• Bierstick: A lesson in bad business

    Back in 2008, we discovered the Bierstick. Simply put, it was a beer bong alternative that was a giant syringe that delivers two beers rapidly by depressing the plunger at the back end. A new and unique way to pound beers in the tailgating parking lot that didn’t rely on gravity. Pretty cool product… or so we thought.

    We reached out to the Bierstick people and requested a sample so that we could test it out and write a proper and thorough review. All of our emails were either ignored or rebuffed. Apparently the creators had built such an awesome product, they didn’t need any more publicity.

    In December 2014, we received this email:

    We recently became the new and proud owners of a unique beer drinking device, the Bierstick! This is a new product that we would like to offer to you at a wholesale price. Our prices are currently low until we establish a good name with our customers.This device sells for $43 on our website. Sell it in your store for whatever you think is best. The Bierstick team is hoping to create a long lasting relationship with you and we look forward to doing business. We see you have novelty items like ours on your site and we feel like this could potentially help the both of us.

    Apparently the “search” button on our website was not prominent and hard to find because had these new owners bothered to click it and enter in the term “bierstick” they would have learned we discovered their product six years prior. Despite that glaring oversight, we opened up an email conversation. I requested a sample of the Bierstick so we could thoroughly test it in a tailgating environment. Their reply:

    Ya we can do that, we can do 19$ free shipping does that work? Where do I send the invoice via paypal?

    We are the young new owners with different business ideas for the BierStick. Quick responses, good quality, professional business.

    Thanks

    Seeing how these new owners are self-admittedly “young new owners with different business ideas” I politely explained to these new owners that Tailgating Ideas is not in the business of buying products just to see if they will be a good fit, are made well, will sell to our audience, etc. Their reply to my email was an admission of their naiveté to the business world and they offered to send a sample gratis.

    Upon receipt, we did a review and a video review that we uploaded to YouTube:

    (We have since edited the video to update viewers on the business relationship that has gone sour.)

    We liked the product and thought it might be good to offer the Bierstick for sale in our online store. We priced it at just under $30 which is lower than most retailers would price a product. Normally, retailers will price a product for double their landed costs. (Landed costs include cost of the product, freight, etc.) Priced at $19 per unit we would need to price the product at nearly $40 even if Bierstick folks picked up the shipping. They didn’t and we paid for the units to arrive via our own FedEx account.

    In addition to offering the Bierstick in our online store, we took them to outdoor street fairs and open air marketplaces and tried to sell them there. Of the 10 initial units we purchased, we sold three or four in a year. Not the stellar product that was supposed to fly off the shelves as the new, young owners had promised.

    Because the sales of the Bierstick had been so underwhelming for so long, we decided to try and sell the remaining units on Amazon. The thought process was to just liquidate the Bierstick from our inventory. Cut our losses and move on and treat it as a learning lesson.

    The Bierstick product was up and available for sale on Amazon for 24 hours before we received this email:

    Hi,

    We are the owners of the Bierstick and do not give any consent to sell the Bierstick product on Amazon. A few weeks ago we contacted Amazon and stopped all other sellers from listing our product. A few of them got there accounts suspended. We would like to contact you before we do this and give you a chance to take down your listing. Please do this ASAP and let us know. Just would like to give you a heads up before we move to Amazon for further action. We will do this in 48 hrs.

    Thanks for your compliance

    Nothing like coming out of the gate with claws and fangs. Not the way we would have opened up a business conversation but they are free to run their business the way they want. Our response:

    This is Dave from Tailgating Ideas. I purchased these Bierstick units a few years back. I purchased a quantity of them and they have not sold very well. We have tried selling them in our online store and at open air marketplaces like street festivals and swap meets. The Biersticks we have still inventory have not sold in over a year. We were using Amazon to liquidate the inventory and recover some revenue that is tied up in inventory that has not and does not sell.

    If you would like to buy back our remaining inventory we would be happy to do that. We would like to continue to sell these remaining units in the Amazon marketplace to clearance these items and clear the inventory. Thank you for your understanding.

