About this project
Hey Kickstarters, thanks for checking out our project! We know there are, and have been a few beverage cooling projects on Kickstarter, but to date we’ve felt the aesthetic nature of these products was better executed than the actual performance. Being a beer, wine, and cocktail aficionado, we have spent the last year perfecting Spirit Steels to align with the real needs of the consumer- keeping beverages cold for a LONG TIME. Our goal was to develop an elegant beverage cooling device that makes use of all that physics has to offer. Most other cooling devices use the principles of conduction through a solid material, then convection to transfer to the surrounding fluid. Spirit Steels not only rely on these same fundamentals, but they utilize a third, much more powerful principle that dominates the cooling effect. Spirit Steels have a phase change material inside that allows them to absorb 6-10 times as much heat as solid metal or soap stone equivalents.
The “Shorty” was developed for drinking spirits neat like bourbon or scotch. It also works great in crafted cocktails (i.e. Manhattan, Sazerac, etc).
Size: 1.85” diameter 0.75” tall
Weight: 1.6 oz
Material: Polished Stainless steel filled with a food grade liquid
The “Baller” was developed for beer and wine drinkers
Size: 2.0” sphere with small flat
Weight: 3.3 oz
Material: Polished stainless steel filled with food grade liquid
The phenomenon that happens inside is called enthalpy or “heat” of fusion. The heat of fusion is the amount of energy required to convert a material from a solid to a liquid. As the solid is changing to a liquid, the liquid cannot increase in temperature until all of the solid has changed to a liquid. This means that the phase change material inside the Spirit Steel remains at a constant temperature until the entire melting process is completed. This is important because solid metal or soap stone never changes phase (well at least not at temperatures you would want to be around!), and therefore is never able to absorb that massive amount of energy.
Below is an example of some temperature profiles for soap stone solutions compared with Spirit Steels. This experiment shows what happens when these different items are pulled out of the freezer and placed out in the open. As you can see the soap stone heats up VERY quickly, meaning it can’t absorb a lot of energy (heat) from your drinks. Spirit Steels reaches 33°F and then “flat lines”. The flat line is when the material inside is changing phase. Once all the material has changed from a solid to a liquid it behaves similar to the other solutions.
The next experiment shows actual results of how well these work. Below is a temperature profile of two 5 oz glasses of room temperature (70°F) wine, in which one receives a frozen Baller, and the other receives a jumbo 1.5” Soap stone. You can see that the Soap stone reaches equilibrium quickly, but fails to cool the liquid effectively. The Baller on the other hand continues to cool the drink all the way down to a crisp 45 degrees. The experiment continues by drinking both glasses (always the fun part!) at 15 minutes, then pouring an equal amount of wine into each glass. After pouring the second glass, the soapstone cools the wine a measly 1 degree. The Spirit Steel Baller though drops the wine all the way back down to just over 50 degrees! There is no need to keep getting fresh Spirit Steels from the freezer; they will continue to cool your drink for multiple pours if necessary.
The “spark” for this project came from using soap stones and ice balls at home, both of these solutions had their downfalls, soap stones didn’t cool effectively and the ice melted. We designed over 25 different shapes and sizes to find what worked best for a variety of different beverages and scenarios.
The Shorty started out as an ice cube shape. These square forms not only tended to bounce around a bit, but the corners of the squares can induce large stress concentrations when impacting glass. The design continued to morph from there to the solution you see above which maximizes cooling capacity and ergonomics. Below shows a few of the prototype designs during the genesis of the Shorty. The Shorty was designed to sit firmly on the bottom on your glassware, with gentle smooth edges to avoid damaging or scratching the glass.
The Baller shape was a bit easier as we really liked the ice ball and how it fit into our pint glasses. Using this design we simply created something that wouldn’t melt and dilute our beer. The Baller is a perfect sphere except for a small flat spot on the bottom which allows you to set it down on a flat surface (like a kitchen counter) without it rolling away. Believe us, this comes in handy! We had a prototype without the flat roll off a kitchen bar and almost gave Chris’ dog a heart attack!
