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Title:
MODULARIZED BEVERAGE HOLDER FOR ACTIVELY COOLING BEVERAGES AND METHOD FOR PERFORMING THE SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/161030
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The technology disclosed relates to modularized beverage holder for actively cooling beverages. The modularized beverage holder includes a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver having a unibody construction comprising an insulating material, an interior opening adapted to receive beverage containers of varying sizes and materials, a bottom portion adapted to receive and provide support for beverage containers inserted into the interior opening of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, and a sidewall including an interior surface, an exterior surface and one or more via holes. The beverage holder further includes a first modular engine for actively cooling beverages, the first modular engine being mounted to the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, and the first modular engine including a first thermal conductor member, and a first active temperature control system.

Inventors:
DALTON, Jeffrey Travis (115 Buckthorn Way, Menlo Park, California, 94025, US)
REEVES, Kim Marie (115 Buckthorn Way, Menlo Park, California, 94025, US)
HARRIS, Brian Steven (2200 Lake Road, Apt. 107Belmont, California, 94002, US)
Application Number:
US2018/020760
Publication Date:
September 07, 2018
Filing Date:
March 02, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LEGACY US, LLC (1800 El Camino Real, Suite DMenlo Park, California, 94025, US)
International Classes:
F25B21/02; F25D31/00
Foreign References:
US20100258268A12010-10-14
DE19753036A11999-05-27
EP1069388A22001-01-17
US20060260324A12006-11-23
US3839876A1974-10-08
JP2004162984A2004-06-10
JPH07218083A1995-08-18
EP1188995A12002-03-20
DE29614483U11997-02-13
JP2004294016A2004-10-21
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DUNLAP, Andrew L. et al. (HAYNES BEFFEL & WOLFELD LLP, P.O. BOX 366Half Moon Bay, California, 94019, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A modularized beverage holder for actively cooling beverages, the modularized beverage holder comprising:

a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver having a unibody construction comprising: an insulating material;

an interior opening adapted to receive beverage containers of varying sizes and materials;

a bottom portion adapted to receive and provide support for beverage containers inserted into the interior opening of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver; and a sidewall including an interior surface, an exterior surface and one or more via holes, and

a first modular engine for actively cooling beverages, the first modular engine being mounted to the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, and the first modular engine comprising:

a first thermal conductor member having an inner beverage container facing surface and an outer facing surface, the first thermal conductor member being disposed on the interior surface of the sidewall of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, at least part of the outer facing surface of the first thermal conductor member being disposed over a first via hole of the one or more via holes of the sidewall; and

an first active temperature control system including:

a first solid state cooling device connectable to a power supply and having hot side and a cold side, the cold side being coupled to the at least part of the outer facing surface of the first thermal conductor member through the first via hole and providing an active transfer of heat away from the first thermal conductor member;

a first thermal transfer device coupled to the hot side of the first solid state cooling device and absorbing and dissipating heat from the hot side of the first solid state cooling device; and

a first thermal dispersion unit coupled to the first thermal transfer device and actively dispersing heat absorbed by the first thermal transfer device.

2. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1, further including a top frame, and wherein the first modular engine is cantilevered from one or more support members attached to the top frame, such that the first modular engine is free floating.

3. The modularized beverage holder of claim 2, wherein the one or more support members includes one or more springs.

4. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1, further including a centering and drainage member disposed at the bottom portion.

5. The modularized beverage holder of claim 4, further including a bottom via hole in the bottom portion, wherein the centering and drainage member further includes a drain part that extends through the bottom via hole thereby enabling draining waste from the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver.

6. The modularized beverage holder of claim 4, further including upwardly projecting centering bumps that center a standard size aluminum beverage container thereby enabling maintaining an air gap of predetermined size between an external surface of the standard size aluminum beverage container and the inner beverage container facing surface of the first thermal conductor member.

7. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1, wherein the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver is expandable by operation of the sidewall expanding, thereby enabling the first thermal conductor member to expand when a beverage container having a diameter larger than the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver is inserted into the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver.

8. The modularized beverage holder of claim 7, wherein, whenever the sidewall expands, an exterior surface of the beverage container having the diameter larger than the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver remains in contact with the interior surface of the sidewall.

9. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1, wherein the first thermal transfer device includes at least a heat pipe that absorbs and releases heat by means of phase transition.

10. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1, wherein the first thermal dispersion unit includes a radiator and a fan.

1 1. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1, wherein the first thermal conductor member has at least one of antibacterial properties and antibacterial agents.

12. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1 1 , wherein the first thermal conductor member is composed of at least some copper.

13. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1, wherein the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver has an accordion hinge structure what allows the sleeve shaped beverage container to be expandable to adapt to various sizes of beverage containers.

14. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1, wherein the first solid state cooling device includes a Peltier chip.

15. The modularized beverage holder of claim 1 , further comprising a second modular engine for actively cooling beverages, the second modular engine being mounted to the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, and the second modular engine comprising:

a second thermal conductor member having an inner beverage facing surface and an outer facing surface, the second thermal conductor member being disposed on the interior surface of the sidewall of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, at least part of the outer facing surface of the second thermal conductor member being disposed over a second via hole of the one or more via holes of the sidewall; and

an second active temperature control system including:

a second solid state cooling device connectable to a power supply and having hot side and a cold side, the cold side being coupled to the at least part of the outer facing surface of the second thermal conductor member through the second via hole and providing an active transfer of heat away from the second thermal conductor member; a second thermal transfer device coupled to the hot side of the first solid state cooling device and absorbing and dissipating heat from the hot side of the second solid state cooling device; and

a second thermal dispersion unit coupled to the second thermal transfer device and actively dispersing heat absorbed by the second thermal transfer device.

16. The modularized beverage holder of claim 15, further comprising a third modular engine for actively cooling beverages, the second modular engine being mounted to the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, and the third modular engine comprising:

a third thermal conductor member having an inner beverage facing surface and an outer facing surface, the third thermal conductor member being disposed on the interior surface of the sidewall of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, at least part of the outer facing surface of the third thermal conductor member being disposed over a third via hole of the one or more via holes of the sidewall; and

an third active temperature control system including:

a third solid state cooling device connectable to a power supply and having hot side and a cold side, the cold side being coupled to the at least part of the outer facing surface of the third thermal conductor member through the third via hole and providing an active transfer of heat away from the third thermal conductor member;

a third thermal transfer device coupled to the hot side of the first solid state cooling device and absorbing and dissipating heat from the hot side of the third solid state cooling device; and

a third thermal dispersion unit coupled to the third thermal transfer device and actively dispersing heat absorbed by the third thermal transfer device.

17. A method for actively cooling beverages, the method comprising:

placing a beverage container into a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver having a unibody construction comprising:

an insulating material;

an interior opening adapted to receive beverage containers of varying sizes and materials;

a bottom portion adapted to receive and provide support for beverage containers inserted into the interior opening of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver; and a sidewall including an interior surface, an exterior surface and one or more via holes; and

actively cooling the beverage container using a first modular engine, the first modular engine being mounted to the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, and the first modular engine comprising: a first thermal conductor member having an inner beverage container facing surface and an outer facing surface, the first thermal conductor member being disposed on the interior surface of the sidewall of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, at least part of the outer facing surface of the first thermal conductor member being disposed over a first via hole of the one or more via holes of the sidewall; and

an first active temperature control system including:

a first solid state cooling device connectable to a power supply and having hot side and a cold side, the cold side being coupled to the at least part of the outer facing surface of the first thermal conductor member through the first via hole and providing an active transfer of heat away from the first thermal conductor member;

a first thermal transfer device coupled to the hot side of the first solid state cooling device and absorbing and dissipating heat from the hot side of the first solid state cooling device; and

a first thermal dispersion unit coupled to the first thermal transfer device and actively dispersing heat absorbed by the first thermal transfer device.

18. A beverage container holder comprising:

a frame having a top and a bottom, the frame defining an open interior;

the top having a top opening;

a Peltier engine, coupleable to a source of electricity, the Peltier engine mounted to the frame, the Peltier engine comprising:

a Peltier chip having a hot side and a cold side;

a chill plate affixed to the cold side and positioned within the open interior;

a heat-dissipating assembly at the hot side; and

the chill plate having a curved inner surface shaped to accommodate at least one beverage container; and

a mounting assembly movably mounting the Peltier engine to the frame for positioning the curved inner surface of the chill plate at different orientations, including a pre-use orientation without the beverage container within the open interior.

