24 is formed in the upper surface 16 of the base 14 and is configured in a semi-spherical shape so as to serve as a pet water dish. A fluid-fill aperture 26 is provided through the lower surface 18 of the base 14, which allows access to the inner fluid-receiving reservoir 22. A removable plug 28 is provided for releasably sealing the fluid-fill aperture 26. As explained previously, the plug may take different forms than that illustrated, provided that it sealingly fills the fluid-fill aperture to prevent unintended fluid ingress and egress through the fluid-fill aperture 26.
A plurality of feet 30 extend from the lower surface 18 of the base 14, wherein each foot includes a skid-resistant surface.
In this embodiment wherein the beverage cooler 100 serves as a pet water dish, an upper fluid-fill aperture 34 is provided through the lowermost point of the semi-spherical central recess 24 and is provided with an associated plug 36. The plug 36 may be completely removable from the aperture 34, or it may be of the valve type which permits the upper fluid-fill aperture 34 to be selectively opened and closed without completely disassociating the plug 36 from the aperture 34.
In use, the fluid-receiving reservoir 22 could be filled with the desired fluid (such as water) and chilled. On occasions such as picnics, day journeys and the like, the pet water dish version of the beverage cooler 100 can then be transported along with the pet and when it is desired to provide a cooled beverage for the pet, the plug 36 is either removed from or manipulated relative to the upper fluid-fill aperture 34 to allow chilled fluid (beverage) to flow upwardly through the aperture 34 and partially fill the central recess 24 as shown in FIG. 9.
Although several embodiments have been described in detail for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited, except as by the appended claims.