Once we had our favorites, Chris machined these out of solid metal so that we could evaluate how they fit in glassware. At that point we started working with 3 manufactures that specialize in food grade stainless steel products. We down selected to an Asian manufacture based on the fact that they had competitive quotes, realistic lead times, and make some of the nicest cocktail shakers, ice buckets, and silverware available. Soft tools were ordered and working prototypes were made. We were pleased with the prototype’s performance, but made some small changes to the surface finish for aesthetics reasons.
The next step, if funded, is to machine high volume steel forging dies and being production. Our partner has over 300 skilled employees, numerous automated forging presses and the capacity to make hundreds of thousands of parts a year. They are a highly experienced manufacturing outfit and we are excited to be working with them on this project.
Some additional math if you’re interested.
Below are some calculations of the amount of energy products must absorb in order to go from 14F (freezer) to 37F (ice cold drink). The higher the amount the better the chilling power! As you can see Spirit Steels blow away other solutions!
0.75” Soap Stone: 258 Joules
0.75” Copper cube: 304 Joules
Jumbo Soap Stone: 1,538 Joules
Spirit Steel “Shorty”: 6,923 Joules
Spirit Steel “Baller”: 15,578 Joules
What is a Joule? : A joule is a unit of energy. 4.19 joules is required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius
Are Spirit Steels reusable?
Yes! They can be used over and over. Think of them as a reusable ice cubes that will last forever.
Can they be used to cool coffee, tea or soda?
Yes! They will work in any type of liquid. I even use them to cool down soups if they are too hot to eat. Below is a temperature profile for iced coffee. Three separate ceramic mugs were filled with 8 oz of 185F degree coffee and a variety of Spirit Steels.
How do I use Spirit Steels?
Just store them in your freezer and when you need to cool a beverage or keep one cool pull them out and drop them into your glassware.
How long do they need to be in your freezer before using?
This depends on your freezer’s temperature, but 1-2 hours usually does the trick!
What are Spirit Steels made from?
Spirit Steels are made from high quality food grade stainless steel and filled with a food grade liquid that is sealed inside.
Are Spirit Steels Dishwasher safe?
Yes, but a simple hand rinse and dry before putting them back in the freezer is the best.
Can I get Spirit Steels in different colors?
Maybe… I got a few prototypes gold plated (24 karat) and they look AMAZING! I might offer this finish option if I reach a funding goal of $150,000. Unfortunately colored plating options (i.e. black, blue, etc) are not food safe and thus will not be an option.
How long will they stay cold?
It depends on the temperature of your drink and the amount of liquid being cooled… But a very long time. The “Baller” will stay ice cold for well over 3 hours if you just set it on your counter top.
Do I have to get a fresh one out of the freezer if I go back for a second or third beer or glass of wine?
No, this is the beauty of Sprit Steels. They have so much thermal capacity that you can use the same one for multiple drinks.
Do you have problems with these sliding down and damaging your teeth?
No. Spirit Steel are half the density of soap stone so they don't cause any damage. Their lightweight nature makes them much safer than stones or solid metal. We have had 20 people using these for 9+ months without any issues. I have included a video of how the Baller behaves in an average pint glass when you are finishing your drink. As long as you are aware of how they behave you will not have any issues.
Will Spirit Steels keep an already cold beverage cold for an extended period of time?
Yes. Below are temperature profiles taken with three identical, room temperature, pint glasses. The first one was an empty pint glass, the second got a frozen Shorty and the third got a frozen Baller. We then poured a full 12 oz beer (out of the fridge) into each glass. All three sat out at room temperature for 1 hour. As you can see Spirit Steels help cool the liquid, as well as prolong the time you have to enjoy your cold beverage.
Risks and challenges
We’ve taken a lot of steps to ensure a successful launch, most of the process "kinks" were worked out during the prototype stages. Transportation lead times are my biggest concern, but we have built a strong relationship with our manufacturing and shipping partners and are confident that if problems do arise we will work through them quickly.
We are really excited about Spirit Steels and hope you are to. Thank you!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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