19. The beverage container holder of claim 18, wherein the different orientations include in-use orientations with the beverage container within the open interior with the beverage container biasing the curved inner surface of the chill plate away from the pre-use orientation, whereby thermal contact between the curved inner surface and the beverage container can be enhanced.

20. A method for maintaining a beverage within a beverage container at a cooled temperature of 22° F to 44° F while the beverage is consumed, the method comprising:

placing the beverage container through a top opening of a beverage container cooler and into an open interior of the beverage container cooler, the beverage container cooler having a Peltier engine, coupleable to a source of electricity, the Peltier engine comprising a Peltier chip having a hot side and a cold side, a chill plate affixed to the cold side and positioned within the open interior, a heat-dissipating assembly at the hot side, the chill plate having a curved inner surface shaped to accommodate the beverage container;

carrying out the placing of the beverage container with at least a portion of the curved inner surface being at a temperature of less than 34° F, and preferably less than 32° F, and more preferably less than 12° F;

leaving the beverage container within the beverage container cooler until at least a portion of the beverage within the beverage container reaches a cooled temperature of 22° F to 44° F;

withdrawing the beverage container from the beverage container cooler;

removing some of the cooled beverage from the beverage container;

replacing the beverage container through the top opening and into the open interior; and repeating the leaving, withdrawing and removing steps.

Description:
MODULARIZED BEVERAGE HOLDER FOR ACTIVELY COOLING BEVERAGES AND METHOD FOR PERFORMING THE SAME

CROSS-REFERENCE

[0001] This application claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/466,861, titled "BEER CUP/CAN COOLING HOLDER AND METHOD", filed 3 March 2017 (Arty Docket No. LGLA 1001-1), which is incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to actively cooling and/or heating a beverage, and in particular relates to a modularized beverage holder that is capable of actively cooling and heating a beverage contained in a beverage container.

BACKGROUND

[0003] When a spectator at a sporting event or a concert or when a customer at a restaurant or a bar purchases a beverage they prefer the beverage to remain at its original cold or hot temperature. Stadiums often provide drink holders near each seat, but the drink holders do not help to keep the beverage at its original cold or hot temperature. Beverages that are meant to be cold typically taste better when they are cold and beverages that are meant to be hot typically taste better when they are hot. In the same vein, beverages that reach ambient temperature do not taste very good and do not get consumed as quickly as cold and/or hot beverages. For example, beer and soda taste better when they are cold and are consumed at a faster rate when they are at their intended temperature. Beverages that remain cold or hot result in a more satisfied consumer and result in more beverages being purchased from the vendor. Consider a spectator at an outdoor baseball stadium who purchases a beer in an aluminum container or a plastic cup. The outdoor ambient temperature and relative humidity will cause the temperature of the beer to quickly rise and the aluminum container or plastic cup provide poor insulation to keep the beer cold.

[0004] For example, beer sold at a specific stadium, arena, concert hall, or outdoor/pool or themed sports bar is typically done so in beverage containers (e.g., cups, cans, bottles, or glassware) that are pre-determined by the venue. For example, a baseball park may offer two different sizes of beer cups, large, which can hold 24 ounces and small, which can hold 16 ounces. The baseball park may also offer a 16-ounce aluminum cane. These packages may change from season to season but remain the same from game to game.

[0005] Beverages such as soda and beer that are sold at a stadium, arena, or concert hall are sold at a premium price, which is often a multiple of the price that the same beverage would cost if bought from a store, restaurant or bar. The venue is able to do this, command a high price for a short time, because the consumer is limited with one entity from which to purchase for the duration of the event. In the case of baseball, most areas of the stadium stop selling beverages after the 7 th inning. Well-managed venues recognize that a great deal of money can be made selling beverages at a premium price for a short time period and, therefore, do their best to cool the beverages they sell in order to maximize revenue. While "cold" and "warm" are relative concepts, when applied to beer, in most parts of the world, cold beer sells far better than warm beer. This also applies to soda and other beverages.

[0006] Draught beer is typically dispensed from a keg at 36° F to 38° F in the United States. Due to the laws of physics as they apply to dispensing draught beer from a keg, it is generally accepted that beer will not pour properly at 45° F as it will pour a continuous stream of foam. Similar principals apply to soda, just at differing temperatures. Furthermore, beer will pour only slightly better at 44° F (more foam with a little beer), and slightly better than that at 43° F.

Aluminum pint bottles are often pulled from an ice bin or a refrigeration unit when sold.

Sophisticated brewers are well aware that temperature plays a key role in marketing their product. "Cold beer! Get your cold beer here! " is often heard in a sports stadium.

[0007] Pricing also plays a role in marketing beer at a venue. The per-ounce price is greater for the small draught beer than for the larger beer. Generally, the larger the beer cup, the lower the price per ounce. A great many consumers make a buying decision based, in part, on how much beer they can consume before the beer becomes undrinkable (too warm to enjoy).

[0008] Sophisticated brewers and retailers have studied this phenomenon. While the temperature at which point a beer becomes undrinkable may vary (brewers' opinion vs consumers' preference), it is generally agreed that a consumer is less likely to purchase another beer if the beer they just finished is approaching, at, or beyond that undrinkable temperature point. That unpleasant warm beer taste at the end of a beer (the last sip) is often a spoiler for the decision to purchase another beer. However, if that last sip is pleasant (cold), the consumer often opts to purchase an additional beer.

[0009] Conventionally, these problems have been addressed using portable insulating sleeves for keeping beverages cold and/or warm. However, it is inconvenient for a consumer to always have an insulating sleeve on hand. Further, the insulating sleeves do a mediocre job, at best, of preventing temperature change in a beverage, because the sleeves are merely provide passive insulation. In addition, the sleeves usually only fit one size of a beverage container and do not fit well on cups.

[0010] Therefore a need arises for a beverage holder that is capable of actively cooling and/or heating beverages in indoor and outdoor environments.

[0011] Conventionally, drink cup holders are found in cars, boats, recreational vehicles and outdoor venues. Their purpose is to provide a defined space to place a beverage into - a beverage holster if you will. Some drink insulated coolers even go so far as to mold cup holder placements into the cooler top for the same purpose. For example, stadiums, arenas, and other venues provide drink cup holders specific to each seat.

[0012] Drink cup holders currently exist in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and functionality. They are almost exclusively designed to allow as many options of beverage container (cup, can, mug, or glass sizes) as practicable in order to make them as utilitarian as possible. The greater the variety of sizes and shape drink containers a drink cup holder can accommodate the better, since beverage manufacturers rely in part on packaging and package differentiation to increase sales of their product and are always looking to innovate their package size and shape.

Consumer tastes also change. A drink cup holder that can't accommodate a popular new drink container becomes less desirable, and ultimately an obsolete feature.

[0013] No such drink holder exists that is capable of adapting to different sizes and shapes of beverage containers, while also providing the ability to actively cool and/or heat the beverage within the beverage container. The technology disclosed provides a modular beverage holder that is capable of actively cooling and/or heating a beverage contained within various sizes of beverage containers by, for example, changing the shape of internal cooling/heating plates to form fit different sizes and/or profiles of beverage containers.

SUMMARY

[0014] The technology disclosed relates to a modular actively cooled and/or heated beverage container holder that can be configured to provide maximal cooling and/or heating. Some implementations find particular utility in stadium events in which beverages are served in plastic cups and/or aluminum cans. One representative modular system includes: a sleeve shaped beverage container holder operatively affixed with one or more modular cooling engines. A representative cooling engine can include a thermoelectric chip, a connection to a power supply with waterproof connectors, and a modular frame for housing the container holder and engine to maximize a flow of air or other coolant in order to remove heat. Portions of the modular frame also serve as a functional drink rail, table-top, or counter-top.

[0015] The a modular actively cooled beverage container holder can be configured specifically to cool beverages in a particular example implementation and/or freeze beverages given enough time. The purpose is to make sure the last taste of the beverage from the beverage container is at least as cold (or hot) as the temperature of the beverage when it was first purchased or served.

