US 20070224316 A1
An alcoholic beverage dispensing system comprising a mother bag having and a plurality of pouches contained within the mother bag. One or more of the pouches includes an alcoholic beverage.
1. An alcoholic beverage dispensing system comprising:
a mother bag that can be opened; and
a plurality of pouches contained within the mother bag, one or more of the pouches including an alcoholic beverage.
2. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
3. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
4. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
5. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
Vn=volume of mother bag
Vp=average volume of each pouch in the mother bag, and
n=number of pouches in the mother bag then,
6. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
7. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
8. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
9. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
Vn=volume of mother bag
X1=number of pouches of volume 1 (VI)
X2=number of pouches of volume 2 (V2)
Xn=number of pouches of volume n (Vn) then,
Vn≈Σ(X1V1+X2V2+ . . . +XnVn)
10. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
11. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
12. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
13. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
14. The alcoholic beverage dispensing system of
15. An alcoholic beverage dispensing system comprising a plurality of pouches that are interconnected by perforations so that the pouches can be removed individually or severally.
16. An alcoholic beverage dispensing system comprising a plurality of pouches, each having a long edge and a short edge, wherein the long edges are separated by perforations and one small edge of each pouch is contiguous with one or more continuous strips so that the pouches may be removed from the one or more strips, while other pouches remain detachably attached thereto.
17. An alcoholic beverage dispensing system comprised of a plurality of triangular pouches wherein two of the sides of at least some of the pouches are connected to a neighboring pouch by perforations.
This application is a continuation and claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/743,613, filed Mar. 21, 2006 and provisional application Ser. No. 60/797,134, filed May 3, 2006.
1. Field of the Invention
The invention is a system and method for storing, transporting, and dispensing predictable, repeatable, measured amounts of an alcoholic beverage for consumption.
2. Background Art
In the beverage dispensing industry, it would be desirable to store a measured amount of alcoholic beverage in a container that does not deform (like a can) or break (like a bottle). Ideally, the container would have a fixed internal volume that could safely accommodate over time a predictable, measured amount (for example, one- or two-shots) of an alcoholic beverage for human consumption.
Traditionally, miniaturized glass bottles that conventionally contain small amounts of alcohol need to be disposed of after the contents are emptied. Bottles, whether broken or not, contribute to the general problems and volume of safe waste disposal. By nature of the mother bag having a ready opening, it may be convenient to place the empty pouches into the opening of the mother bag for contained disposal of the entire waste generated.
On airplanes, for example, the amount of storage space that is available to accommodate unconsumed miniaturized bottles is limited. Similarly, space available to store the bottles after they are emptied is also limited.
In the transportation industry, the problems of payload and weight also deserve consideration. In some cases, the industry has turned to using plastic containers for beverages. Such containers weigh less than a similarly sized glass container.
One societal problem relates to alcoholic drinking and driving. A causative factor is the perhaps understandable desire of a bartender to ingratiate himself with a customer by generously over-pouring more than one shot of an alcoholic beverage while the customer pays for only one shot. It would therefore be desirable to have readily available a system for dispensing alcoholic beverages in fixed amounts so that both the bartender and the customer respectively know what they are dispensing and consuming. In turn, this may lead to a decline in alcohol-related highway accidents. The consumer or bartender may therefore be able to follow the states charting guidelines that estimate the alcohol that can be consumed per hour.
Among the art identified in a pre-filing preliminary investigation are the following published patent applications and issued U.S. Pat. Nos.: 4,903,841; 5,060,835; 5,240,158; 5,890,636; 5,937,617; 6,328,193; 6,652,144; 6,662,829; 6,610,338; D255,621; D291,623; D333,570; D344,178; D444,295S; 2003/0213707 A1; 2004/0040982; 2004/0118859; 2005/0079251; and 2005/0147329.
To address these needs, the invention generally relates to an alcoholic beverage dispensing system in which alcohol for consumption is packaged in sachets or pouches (hereinafter collectively “pouches”). In one embodiment, the pouches can be, but are not limited to 25 ml in volume. In some embodiments, the pouches are the same size. In other embodiments, the pouches are of different sizes. The pouches may contain the same alcoholic beverage. But in other applications, pouches may be assembled so that a grouping may contain more than one type of alcohol. In some cases, alcohols may be pre-mixed within a given pouch.