    Apparently reasonable and professional responses are not part of the Bierstick team’s business plan. They quickly responded with:

    Sorry we can’t take the Biersticks back. We sold them to you with the intention that you were going to sell them on your own website. We have amazon contacting us when someone new comes on Amazon and asks if we would like to kick them off. We can’t allow people to be on Amazon. So we will have no choice but to send a dispute against you through Amazon. I don’t want to do that so please just remove your listing. You can continue to sell any other place but amazon. Or we will buy them back at 3.00 each

    Buy back our remaining inventory for $3 a unit? We paid $19 plus the freight to have them shipped to us. We can only assume we will be the ones picking up the shipping costs to ship the remaining Biersticks they are willing to buy back at $0.16 on the dollar. How gracious of the Bierstick team!

    We have since removed the Bierstick listing from Amazon in order to be in compliance. But in an effort to rid ourselves of these remaining Biersticks, we are now discounting them 50% off the regular price. That’s right, we are now selling them for below what we paid for them.

    Visit the Bierstick product page and use coupon code: BIERSTICK at check out and take 50% OFF the Bierstick.

    Best of luck to the guys over at Bierstick. We hope you sell a truckload of these on Amazon. We only wanted to sell the remaining stock we had on our shelves. Instead of looking the other way and letting us get rid of the Bierstick you chose a different route.

  • Pelican 20QT Cooler Review

    Almost exactly two years ago to the day, we reviewed the Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler. You can read the review for yourself but in a nutshell, it received a glowing review and was deemed “Tailgate Approved”.

    We were recently contacted by the folks at Pelican informing us that they have rolled out an improved model that is lighter yet has the same cooling and ice retention as their older models. Because we wanted an apples to apples test, we requested to review the new model and compare it directly to the older model.

    (Disclaimer: We received a sample of the Pelican 20QT Cooler free of charge. The fact this sample was provided to us for free in no way influenced our opinion of the product nor did it impact our ability to test and review the product fairly and objectively.)

    If you skipped the video, the new and improved Pelican is just that, new and improved. We definitely appreciated that the newer model is nearly 30% lighter than the old model while maintaining top notch ice retention. The old Pelican weighed 16 pounds empty while the new Pelican was a little over 12 pounds. We even used a scale at home to see how much weight was saved.

    The major difference with the new Pelican is that it is a bit taller but still holds 20 quarts. The handle rotates from the back to the front whereas the old Pelican only rotated 90 degrees. The contoured rear of the cooler makes it easier to transport combined with the lower weight.

    Improved means you make it better without losing the positive features from the previous version. The features that remain from the old model and are included in the newer model include the ability to padlock the cooler closed, the bottle opener on the front, the heavy duty latch handles and the outstanding ice retention.

    You may wonder why the ability to padlock your cooler is important. Outside of the dude that keeps stealing your expensive craft beer out of your cooler, if you take your cooler camping, you want it to be bear safe. Bears can recognize a cooler and know there are some tasty morsels in there. But if the bear can’t get into you cooler, they will eventually move on.

    If a 500 pound Grizzly Bear with 2″ claws can’t get into the Pelican Cooler, your 300 pound buddy with mustard stains on his jersey is not getting in there either. Just like 35 pounds of salmon tempted the bears, your 12-pack of Pliny the Elder will definitely lure in a few tailgate moochers.

    After careful testing and putting the Pelican 20 QT Cooler through it’s paces, it is definitely new and improved. Also, it is definitely “Tailgate Approved” but you probably already figured that.

    The complete line of Pelican Coolers is available from Amazon.

  • Rhino Wipes Review

    Paper towels at a tailgate party are a staple. Normally buying a bulk of paper towels at your local discount warehouse store can get you by for the season. But tailgating messes tend to be a bit more, well, messy than those in your kitchen. A stronger and more durable way to clean up your tailgating messes is what you need.

    We recently were introduced to Rhino Wipes. When we were first contacted by the folks at the National Wiper Alliance (stop snickering you immature jackasses…) we were a bit skeptical. Paper towels are paper towels. How can Rhino Wipes be such a big improvement?