[0016] In an embodiment, a modularized beverage holder for actively cooling beverages is provided. The modularized beverage holder can include a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver having a unibody construction comprising: an insulating material; an interior opening adapted to receive beverage containers of varying sizes and materials; a bottom portion adapted to receive and provide support for beverage containers inserted into the interior opening of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver; and a sidewall including an interior surface, an exterior surface and one or more via holes. The modularized beverage holder can also include a first modular engine for actively cooling beverages, the first modular engine being mounted to the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, and the first modular engine comprising: a first thermal conductor member having an inner beverage container facing surface and an outer facing surface, the first thermal conductor member being disposed on the interior surface of the sidewall of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, at least part of the outer facing surface of the first thermal conductor member being disposed over a first via hole of the one or more via holes of the sidewall; and an first active temperature control system. The first active temperature control system can include a first solid state cooling device connectable to a power supply and having hot side and a cold side, the cold side being coupled to the at least part of the outer facing surface of the first thermal conductor member through the first via hole and providing an active transfer of heat away from the first thermal conductor member, a first thermal transfer device coupled to the hot side of the first solid state cooling device and absorbing and dissipating heat from the hot side of the first solid state cooling device, and a first thermal dispersion unit coupled to the first thermal transfer device and actively dispersing heat absorbed by the first thermal transfer device.

[0017] In another embodiment, method for actively cooling beverages is provided. The method can include placing a beverage container into a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver having a unibody construction comprising: an insulating material; an interior opening adapted to receive beverage containers of varying sizes and materials; a bottom portion adapted to receive and provide support for beverage containers inserted into the interior opening of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver; and a sidewall including an interior surface, an exterior surface and one or more via holes. Further, the method can include actively cooling the beverage container using a first modular engine, the first modular engine being mounted to the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, and the first modular engine comprising: a first thermal conductor member having an inner beverage container facing surface and an outer facing surface, the first thermal conductor member being disposed on the interior surface of the sidewall of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver, at least part of the outer facing surface of the first thermal conductor member being disposed over a first via hole of the one or more via holes of the sidewall; and an first active temperature control system. The first active temperature control system can include a first solid state cooling device connectable to a power supply and having hot side and a cold side, the cold side being coupled to the at least part of the outer facing surface of the first thermal conductor member through the first via hole and providing an active transfer of heat away from the first thermal conductor member, a first thermal transfer device coupled to the hot side of the first solid state cooling device and absorbing and dissipating heat from the hot side of the first solid state cooling device, and a first thermal dispersion unit coupled to the first thermal transfer device and actively dispersing heat absorbed by the first thermal transfer device.

[0018] In a further embodiment, a beverage container holder is provided. The beverage container can include a frame having a top and a bottom, the frame defining an open interior, the top having a top opening, a Peltier engine, coupleable to a source of electricity, the Peltier engine mounted to the frame, the Peltier engine comprising: a Peltier chip having a hot side and a cold side; a chill plate affixed to the cold side and positioned within the open interior; a heat- dissipating assembly at the hot side; and the chill plate having a curved inner surface shaped to accommodate at least one beverage container. The beverage container can also include a mounting assembly movably mounting the Peltier engine to the frame for positioning the curved inner surface of the chill plate at different orientations, including a pre-use orientation without the beverage container within the open interior.

[0019] Further, in an embodiment a method for maintaining beverage within a beverage container at a cooled temperature of 22° F to 44° F while the beverage is consumed is provided. The method can include placing the beverage container through a top opening of a beverage container cooler and into an open interior of the beverage container cooler, the beverage container cooler having a Peltier engine, coupleable to a source of electricity, the Peltier engine comprising a Peltier chip having a hot side and a cold side, a chill plate affixed to the cold side and positioned within the open interior, a heat-dissipating assembly at the hot side, the chill plate having a curved inner surface shaped to accommodate the beverage container, carrying out the placing of the beverage container with at least a portion of the curved inner surface being at a temperature of less than 34° F, and preferably less than 32° F, and more preferably less than 12° F, leaving the beverage container within the beverage container cooler until at least a portion of the beverage within the beverage container reaches a cooled temperature of 22° F to 44° F, withdrawing the beverage container from the beverage container cooler, removing some of the cooled beverage from the beverage container, replacing the beverage container through the top opening and into the open interior, and repeating the leaving, withdrawing and removing steps.

[0020] In other embodiments, drink rail, table-top, and counter-top component-driven systems created specifically for stadiums, arenas, concert halls, outdoor/pool, and sports-themed bars/restaurants designed to function as the housing for a modular actively cooled beverage container holder are provided. Featured in these systems can include outdoor-rated USB chargers with a force-closure mechanism, and a plug and play waterproof electrical system (IP67) which can be installed from a junction box without an electrician.

[0021] An important purpose of the technology described herein is to actively cool and/or heat beverages in a stadium, arena, concert hall, outdoor/pool or sports themed bar/restaurant by placing the beverages into the modular actively cooled/heated beverage container holder between sips. Cooling can be defined as keeping the beverage at or below serving temperature throughout the drinking experience for a period of time that the experience lasts. Heating can be defined as keeping the beverage at or above serving temperature throughout the drinking experience. Accordingly, over time, specific implementations can ensure the last taste of a beverage will be as cold, or colder, than the temperature at which it was originally dispensed (or sold) regardless of ambient temperature. In favorable ambient temperatures (70° F to 80° F) it is possible for certain implementations of the disclosed technology to cool beverages to well below serving temperature - to super-cool - and provide a new, refreshing drinking experience.

[0022] Particular aspects of the technology disclosed are described in the claims, specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] FIG. 1 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, side view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0024] FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, side view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the side. [0025] FIG. 3 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0026] FIG. 4 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the side.

[0027] FIG. 5 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0028] FIG. 6 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the side.

[0029] FIG. 7 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0030] FIG. 8 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0031] FIG. 9 illustrates a side view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0032] FIG. 10 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top with fans directed to the same side.

[0033] FIG. 11 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top with fans directed to opposite sides.

[0034] FIG. 12 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top with fans directed to the same side.

[0035] FIG. 13 illustrates a detail view of the orthogonal bottom view of FIG. 10 in which the beverage container receiver has been cut away to reveal internal components.

[0036] FIG. 14 illustrates a detail view of the orthogonal top and bottom views of FIG. 11 in which the beverage container receiver has been cut away to reveal internal components.

[0037] FIG. 15 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top. [0038] FIG. 16 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0039] FIG. 17 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0040] FIG. 18 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal side view A of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0041] FIG. 19 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal side view B of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0001] FIG. 20 illustrates a detail view of the orthogonal side view B of FIG. 19 in which the beverage container receiver and frame have been cut away to reveal internal components.

[0002] FIG. 21 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal side view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps positioned at the bottom of a modularized beverage container holder.

[0003] FIG. 22 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps positioned at the bottom of a modularized beverage container holder.

[0004] FIG. 23 illustrates a side view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps positioned at the bottom of a modularized beverage container holder.

[0005] FIG. 24 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps inserted into the beverage container receiver.

[0006] FIG. 25 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps inserted into the beverage container receiver.

[0007] FIG. 26A, 26B, and 26C illustrate side view A, side view B and side view C of a thermal conductor.

[0008] FIG. 27 illustrates a direct contact between a cup and a thermal conductor.

[0009] FIG. 28 illustrates an air gap formed between a standard diameter aluminum beverage can and a thermal conductor.

[0010] FIG. 29 illustrates an orthogonal side view of an alternate embodiment of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top. [0011] FIG. 30 illustrates an orthogonal top view of the alternate embodiment of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0012] FIG. 31 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of the alternate embodiment of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0013] FIG. 32 illustrates an exploded assembly view of a drink rail installation.

[0014] FIG. 33 illustrates an exploded assembly detail view of a drink rail installation.

[0015] FIG. 34 illustrates bottom, rear, right side isometric view and a bottom, front, right side isometric view of an assembled drink rail.

[0016] FIG. 35 illustrates a front elevation detail view of a drink rail installation with conduit channels.