Preferably, but not necessarily, the pouches are assembled in a mother bag. For example, in one embodiment the mother bag has a re-sealable opening, or a tamper-proof seal which may include, but not be limited to a heat seal.
Because the tamper-proof seal needs to be broken to open or access the contents of the mother bag, a further benefit is that it cannot be opened and re-closed without the integrity of the dispenser being visibly damaged. The mother pouch and its member pouches appear as the original product, intact, as per manufacturer's quality control. This, in turn, will assure consumers that they are in possession of an unadulterated, non-tampered package, which may pass through several hands before appearing on the retailer's shelf for sale.
Prior art carriers, such as cartons or cardboard boxes, can be opened and re-closed with shrink wrapping or adhesive tape that is commonly used to close these forms of containers. This suggests that these forms of packaging are not “fool proof” to tampering.
Another example of the mother bag packaging may involve a vacuum seal. In this example, air is evacuated from the mother bag after the pouches have been loaded into the mother bag. This configuration confers economy in packing density. Likewise, the individual pouches themselves may be so filled with alcohol as to allow any air in the pouch to be evacuated. Other forms of mother bag packaging may involve the use of other gases or other fluids, such as fill material.
The invention generally relates to an alcoholic beverage dispensing system, in which alcohol for consumption is packaged in sachets or pouches (hereinafter collectively “pouches”). In one embodiment for example, the pouches are 25 ml in volume. In other embodiments, the pouches are 30 ml or 50 ml in volume. The pouches are made of a soft, pliable plastic material which has the attributes of flexibility, imperviousness, and resistance to chemical interaction with the pouch's alcoholic contents.
The pouches are contained in a mother bag, which in one embodiment has a re-sealable opening and a tamper-proof seal which may include, but is not limited to a heat seal. In that this additional tamper-proof seal needs to be broken in order to open or access the contents in the mother bag, for convenience, a number of pouches can be assembled in the “mother” bag. For example, in one embodiment, the mother bag may have a capacity that equals 750 ml, or any other approved container size.
The pouches are typically sealed after they are filled with a measured amount of alcohol. The pouches may be re-sealable or non re-sealable. In use, the alcoholic contents may be accessed conveniently by opening a pouch. The opening means includes for example a perforated tear seam, or at a notch provided along the side or top of the pouch. When the tear seam is opened, the beverage can be poured from the pouch with minimal spillage. The pouches may be any design that meets market-acceptable criteria, as to structure, form and closures.
In one non-limiting example, enclosed within the mother bag are twenty-five 30 ml portions of alcohol (750 ml in total).
Various combinations of size of the mother bag and the number of pouches are considered within the scope of the present invention. Further non-limiting examples include:
1. A 375 ml mother bag enclosing between 1-30 smaller pouches. For example, if there were three smaller pouches, each would include 125 ml of fluid contents, so that the total volume contained within the 375 ml mother bag would be 375 ml of alcoholic beverage. Another example would be 4×25 ml pouches of alcoholic beverage, 4×50 ml pouches of alcoholic beverage and 1×75 ml pouch of alcoholic beverage where the sum of all the varying pouches containing the alcoholic beverage equals 375 ml, preferably indicated on the mother pouch;
2. In this example, the mother bag has a capacity of 750 ml. The number of smaller pouches can be anywhere between 1 and 60 so that the total volume of alcohol contained in the mother bag is equal to 750 ml. An example would be 30×25 ml pouches equals 750 ml, preferably indicated on the mother pouch. Another example would be 1×50 ml pouches of alcoholic beverage and 4×25 ml pouches of alcoholic beverage, 1×30 ml, 1×70 ml pouch of alcoholic beverage and 1×500 ml pouch of alcoholic beverage. Again the total volume of fluid equals 750 ml, preferably indicated on the mother bag. In this case, if n is the number of smaller pouches, 1≦n≦60, where n is an integer between 1 and 60;
3. In this example, the mother bag has a capacity of 1.5 liters. In this embodiment, the number of pouches can be anywhere between 1 and 120, so that the total capacity amounts to about 1.5 liters. An example would be 60×25 ml pouches, preferably indicated on the mother pouch. Another example would be 10×50 ml pouches of alcoholic beverage and 10×100 ml pouches of alcoholic beverage preferably indicated on the mother bag. In this example, 1≦n≦120, wherein n is an integer between 1 and 120;
4. Where the capacity of the mother bag is 3 liters. In this embodiment, the number of pouches can be anywhere between 1 and 240, so the total capacity amounts to 3 liters. An example would be 100×30 ml pouches, preferably indicated on the mother pouch. Another example would be 60×25 ml pouches of alcoholic beverage and 30×50 ml pouches of alcoholic beverage, preferably indicated on the mother bag. In this example, 1≦n≦240, where n is an integer between 1 and 240.