    Truth is, Rhino Wipes are not plain old paper towels at all. The Rhino Wipe is a durable reinforced canvas tote and refill wiper that can attach to wherever you need a wiper to clean up, wipe face/hands, maintenance, etc. The tote itself can attach to convenient places including your pop-up tent leg, the handle of your cooler, Beer Pong Table legs along with plenty of other places at your tailgate space.

    The Rhino Wipe itself is much stronger than normal paper towels as well. Upon receiving a sample of Rhino Wipes, we put them to the test to see how durable these things are in a real tailgating environment.

    As you could see in the video, Rhino Wipes are much stronger than paper towels when wet or dry. The canvas tote also makes it much more convenient to dispense one wipe at a time from an area that is more convenient than placing them on a flat surface. Getting a single wipe with every pull cuts down on waste which helps the environment.

    The canvas tote also is useful when not tailgating. Home uses in the garage or in the backyard BBQ area are natural fits for a wipe that is durable and easy to dispense. The snaps on the tote allows you to attach it to the back of your headrest so passengers in the backseat can access them. A great way to keep your car clean especially if you have kids in the backseat.

    The name Rhino Wipe was no accident. Rhinos embody creatures that are tough and rugged, much like these wipes. But it goes beyond just the name. A portion of every sale of Rhino Wipes go to the International Rhino Foundation.

    Rhino Wipes are available on Amazon. 75 wipes along with the tote will cost less than $14.

  • Home brewing just got a whole lot easier

    It’s no secret here at Tailgating Ideas that we enjoy craft beer. Anyone who has stumbled across our tweets has probably noticed we tend to check into Untappd from time to time.

    The craft beer enthusiast community tends to blend and intermingle with the home brewing community. My wife and I have dabbled in home brewing by picking up a 1-gallon brewing kit from a local big box store. It was fun to spend an evening “mashing in”, bringing the wort to temperature, adding hops and ultimately transferring it to the fermenter. I will admit, after a few times of doing this home brew process, we lost interest and would find ourselves back at our local bottle shop shopping for craft beer in bottles and cans.

    The appeal of DIY beer was the novelty of brewing a beer that was not easily located in our local bottle shop. But the hassle of measuring out the grains, making sure the temperature was exact, ensuring the hops were added at precisely the right time took the fun out of home brewing. We just wanted great craft beer that we couldn’t buy locally. There had to be a better way.

    Recently a friend told me about PicoBrew. In a nutshell, PicoBrew is a much like those Keurig coffee makers where you pop in the coffee and minutes later you have a fresh brewed cup of coffee comparable in quality to that overpriced venti cup from a franchise coffee bar. PicoBrew is almost the same thing but with beer. Glorious beer!

    Now some home brewers may claim that using the PicoBrew is cheating. You are not really home brewing if you slide in a pre-packaged carton and push a "start" button. That may be true but the question you need to ask yourself is, "Am I home brewing because I enjoy the process or do I just want to enjoy craft beer I wouldn't be able to buy otherwise?". If your answer was the later, PicoBrew is for you.

    Long time readers of Tailgating Ideas may recall years ago we reviewed The Bubba Keg Grill. We used it primarily as a double damper smoker but as many users of those types of grills know, maintaining the perfect temperature for smoking can be time intensive and high maintenance. I resisted buying a wood pellet grill for years because my conscience told me I was "cheating".

    I finally broke down and bought a Camp Chef Pellet Grill & Smoker LS and started smoking everything in sight. (Seriously, I smoked so much meat the neighbors thought Cheech and Chong had moved in and were renting a room.)

    At a party while serving smoked ribs, tri-tip and brisket I confessed to a friend who is an expert grill master that I was cheating and the food was prepared on a pellet smoker. He surprisingly did not chastise me but rather confessed he does the same. He expounded on the virtues of temperature consistency that pellet smokers provide which frees the pit master up to concentrate on more important things like hoisting a few craft beers. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "As long as the food turns out awesome, who cares what device you used to cook it on?". Sage advice from a veteran pit master who I respected.

    Those words resonated with me and I have applied that same advice to my approach to home brewing. As long as the beer turns out great, who cares if you pushed a button and let a machine do it or you spent an entire evening stirring, taking temperatures, chilling and siphoning?