[0017] FIG. 36 illustrates a top view of a beverage container receiver.

[0018] FIG. 37 illustrates a side view of a beverage container receiver for use with a dual engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted into the top.

[0019] FIG. 38 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a beverage container receiver for use with a dual engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted into the top.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] The following detailed description is made with reference to the figures. Example implementations are described to illustrate the technology disclosed, not to limit its scope, which is defined by the claims. Those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize a variety of equivalent variations on the description that follows.

Introduction and Some Example Implementations

[0021] Implementations of a modular actively cooled and/or heated beverage container holder, also referred to as the beer cup/can cooling holder or the beer cup cooling holder, exist in a variety of modular configurations, of which representative configurations are used herein to illustrate the technology to cool, for example, a beverage such as beer which has typically been served to the consumer at 36° F to 38° F and may have warmed to, for example, 45° F before being placed in the modular actively cooled beverage container holder.

[0022] Some implementations provide for cooling beer to temperatures previously thought to cause beer to freeze and / or alcohol to separate out from the beer. Light Beers are commonly thought to freeze at about 28° F, for example. One implementation of the modular actively cooled beverage holder can cool a light beer, such as Coors Light™, to about 24° F without the beer freezing and without the alcohol separating out. Light beers are beers having the reduced alcoholic content and/or fewer calories than regular beer. For the purposes of this application, light beers have an alcoholic content of about 4.2% and/or calories of about 102 calories per 12- ounce serving. In cooling to these super cold temperatures, defined as 32° F or lower, preferably 22° F to 32° F, more preferably 22° F to 28° F, and most preferably 22° F to 24° F, a new flavor experience is created. Note that cooling within the cup of beer occurs over a range of temperatures, not one representative temperature. For example, a reading of 24° F at the bottom of the beverage container closest to a modular engine (e.g., cooling/heating engine) may have additional reading of 24° F at bottom center, 28° F at the top of the beverage container and 31° F in the middle of the beverage container. In one test when a light lager beer was cooled to 22° F to 24° F (essentially univocally throughout the beverage container), professional tasters reported that it enhanced the fruitier notes of the beer's flavor profile. Slight agitation may cause an immediate phase change from liquid to liquid and ice and a temperature spike to approximately 32° F.

[0023] Some implementations can provide for freezing beer in a plastic cup (over a length of time) even when an ambient temperature is as high as 90° F. Embodiments are implemented to cool beverages in an environment in which the ambient temperature is not controllable, for example outdoors in direct sun.

Single Engine Modularized Beverage Holder

[0024] FIG. 1 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, side view of a modularized beverage container holder 100 having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0025] Referring to FIG. 1, the modularized beverage container holder 100, includes subassemblies of a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, optimally having a unibody construction of an insulating material, and one or more modular engines 104 for actively cooling (or heating) beverages inserted into the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 to which the first modular engine is mounted. As discussed in more detail below with reference to subsequent figures, the modularized beverage container holder 100 is capable of having multiple modular engines attached thereto (e.g., 2, 3, 4....16, or even more engines, depending upon the diameter of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102). A modularized beverage container holder 100 adapted to have 16 or more engines would be more appropriate for cooling and/or heating large containers such as kegs. [0026] For example, modular engines, such as (first) modular engine 104 may also have multiple deployments in one, two, three or more engine configurations depending upon venue. Indoor venues may only need a two engine configuration to super-cool in a timely manner as ambient temperature is controlled and therefore unlikely to exceed 75° F. For example, FIGS. 7 - 14 illustrate various views of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages. In the dual engine configurations employing fans to dissipate heat removed from the beverage containers, with fans directed to the same side as shown by FIGS. 10 and 12 or directed to opposite sides as shown by FIGS. 11 and 14. Further, FIGS. 15 - 20, illustrate various views of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages.

[0027] In embodiments described in further detail below, the modular engines are designed to function independently of one another in order to be replaceable when one or more engines fail. Electrical connections are made to be engine-specific with a quick-connect waterproof fitting. Each engine is independently connected to a power supply via a waterproof male connector. Independent engine design allows for an array of power supply options. For example, if each engine requires 8.15 Amps of 12 VDC power to operate, one 12 VDC power supply (outputting 40 Amps) is sufficient to power four engines (or two 2-engine super-cooling beer cup holders). Additionally, two 12 VDC power supplies (outputting 20 Amps each) would also be sufficient to power four engines. Power supply flexibility allows for strategic heat dissipation as well as possible cost savings as two 12 VDC 20 Amp power supplies are less expensive than one 12 VDC 40 Amp Power Supply. Finally, four 12 VDC 10 Amp power supplies, one for each engine, may become an even less expensive power alternative.

[0028] As shown in FIG. 1, the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 has an interior opening 106 adapted to receive beverage containers of varying sizes and materials, a bottom portion 108 adapted to receive and provide support for beverage containers inserted into the interior opening of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, and a sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including an interior surface 112, an exterior surface 114 and one or more via holes 116. The sidewall 110 can be implemented using an extreme insulating material selected specifically to keep cooling and/or heating in. For example, the sidewall 110 can be a "soft" durometer material allows for modular engine movement since it gives and stretches as stress is applied to it, yet it has the memory to move back into place when stress is removed. In a present implementation, polyurethane, such as polyurethane foam (PU foam) is used to implement the sidewall 110. Softer materials provide for more flexibility while harder materials tend to restrict movement. A person of skill in the art would recognize other materials or composites that would be best suited for particular implementations of the modularized beverage container holder 100. An optional centering and drainage portion 109 can be inserted into the bottom portion 108 of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102.

[0029] The modular engine 104 can actively cool and/or heat beverages in containers inserted into the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102. As illustrated in FIG. 1, an example modular engine includes a thermal conductor member 120 having an inner beverage container facing surface 122 and an outer facing surface 124. The thermal conductor member 120 can be disposed on the interior surface 112 of the sidewall 110 of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102. In a present embodiment, the thermal conductor member 120 is implemented using a copper cooling/chill plate (see also, FIGS. 27A, 27B and 27C) that are affixed to the interior surface 112 and exposed to the atmosphere. In one implementation, portions of the thermal conductor member 120 (e.g., the chill plate) has a thickness of about 2 mm, and the chip mounting area has a thickness of about 8 mm, with the overall size shown in FIGS. 27A, 27B and 27C. When operating, frost and ultimately ice may form on the inner beverage container facing surface 122. As shown in FIG. 1, at least part of the outer facing surface 124 of the thermal conductor member 120 can be disposed over the via hole 116 of the sidewall 110.

Additionally, in an implementation the thermal conductor member 120 is changeable and/or replaceable so as to be able to appropriately accommodate beverage containers having different dimensions. This allows the modularized beverage container holder 100 to be updated and/or serviced without complete replacement of the modularized beverage container holder 100. The thermal conductor member 120 can be configured to be quickly and easily changed and/or replaced using appropriate connectors (not illustrated).

[0030] The foregoing configuration enables implementations to reduce the temperature of, for example, beer to a supercool drinking temperature after the beer has warmed from optimum serving temperature (e.g., about 38° F) to about 42° F to 45° F by the time the customer has reached their seat a few minutes after purchasing the beer. Super cool is defined as 32° F or less. Certain implementations can cool beer from higher ambient temperatures (from about 50° F to over 100° F depending how mishandled the beer is; however, such situations would be highly improbable since any venue selling beer at premium prices would have already pre-cooled the beer and made it "ready to drink" for its patrons). This is just one example of the cooling capabilities of the modularized beverage container holder 100.

[0031] The modular engine 104 also comprises an active temperature control system that includes a solid state cooling device 132 connectable to a power supply (not shown in FIG. 1 for clarity sake) and having a hot side 134 and a cold side 136. In one implementation, a Peltier chip can be attached to the thermal conductor member 120 to implement the solid state cooling device 132. The cold side 136 can be coupled a portion to the outer facing surface 124 of the thermal conductor member 120 through the via hole 116 thereby providing an active transfer of heat away from the thermal conductor member 120. In an implementation, the cold side 136 and the hot side 134 of the thermal conductor member 120 can be reversed by changing a polarity of electricity applied to the thermal conductor member 120.