The above are non-limiting examples of varying combinations of small pouches within the mother bag. This alcohol dispensing system includes all of the other combinations of varying sizes and varying numbers of the small pouches within the mother bag. The sum of all the volumes of alcohol beverage in all of the small pouches preferably will equal the indicated volume of the mother bag.
In general, these examples illustrate the following relationship:
The mother bag, in one embodiment, has a re-sealable opening, and a tamper-proof seal which may include, but is not limited to a heat seal. Because this tamper-proof seal needs to be broken in order to open or access the inside of the mother bag, one or more of the smaller pouches can be added to, or taken from the mother bag. The mother bag can then be resealed, thereby assuring continued safe retention of the alcohol-containing pouches. Like the pouches, the mother bag is preferably made of a soft, pliable plastic material which has the attributes of flexibility, imperviousness, and a long shelf life. The mother bag may contain hard or soft pliable pouches.
Thus, the pouches may be, but not necessarily, loose, attached to each other or joined and still be enclosed in the “mother pouch.” These pouches may vary in size, design, construction, and shape and still be enclosed in the “mother pouch.” See, e.g.,
The invention includes a concept of packaging alcohol in small sachets or pouches that each contain one or multiple “shots.” These “shot”-containing pouches are preferably enclosed in the mother bag for sale for example to the retail and transport industries. The pouches are impervious to liquid and the seams retain their integrity over time.
After being emptied, the pouches are readily disposable. In contrast to an empty bottle, the empty pouch can be safely flattened. In that condition, a number of disposable containers can be emptied and conveniently stored before ultimate disposition. Because the mother bag has an opening, it may be convenient to place the empty pouches into the mother bag for contained disposal of the entire waste generated.
The notion of exact 30 ml (1 ounce) portions strongly lends itself to controlled use of alcohol. As mentioned earlier, not all one ounce “shots” poured in bars and similar or other outlets are equal in measurement. In fact, there is more of a tendency to over-pour then to under-pour a drink. Thus, the patron who thinks he has had two drinks may find that he has been served the equivalent of three drinks in alcohol content. Very few patrons take exception to this “free” alcohol. In one instance, for example, some bartenders may receive a more generous tip, depending on how well he tends to a certain customer. The disclosed invention eliminates this tendency. Tips will primarily be determined based on service.
The disclosed system also offers the caterer the control he needs. This is especially true when there is no control of the inventory—for example, outside tent events or outside bars at fairs, festivals and sporting venues.
Another useful feature of the invention is that parents who purchase the disclosed beverage system for home use are able to keep count of the pouches. This may be helpful in situations where it has been known that minors have removed alcohol from regular bottles and topped up the bottle with water. Thus, the disclosed system enhances the caretaker's ability to keep better inventory.
In other circumstances, it may be necessary to carefully control the amount of alcohol consumed in order to stay below a legal limit for drinking, i.e., the alcohol level above which an individual may be subject to legal penalties (e.g., the loss of a driver's license). Such concerns are particularly acute, for example, in the minds of airline pilots, bus drivers, and the persons operating recreational watercraft. By using the disclosed system, such persons may be able to be more vigilant in monitoring the amount of their alcoholic intake.
The disclosed system device will be used to contain and dispense, but not be limited to the various spirits and wines. Table 1 is a non-exhaustive list of such beverages. It is understood that additional alcoholic beverages are included by reference to generic names of alcoholic beverages.
While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.