    In browsing the Brew Marketplace on PicoBrew, there are hundreds of brew packs from which to choose. Breweries and brew masters from the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Malaysia, Ireland, Columbia, Peru, Belgium, Czech Republic and the Netherlands all have recipes and brew packs available for purchase. Most packs are priced between $23 and $29 but vary based on the recipe and the brewery. Much cheaper than a plane flight and lodging to taste all of those beers from different countries.

    The PicoBrew makes 5 liters of beer (approx. 1.3 gallons) per batch. That is the equivalent of about 10 pint servings. At more than a 12 pack of craft beer for less than $30 and you know it is fresh? Try buying seven 22 oz bombers of craft beer at your local bottle shop for less than $30. I dare you. And if you do, the quality on that craft beer probably isn't really craft at all.

    Another advantage of the PicoBrew is most craft beers purchased at retail stored come in bottles. For those tailgaters that party in parking lots with glass bans, home brewed beer avoids the bottling process and is served straight from the fermenting canister.

    All in all, if you have the means, we would highly suggest picking up a PicoBrew system for your home before football season starts back up. Think of all the recipes you can try while watching baseball and hockey this spring and summer to know which ones would be perfect for football tailgating.

    To learn more about PicoBrew or to buy one of your own, visit PicoBrew.com.

  • Cruzin Cooler Review

    They say money can’t buy happiness. That’s true. But it can buy a motorized beer cooler that goes up to 13 MPH. And have you ever seen anyone frowning when riding one of these? Didn’t think so…

    If you have been tailgating casually or are hard core and can be found in the tailgate parking lot weekly, odds are you have seen a Cruzin’ Cooler zipping around between pop-up tents and grills. From afar they look incredibly fun and knowing you can tote a 24-rack of beer and eight pounds of ice in it, tremendously practical.

    We recently had the opportunity to test out a 1000 Watt Cruzin’ Cooler and put it through its paces. Check out the video review we did recently but there is a spoiler alert. We loved it and it is definitely “Tailgate Approved”.

    The Cruzin’ Cooler combines two basic necessities of life, the ability to have cold food or a beverage handy along with the means to get somewhere, without walking. The Cruzin’ Cooler is light-weight, comes in two different models (500W & 1000W) and three colors options. A 10 mile range on the Cruzin’ Cooler depending on passenger weight and hill grades is possible.

    The cooler is light and small enough to fit in most trunks. The cooler can be used for tailgating (obviously) hunting, sporting events, races, camping, golf or even a trip to the grocery store to keep your food cold all the way home. How many times has someone forgotten to bring the ice and you can’t pull up stakes and run to the convenience store after you have parked? With a Cruzin’ Cooler, you can take off and pick up those items your buddy forgot and be back in time for the next round of Beer Pong.
    Cruzin Cooler Bikini Girl

    If you skipped the video, we point out the major features of the Cruzin’ Cooler. Some of the main aspects include:

    • USB port
    • On/Off Button at the throttle
    • 1000 or 500 Watt Electric Motor
    • Cargo capacity 24-12 oz. cans with 8 pounds of ice
    • Top Speed up to 13 mph
    • Range up to 10 miles*
    • Run time approximately 45 minutes at “walking speed” *
    • Battery charger included

    *depending on driver weight & grade

    We as tailgaters are always looking to upgrade our tailgate set-up and stand out from the rest of the parking lot. If you are one of those tailgaters, a Cruzin’ Cooler should definitely be on your list.

    The Cruzin’ Cooler comes in two different models and three available colors. The size of the cooler remains the same no matter which model you choose. The power of the engine determines the amount of weight you can carry. As you can see in the video, our founder Dave, is not a small dude. (Former college football offensive lineman…) The test was on the 1000 Watt Cruzin’ Cooler and you can see he was zipping around the Angel Stadium parking lot with no issues.

    Color options range from Black to Blue to Red and are available in the 500 or the 1000 Watt models. Price for a 500 Watt Cruzin’ Cooler is $489 while the 1000 Watt Cruzin’ Cooler will set you back $599.

    If you are interested in stepping up your tailgating game to a higher level, the Cruzin’ Cooler is definitely “Tailgate Approved”. Buy yours HERE.