[0032] Referring to FIG. 1, the modular engine 104 further includes a thermal transfer device 140 physically coupled to the hot side 134 of the solid state cooling device 132 and absorbing and dissipating heat from the hot side 134 of the solid state cooling device 132. The modular engine 104 may further include an adapter 143 for connecting and/or sealing the thermal transfer device 140 to the thermal conductor member 120.

[0033] In one example configuration the thermal transfer device 140 can be a metallic radiator and can include heat pipe(s) 141 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition. Alternatively, or in addition, a heat sink and heat transfer compound could be employed to realize the thermal transfer device 140.

[0034] Further, the modular engine 104 can include a thermal dispersion unit 142 coupled to the thermal transfer device 140 and perform actively dispersing heat absorbed by the thermal transfer device 140. In an example configuration illustrated by FIG. 1, thermal dispersion unit 142 is implemented using a fan and/or radiative fins in order to dissipate heat (or cold) into the atmosphere; however in altemative embodiments, a circulating liquid coolant system (not shown in FIG. 1 for clarity sake) could be used. The direction (e.g., blowing or sucking) of the fan can be controlled to adapt to different environments or placements of the modularized beverage container holder 100. Yet further, some embodiments might rely on passive cooling using a large metal surface in contact with the thermal transfer device 140.

[0035] In an implementation, the entire modular engine 104 and/or sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 can be suspended from a top frame 150 by one or more top hinge points, by means of springs, elastic bands, or other tension inducing members, and may be cantilevered out at an oblique angle, and held at a distance specific to the diameter of the top of the contacted beverage container receiver. Further, the modular engine 104 can be cantilevered from the one or more support members attached to the top frame 150, such that the modular engine 104 is free floating. Optionally, a bottom frame 152 can be added for additional support.

[0036] Independent engine design and a pivot system allows for lateral movement (toward the center of the cup and away from the center of the cup) can be employed to achieve optimal surface contact between the cooling plates and larger vs smaller diameter beverage containers. Additional functionality includes a spring assembly that allows for competing tensions to be utilized in each modular engine thereby enabling a shearing effect of movement as different tensions allow one side to give more easily than the other side. This creates less contact tension on one side of each modular engine allowing for easier insertion and removal of the contacted plastic cup.

[0037] FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, side view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the side.

[0038] Referring to FIG. 2, the modularized beverage container holder 200 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 200 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, and (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, the heat pipe(s) 141, and the bottom frame 152.

[0039] The modularized beverage container holder 200 is structure and operates in a similar manner as the modularized beverage container holder 100, except that the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 of the modularized beverage container holder 200 includes an opening 206. The opening 206 is adapted to receive beverage containers from the side, not just the top, like the modularized beverage container holder 100. Such an embodiment could be useful where a countertop for mounting is not available and where side insertion of the beverage container is more convenient. Optionally, the opening 206 can be opened or closed using a hinged door (not illustrated).

[0040] FIG. 3 illustrates an orthogonal top view of the modularized beverage container holder of FIG. 1, having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top. FIG. 3 provides a non-exploded view of the modularized beverage container holder of FIG. 1

[0041] Referring to FIG. 3, the modularized beverage container holder 300 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 300 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, and (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, the heat pipe(s) 141, and the bottom frame 152 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 3). All portions of the top frame 150 and/or the bottom frame 152 are not necessary and are only for illustrative purposes.

[0042] FIG. 4 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the side.

[0043] Referring to FIG. 4, the modularized beverage container holder 400 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 200 illustrated in FIG. 2. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 400 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, and (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, the heat pipe(s) 141, and the bottom frame 152 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 3). Similar to FIG. 2, the modularized beverage container holder 400 includes the opening 206 adapted to receive beverage containers from the side, not just the top, like the modularized beverage container holder 100.

[0044] FIG. 5 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0045] Referring to FIG. 5, the modularized beverage container holder 500 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 300 illustrated in FIG. 3. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 500 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, and (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, the heat pipe(s) 141, and the bottom frame 152 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 4). All portions of the top frame 150 and/or the bottom frame 152 are not necessary and are only for illustrative purposes.

[0046] FIG. 5 further illustrates a drain portion 504 of the centering and drainage portion 109 of FIG. 1. The drain portion 504 can be connected to a drainage system for the purpose of allowing any condensation or other materials to be easily cleaned from the inside of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102. Also, at outdoor venues, rainwater and other debris will drain from the inside of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102.

[0047] FIG. 6 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a single cooling engine for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the side.

[0048] Referring to FIG. 6, the modularized beverage container holder 600 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 400 illustrated in FIG. 4. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 600 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, and (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, the heat pipe(s) 141, and the bottom frame 152 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 5). Similar to FIG. 4, the modularized beverage container holder 600 includes the opening 206 adapted to receive beverage containers from the side, not just the top, like the modularized beverage container holder 100.

Dual Engine Modularized Beverage Holder

[0049] FIG. 7 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0050] Referring to FIG. 7, the modularized beverage container holder 700 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 700 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, and (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, and the bottom frame 152 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 7). All portions of the top frame 150 and/or the bottom frame 152 are not necessary and are only for illustrative purposes.

[0051] The modularized beverage container holder 700 further includes another (second) modular engine 702. The second modular engine 702 includes the same components as the (first) modular engine 104. Not all of the components of the second modular engine 702 are illustrated in FIG. 7, but a person skilled in the art would understand that the second modular engine 702 is completely or nearly identical to the first modular engine 104, except with a different orientation. Referring to FIG. 7, the second modular engine 702 includes a second thermal dispersion unit 704 and a second thermal transfer device 706 optionally including include heat pipe(s) 708 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition.

[0052] Both the first modular engine 104 and the second modular engine 702 can be used concurrently, or one at a time. FIG. 7 illustrates both the thermal dispersion unit 142 and the second thermal dispersion unit 704 having the same orientation. However, the orientations need not be the same as illustrated in other figures. The addition of the second modular engine 702 allows for faster cooling and/or heating or the ability to maintain temperatures as the ambient temperature becomes more extreme.

[0053] FIG. 8 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0054] Referring to FIG. 8, the modularized beverage container holder 800 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 700 illustrated in FIG. 7. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 800 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, and (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, and the bottom frame 152 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 8). All portions of the top frame 150 and/or the bottom frame 152 are not necessary and are only for illustrative purposes. [0055] Just like FIG. 7, the modularized beverage container holder 800 of FIG. 8 further includes the second modular engine 702. The second modular engine 702 includes the same components as the (first) modular engine 104. Not all of the components of the second modular engine 702 are illustrated in FIG. 8, but a person skilled in the art would understand that the second modular engine 702 is completely or nearly identical to the first modular engine 104, except with a different orientation. Referring to FIG. 8, the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal dispersion unit 704 and a second thermal transfer device 706 optionally including include heat pipe(s) 708 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition.

[0056] Both the first modular engine 104 and the second modular engine 702 can be used concurrently, or one at a time. FIG. 7 illustrates both the thermal dispersion unit 142 and the second thermal dispersion unit 704 having the same orientation. However, the orientations need not be the same as illustrated in other figures. The addition of the second modular engine 702 allows for faster cooling and/or heating or the ability to maintain temperatures as the ambient temperature becomes more extreme.

[0057] FIG. 8 further illustrates the drain portion 504 of the centering and drainage portion 109 of FIG. 1

[0058] FIG. 9 illustrates a side view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0059] Referring to FIG. 9, the modularized beverage container holder 900 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 800 illustrated in FIG. 8. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 900 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, and (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, and the bottom frame 152 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 9).

[0060] Just like FIG. 8, the modularized beverage container holder 900 of FIG. 9 includes the second modular engine 702. The second modular engine 702 includes the same components as the (first) modular engine 104. Not all of the components of the second modular engine 702 are illustrated in FIG. 9, but a person skilled in the art would understand that the second modular engine 702 is completely or nearly identical to the first modular engine 104, except with a different orientation. Referring to FIG. 9, the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal dispersion unit 704 and a second thermal transfer device 706 optionally including include heat pipe(s) 708 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition.

[0061] FIG. 9 further illustrates that the second modular engine 702 includes a second thermal conductor member 902 having the same or similar components as the (first) thermal conductor member 120 described in detail above.

[0062] FIG. 10 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top with fans directed to the same side.

[0063] Referring to FIG. 10, the modularized beverage container holder 1000 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 900 illustrated in FIG. 9. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1000 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the drain portion 504, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the (first) modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, and the bottom frame 152, (iii) the second modular engine 702 including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 10).

[0064] FIG. 11 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top with fans directed to opposite sides.

[0065] Referring to FIG. 11, the modularized beverage container holder 1100 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 900 illustrated in FIG. 9. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1100 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the drain portion 504, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the (first) modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, and the bottom frame 152, (iii) the second modular engine 702 including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 11)

[0066] Additionally, FIG. 11 illustrates that the first thermal dispersion unit (fan) 142 and the second thermal dispersion unit (fan) 704 are directed to opposing sides. Such a configuration can provide better thermal dispersion depending on the structure and type of installation of the modularized beverage container holder 1100.

[0067] FIG. 12 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a dual cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top with fans directed to the same side.

[0068] Referring to FIG. 12, the modularized beverage container holder 1200 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 900 illustrated in FIG. 9. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1200 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109, the drain portion 504, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the (first) modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, and the bottom frame 152, (iii) the second modular engine 702 including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 12).

[0069] Additionally, FIG. 12 illustrates that the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 having the same or similar components as the (first) thermal conductor member 120 described in detail above. In particular, the second thermal conductor member 902 includes an inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and an outer facing surface 1204. The second modular engine 702 also includes a second solid state cooling (or heating) device 1206 having a cold side 1208 and a hot side 1210. The second solid state cooling device 1206, the cold side 1208 and the hot side 1210 are the same as or similar to the solid state cooling device 132, the cold side 136 and the hot side 134, as illustrated in FIG. 1 and as described above. [0070] FIG. 13 illustrates a detail view of the orthogonal bottom view of FIG. 10 in which the beverage container receiver has been cut away to reveal internal components.

[0071] Referring to FIG. 13, the modularized beverage container holder 1300 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holders 900 and 1200 illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 12, respectively. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1300 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and a centering portion 1302, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the (first) modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, and the bottom frame 152, (iii) the second modular engine 702 including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708, where the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 including the inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and the outer facing surface 1204 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 13).

[0072] FIG. 14 illustrates a detail view of the orthogonal top and bottom views of FIG. 11 in which the beverage container receiver has been cut away to reveal internal components.

[0073] Referring to FIG. 14, the modularized beverage container holder 1400 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holders 900 and 1200 illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 12, respectively. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1400 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and the centering portion 1302, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the (first) modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, the thermal dispersion unit 142, and the bottom frame 152, (iii) the second modular engine 702 including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708, where the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 including the inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and the outer facing surface 1204 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 14). Triple Engine Modularized Beverage Holder

[0074] FIG. 15 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0075] Referring to FIG. 15, the modularized beverage container holder 1500 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1 and the modularized beverage container holder 700 illustrated in FIG. 7. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1500 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and the centering portion 1302, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, and the thermal dispersion unit 142, and (iii) the second modular engine 702 (see FIG. 7) including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708, where the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 including the inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and the outer facing surface 1204 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 15).

[0076] Further, the modularized beverage container holder 1500 includes a top frame 1510 and another (third) modular engine 1502. The third modular engine 1502 includes the same components as the first modular engine 104 and the second modular engine 702. Not all of the components of the third modular engine 1502 are illustrated in FIG. 15, but a person skilled in the art would understand that the third modular engine 1502 is completely or nearly identical to the first modular engine 104 and the second modular engine 702, except with a different orientation. Referring to FIG. 15, the third modular engine 1502 includes a third thermal dispersion unit 1504 and a third thermal transfer device 1506 optionally including include heat pipe(s) 1508 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition.

[0077] The first modular engine 104, the second modular engine 702 and/or the third modular engine 1502 can be used concurrently, or one at a time and can have different orientations as that illustrated in FIG. 15. [0078] FIG. 16 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0079] Referring to FIG. 16, the modularized beverage container holder 1600 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1, the modularized beverage container holder 700 illustrated in FIG. 7 and the modularized beverage container holder 1500 illustrated in FIG. 15. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1600 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and the centering portion 1302, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, and the thermal dispersion unit 142, (iii) the second modular engine 702 (see FIG. 7) including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708, where the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 including the inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and the outer facing surface 1204, (iv) the top frame 1510 and a bottom frame 1602, and (v) the third modular engine 1502 including the third thermal dispersion unit 1504 and the third thermal transfer device 1506 and optionally including include heat pipe(s) 1508 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 16)

[0080] FIG. 17 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal top view of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0081] Referring to FIG. 17, the modularized beverage container holder 1700 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1, the modularized beverage container holder 700 illustrated in FIG. 7 and the modularized beverage container holder 1500 illustrated in FIG. 15. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1600 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and the centering portion 1302, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, and the thermal dispersion unit 142, (iii) the second modular engine 702 (see FIG. 7) including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708, where the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 including the inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and the outer facing surface 1204, (iv) the top frame 1510 and a bottom frame 1602, and (v) the third modular engine 1502 including the third thermal dispersion unit 1504 and the third thermal transfer device 1506 and optionally including include heat pipe(s) 1508 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 17). Further, FIG. 17 illustrates that the third modular engine 1502 includes a third solid state cooling (heating) device 1702 including a hot side and a cold side and a via hole 1704.

[0082] FIG. 18 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal side view A of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0083] Referring to FIG. 18, the modularized beverage container holder 1800 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1, the modularized beverage container holder 700 illustrated in FIG. 7 and the modularized beverage container holder 1500 illustrated in FIG. 15. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1600 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and the centering portion 1302, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, and the thermal dispersion unit 142, (iii) the second modular engine 702 (see FIG. 7) including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708, where the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 including the inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and the outer facing surface 1204, (iv) the top frame 1510 and a bottom frame 1602, and (v) the third modular engine 1502 including the third thermal dispersion unit 1504 and the third thermal transfer device 1506 and optionally including include heat pipe(s) 1508 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition (some of which are not illustrated in FIG.

18) . Further, FIG. 18 illustrates that the third modular engine 1502 includes the third solid state cooling (heating) device 1702 including a hot side 1802 and a cold side 1804 and the via hole 1704

[0084] FIG. 19 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal side view B of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[0085] Referring to FIG. 19, the modularized beverage container holder 1900 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1, the modularized beverage container holder 700 illustrated in FIG. 7 and the modularized beverage container holder 1500 illustrated in FIG. 15. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 1600 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and the centering portion 1302, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, and the thermal dispersion unit 142, (iii) the second modular engine 702 (see FIG. 7) including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708, where the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 including the inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and the outer facing surface 1204, (iv) the top frame 1510 and a bottom frame 1602, and (v) the third modular engine 1502 including the third thermal dispersion unit 1504 and the third thermal transfer device 1506 and optionally including include heat pipe(s) 1508 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition (some of which are not illustrated in FIG.

19) . Further, FIG. 19 illustrates that the third modular engine 1502 includes the third solid state cooling (heating) device 1702 including a hot side 1802 and a cold side 1804 and the via hole 1704 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 19).

[0086] FIG. 20 illustrates a detail view of the orthogonal side view B of FIG. 19 in which the beverage container receiver and frame have been cut away to reveal internal components.

[0087] Referring to FIG. 20, the modularized beverage container holder 2000 includes the same or similar components as the modularized beverage container holder 100 illustrated in FIG. 1, the modularized beverage container holder 700 illustrated in FIG. 7 and the modularized beverage container holder 1500 illustrated in FIG. 15. In particular, the modularized beverage container holder 2000 includes (i) the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, having the interior opening 106, the bottom portion 108, the centering and drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and the centering portion 1302, the sidewall 110 or "sleeve" including the interior surface 112, the exterior surface 114, one or more via holes 116, (ii) the modular engine 104 including the thermal conductor member 120 having the inner beverage container facing surface 122 and the outer facing surface 124, the solid state cooling device 132 having the hot side 134 and the cold side 136, the adapter 143, and the thermal dispersion unit 142, (iii) the second modular engine 702 (see FIG. 7) including the same components as the (first) modular engine 104, such as the second thermal dispersion unit 704, the second thermal transfer device 706 and the heat pipe(s) 708, where the second modular engine 702 includes the second thermal conductor member 902 including the inner beverage container facing surface 1202 and the outer facing surface 1204, (iv) the top frame 1510 and a bottom frame 1602, and (v) the third modular engine 1502 including the third thermal dispersion unit 1504 and the third thermal transfer device 1506 and optionally including include heat pipe(s) 1508 or other mechanisms that absorb and release heat (or cold) by means of phase transition (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 20). Further, FIG. 20 illustrates that the third modular engine 1502 includes the third solid state cooling (heating) device 1702 including the hot side 1802 and the cold side 1804 and the via hole 1704 (some of which are not illustrated in FIG. 20).

[0088] Additionally, FIG. 20 illustrates that the third modular engine 1502 includes a thermal conductor member 2002 having an inner beverage container facing surface 2004 and an outer facing surface 2006.

[0089] FIG. 21 illustrates an exploded assembly drawing, orthogonal side view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps positioned at the bottom of a modularized beverage container holder.

[0090] Referring to FIG. 21 a portion 2100 of the modularized beverage holder of any of FIGS. 1 to 20 is illustrated. The portion 2100 includes the bottom portion 108 and the drainage portion 109 including the drain portion 504 and the centering portion 1302. In this embodiment, the drain portion 504 connects to the centering portion 1302. As described earlier, the combination of elements illustrated in portion 2100 allow for centering of the beverage container and allow proper drainage of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 (see FIG. 1). The drain portion 504 is adapted to connect to a longer drain pipe or hose and is ideally composed of a flexible and durable material. [0091] FIG. 22 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps positioned at the bottom of a modularized beverage container holder.

[0092] Referring to FIG. 22, the drainage assembly 2200 (e.g., the centering and drainage portion 109) includes the centering portion 1302 which has one or more centering bumps 2204. The one or more centering bumps 2204 are arranged so as to center the beverage container. Further, the one or more centering bumps 2204 are arranged to center a standard size aluminum can, such that the walls of the standard size aluminum can do not touch, for example, any of the thermal conductors 120, 902 and/or 2002. In the United States a standard size aluminum can has a diameter of approximately 2.6 inches. Other countries may have other standard diameters. Standard diameters may change. The modularized beverage holder described herein can be adapted to receive and create the desired contact with standard size aluminum cans, even if the standard sizes change and can also be adapted to receive and create the desired contact with specialty sized aluminum cans. The one or more centering bumps 2204 are located in the bottom of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 and function to keep, for example, a 16 ounce aluminum pint bottle, or other container with a domed, convex bottom, centered in the cup holder; this helps prevent direct contact of the aluminum surface at the upper portions of the can with the cooling plates, which can diminish cooling performance, (see e.g., FIG. 28)

[0093] As illustrated in FIG. 22, the centering portion 1302 also includes a drainage hole 2202 that allows drainage to pass to the drain portion 504.

[0094] FIG. 23 illustrates a side view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps positioned at the bottom of a modularized beverage container holder.

[0095] Referring to FIG. 23, which similar to FIG. 22, the centering and drainage portion 109 includes the centering portion 1302 which has one or more centering bumps 2204. The one or more centering bumps 2204 are arranged so as to center the beverage container. Further, the one or more centering bumps 2204 are arranged to center a standard size aluminum can, such that the walls of the standard size aluminum can do not touch, for example, any of the thermal conductors 120, 902 and/or 2002. As illustrated in FIG. 23, the centering portion 1302 also includes a drainage hole 2202 that allows drainage to pass to the drain portion 504.

[0096] FIG. 24 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps inserted into the beverage container receiver.

[0097] Referring to FIG. 24, the centering and drainage portion 109, as inserted into the bottom portion 108 of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 is illustrated. The centering and drainage portion 109 includes the centering portion 1302 which has one or more centering bumps 2204. The one or more centering bumps 2204 are arranged so as to center the beverage container. Further, the one or more centering bumps 2204 are arranged to center a standard size aluminum can, such that the walls of the standard size aluminum can do not touch, for example, any of the thermal conductors 120, 902 and/or 2002. As illustrated in FIG. 23, the centering portion 1302 also includes a drainage hole 2202 that allows drainage to pass to the drain portion 504

[0098] FIG. 25 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of a drainage assembly with centering bumps inserted into the beverage container receiver.

[0099] Similar to FIG. 24, FIG. 25 illustrates the centering and drainage portion 109, as inserted into the bottom portion 108 of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 is illustrated. The centering and drainage portion 109 includes the centering portion 1302 which has one or more centering bumps 2204. The one or more centering bumps 2204 are arranged so as to center the beverage container. Further, the one or more centering bumps 2204 are arranged to center a standard size aluminum can, such that the walls of the standard size aluminum can do not touch, for example, any of the thermal conductors 120, 902 and/or 2002. As illustrated in FIG. 23, the centering portion 1302 also includes a drainage hole 2202 that allows drainage to pass to the drain portion 504.

[00100] FIG. 26A, 26B, and 26C illustrate side view A, side view B and side view C of a thermal conductor.

[00101] Referring to FIGS 26A, 26B, and 26C, the first thermal conductor member 120 of FIG. 1 is illustrated, which is the same as or similar to the second thermal conductor member 902 of FIG. 9 and/or the third thermal conductor member 2002 of FIG. 20. As illustrated, the first thermal conductor member 120 has a curvature to be able to maintain constant contact with a cup or bottle and to maintain a constant air gap between the standard size aluminum can and the inner beverage container facing surface 122. The outer facing surface 124 of the first thermal conductor member 120 includes an interfacing surface 2602 for attaching to, for example, the first solid state cooling device 132.

[00102] FIG. 27 illustrates a direct contact between a cup and a thermal conductor.

[00103] Referring to FIG. 27, when a cup or container 2702 is inserted into the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, the inner beverage container facing surface 122

maintains continuous contact with a side wall of the cup or container 2702. As mentioned above, the structure of the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 is such that even if the cup or container 2702 has a wider diameter that the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 when it is in resting position, the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, including the first thermal conductor member 120 will expand to accommodate the cup or container 2702 to maintain contact for optimal cooling or heating.

[00104] The first thermal conductor member 120 can be made completely or partially of copper and be designed to provide cooling toward the top of the plastic cup thereby maximizing the cold experience for the patron as the beer at the top of the cup is the first beer consumed. In an embodiment, thermal conductors are configured to maximize contact points on the side walls of a venue-defined set of plastic beer cups. That set typically consists of two sizes and shapes of cups: a large cup (e.g., about 24 ounces) and a small cup (e.g., about 16 ounces). 3D scans of the profile of each cup enable the design and manufacture of contoured cooling plates that are intended to maximize the contact cooling surface area in the larger cup while allowing for as many contact points as possible on the smaller cup. From venue to venue as the size and contour of cups vary, differently dimensioned cooling plates are not only possible but desirable for maximum cooling.

[00105] FIG. 28 illustrates an air gap formed between a standard diameter aluminum beverage can and a thermal conductor.

[00106] Referring to FIG. 28, when a standard size aluminum can 2802 is inserted into the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102, the inner beverage container facing surface 122 maintains a continuous air gap G between a side wall of the standard size aluminum can 2802. For aluminum cans, this continuous air gap G provides better performance when cooling or heating a beverage.

[00107] Air gaps G of 0.5 mm to 2 mm have been implemented. One present embodiment employs an air gap G of 0.1 mm to 1 mm, which is a configuration that has been found to work well. In an alternative embodiment, contact with the aluminum container can be made only or primarily with the bottom of the container and then a gradual air gap from 0.1 mm to 1 mm is desirable with the air gap being smaller towards the bottom of the aluminum container and gradually getting larger towards the top of the aluminum container. A predominant portion of the surface of the aluminum bottle can be kept inside the beverage container holder 102. When cooling, contact with an aluminum pint bottle (or can), in which a large portion of the cans' surface area is exposed to the elements, is not desirable due to the thermal conductivity of the aluminum itself. Contact along the side of an aluminum pint bottle (or can), especially along its upper region, in this instance creates a scenario in which the heat moves from the atmosphere (warm) to the aluminum and to the cold plates (cold) causing the cold plates to underperform (warm) and ultimately create an adverse condition of heating the beer at the top of the can. The principal of thermal equilibrium mandate the following: heat always moves from a hot object to a cold object.

[00108] FIG. 29 illustrates an orthogonal side view of an alternate embodiment of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[00109] Referring to FIG. 29, the modularized beverage container holder 2900 includes fans 2902 blowing or sucking air in a direction of a thermal transfer device 2904 (e.g., a radiator). Other components of the modularized beverage container holder 2900 are similar to those described with reference to FIGS. 1-29.

[00110] FIG. 30 illustrates an orthogonal top view of the alternate embodiment of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[00111] Referring to FIG. 30, the modularized beverage container holder 3000 includes fans 2902 blowing or sucking air in a direction of a thermal transfer device 2904 (e.g., a radiator). Other components of the modularized beverage container holder 3000 are similar to those described with reference to FIGS. 1-29.

[00112] FIG. 31 illustrates an orthogonal bottom view of the alternate embodiment of a modularized beverage container holder having a triple cooling engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted via an opening in the top.

[00113] Referring to FIG. 31, the modularized beverage container holder 3100 includes fans 2902 blowing or sucking air in a direction of a thermal transfer device 2904 (e.g., a radiator). Other components of the modularized beverage container holder 3100 are similar to those described with reference to FIGS. 1-29.

[00114] FIG. 32 illustrates an exploded assembly view of a drink rail installation.

[00115] Referring to FIG. 32, a drink rail installation 3200 is illustrated, where the drink rail installation 3200 is for mounting a modularized beverage holder for use at a stadium or similar venue. The drink rail installation 3200 includes a wood (or similar) top 3202, a countertop metal (or similar) pan 3204, side gusset panels 3208 and 3222, upper breathers 3210 and 3224, a center breather 3212, a modesty panel 3214, a foot rail 3218, an electrical cover 3216, a rail base frame 3220, and a front cover panel 3226, among other components illustrated in FIG. 32

[00116] FIG. 33 illustrates an exploded assembly detail view of a drink rail installation.

[00117] Referring to FIG. 33, a drink rail installation 3300 is illustrated, where the drink rail installation 3300 is for mounting modularized beverage holders 3302 and 3304 for use at a stadium or similar venue. The drink rail installation 3300 includes a top deck pan 3206, one or more brackets 3308, power supplies 3306 and 3310, an air plow baffle 3312, among other components illustrated in FIG. 33.

[00118] FIG. 34 illustrates bottom, rear, right side isometric view and a bottom, front, right side isometric view of an assembled drink rail.

[00119] Referring to FIG. 34, a bottom, rear, right side isometric view of an assembled drink rail 3402 and a bottom, front, right side isometric view of an assembled drink rail 3404 are illustrated. These drink rails 3402 and 3404 contain the same or similar components as illustrated and as described with reference to FIGS. 31-33.

[00120] FIG. 35 illustrates a front elevation detail view of a drink rail installation with conduit channels.

[00121] Referring to FIG. 35, two drink rails 3502 and 3504 are illustrated, where the two drink rails 3502 and 3504 are connected and share a conduit cover 3506.

[00122] FIG. 36 illustrates a top view of a beverage container receiver having an accordion type hinge.

[00123] Referring to FIG. 36, a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 3600, similar or the same as the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 of FIG. 1, is illustrated. As illustrated, the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 3600 has a unibody structure with one or more accordion type hinges 3602. These one or more accordion type hinges 3602 allow the sleeved shaped beverage container 3600 and the components thereof to adjust to different sizes of beverage containers.

[00124] FIG. 37 illustrates a side view of a beverage container receiver for use with a dual engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted into the top.

[00125] Referring to FIG. 37, a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 3700, similar or the same as the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 of FIG. 1, is illustrated. As illustrated, the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 3700 has a unibody structure with one or more accordion type hinges 3602. These one or more accordion type hinges 3602 allow the sleeved shaped beverage container 3600 and the components thereof to adjust to different sizes of beverage containers. Further, the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 3700 includes one or more via holes 3702 for receiving a modular engine, such as the first modular engine 104 of FIG. 1

[00126] FIG. 38 illustrates an orthogonal top view of a beverage container receiver for use with a dual engine configuration for actively cooling beverages inserted into the top. [00127] Referring to FIG. 38, a sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 3800, similar or the same as the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 102 of FIG. 1, is illustrated. As illustrated, the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 3800 has a unibody structure with one or more accordion type hinges 3602. These one or more accordion type hinges 3602 allow the sleeved shaped beverage container 3600 and the components thereof to adjust to different sizes of beverage containers. Further, the sleeve shaped beverage container receiver 3800 includes one or more via holes 3702 for receiving a modular engine, such as the first modular engine 104 of FIG. 1

Additional Implementations

[00128] In some implementations, modular (Peltier) engines are designed to be removable and can be removed and/or installed without the use of specialized tools. This enables one with a technical knowhow specifically related to design elements to remove a failed modular (Peltier) engine and replace it with a new one. A waterproof electrical connector is employed that merely requires a twist-off of the failed unit and a twist-on of the new one.

[00129] In other implementations, a controller can be added to the modularized beverage holder for (i) responding to information received from various sensors such as presence sensors and ambient temperature sensors, beverage container temperature sensors and other temperature sensors placed at various locations in the holder by controlling various aspects of the holder accordingly, (ii) adjusting a rate of cooling and/or heating (e.g., low, medium, high, maintain a specific desired temperature) according to information collected or options selected using a switch or other type of input device such as a touch screen or a smart phone or tablet, (iii) controlling the polarity of electricity provided to the cooling/heating device to switch from cooling to heating and vice versa, (iv) running a maintenance/cleaning cycle to defrost and drain, (v) alternating performance and control of the various modular engines, (vi) update a smartphone or tablet connected (wired or wirelessly) to the modularized beverage holder to provide performance information, temperature information and to receive control inputs from the smartphone or tablet, and (vii) adjust a location of one or more of the thermal conductor members to create an air gap or direct contact with the beverage container based on a user selection and or information received from a detector that, for example, detects whether the beverage container is plastic, aluminum, glass or any other type of material.

Freezing Temperature of Beer

[00130] While there are numerous factual accountings of the freezing point of beer, all seem to be based on taking a known cooling process, a known beer package, and testing from that point forward. The following are different, somewhat contradictory, examples describing the freezing characteristics of beer. In general light beers are stated to freeze at higher temperatures, typically around 29° F while heavier beers freeze at somewhat lower temperatures. Here are various examples, incorporated herein by reference, regarding the freezing temperature of beer: (i) www.reference.com/food7temperature-beer-freeze-2bd3090982d0e 215; (ii) www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread. php?t=l 76193; (iii) infogr.am/freezing-temperature-of- beer; and (iv) www.darylscience.com/Demos/BeerFreeze.html.

Further Implementations Regarding Modular Engineering Allows for Installation into Existing Facilities

[00131] Successful stadiums, arenas, concert halls, outdoor/pool and sports-themed bars/restaurants evolve over time through facility upgrades. The disclosed modular actively cooled beverage container holder, drink rail, table-top and counter-top can be implemented as a complete plug and play system to be installed as an upgrade to an existing facility, as well as in new facilities.

[00132] Costs can be separated out into "stadium railing and power" and "modular actively cooled beverage container holder plug and play" subcomponents. The stadium railing portion typically must comply with life safety regulations, is not a standard part, is installed into concrete that typically is off specifications (rise or fall greater than ¼ inch per foot over a specific stadium rail length), etc. Additionally, a stadium- wired junction box with a specialty input receptacle allows for plug and play from that point forward.

[00133] The modular actively cooled beverage container holder plug and play system simply affixes (bolts, screws or other fasteners) onto the stadium provided rail and plugs into the stadium wired junction box.

[00134] Each of the features discussed in this particular implementation section for the first system implementation apply equally to this method implementation. As indicated above, all the system features are not repeated here and should be considered repeated by reference.

[00135] We claim as follows: