Title:
BEVERAGE CONTAINER SPOUT COVER, STORAGE RACK AND METHOD FOR USE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A beverage spout cover that may be configured to cover bottles that have been previously opened and fitted with standard bar/nightclub open-ended pourer. The cover preferably is configured to cover the bottle and help reduce contamination of the produce within the bottle by insects or otherwise, and at the same time be convenient for the user and attractive for the venue. In one arrangement, the cover provides ample room for the provision of branding or advertising indicia, such as the inclusion of brand names, product names, or other advertisements on the exterior of the cover.



Inventors:
Conforti, Harry (Andover, MA, US)
Faris, Christopher (Gloucester, MA, US)
Application Number:
12/029396
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
02/11/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D51/18
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080290061Capsule ClosureNovember, 2008Seelhofer
20050269281Dual-purpose sealing cap for water bucketsDecember, 2005Ding
20090045224Liquid product pouring and measuring package with drain-back spout fitment and tight-sealing measuring cup assemblyFebruary, 2009Faaborg et al.
20020079320Beverage container with a pop-up straw and method of making the sameJune, 2002Mccarthy et al.
20050103742Plastic closing cap with sealing ringMay, 2005Pairis
20070289939Plastic container with separately formed handleDecember, 2007Young et al.
20080223807COLLAR FOR LIQUID AND MEDICINE DISPENSING BOTTLESeptember, 2008Botts
20050139570Sealed single serve containers for wineJune, 2005Lambert et al.
20100012617PLASTIC BOTTLE WITH SUPERIOR TOP LOAD STRENGTHJanuary, 2010Ulibarri et al.
20040004829Illuminating, heating or cooling a consumer productJanuary, 2004Policappelli
20090101621STOPPER FOR A CONTAINERApril, 2009Kneer et al.



Primary Examiner:
SMALLEY, JAMES N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A reusable cover for a bottle that has a neck, wherein the neck defines a mouth, and a pour spout positioned in the mouth, said cover comprising: a cover body comprising a side wall and an end wall, said side wall and said end wall cooperating to define an enclosed interior space of said cover body, said cover body comprising an opening to said interior space opposite said end wall, said interior space sized and shaped to accommodate at least a portion of the neck of the bottle and the pour spout; a seal comprising a seal body that extends at least partially across said opening of said cover body, said seal comprising a penetrable portion, which allows the pour spout and neck of the bottle to pass through said seal into said interior space and allows the pour spout and the neck of the bottle to be removed from said interior space, wherein said seal body is configured such that, when the neck of the bottle is positioned within said interior space, the combination of said seal and the neck of the bottle occupy substantially said entire opening of said cover body.

2. The bottle cover of claim 1, wherein said penetrable portion comprises an opening in said seal body.

3. The bottle cover of claim 2, wherein said penetrable portion further comprises a plurality of slits extending in a radial direction relative to said opening.

4. The bottle cover of claim 3, wherein an end of one or more of said plurality of slits extends into said opening.

5. The bottle cover of claim 1, wherein said penetrable portion comprises one or more slits in said seal body.

6. The bottle cover of claim 1, wherein an outer periphery of said seal body is secured to said cover body.

7. The bottle cover of claim 6, wherein said outer periphery of said seal body is received within a groove defined by said cover body.

8. The bottle cover of claim 6, wherein said cover body defines a plurality of projections, each of which are received within one of a plurality of apertures defined in said outer periphery of said seal body.

9. The bottle cover of claim 8, wherein said cover body comprises a housing and a retaining ring, and said retaining ring defines said plurality of projections.

10. The bottle cover of claim 9, wherein said housing defines an annular groove, and said retaining ring is received within said annular groove.

11. The bottle cover of claim 1, wherein said cover body comprises a pair of members that are substantially mirror images of one another and are configured to be coupled to one another.

12. A kit for covering a plurality of bottles, each of the bottles having a pouring spout positioned within a mouth of the bottle, said kit comprising: a plurality of reusable covers, each of said covers having a cover body that defines an enclosed interior space sized and shaped to accommodate the pouring spout, each of said covers further comprising a seal that, when said cover is placed on the bottle, a substantial entirety of an opening to said interior space is occupied by the combination of said seal and the bottle; and a tray configured to hold said plurality of reusable covers.

13. The kit of claim 12, wherein said tray is dishwasher-safe.

14. The kit of claim 12, wherein said tray comprises peripheral side walls that extend above a top of said plurality of covers when said plurality of covers are placed in said tray.

15. The kit of claim 14, wherein said tray further comprises a plurality of internal walls that cooperate to form separated compartments for each of said plurality of covers.

16. A kit for covering a plurality of bottles, each of the bottles having a pouring spout positioned within a mouth of the bottle, said kit comprising: a plurality of reusable covers, each of said covers having a cover body that defines an enclosed interior space sized and shaped to accommodate the pouring spout, each of said covers further comprising a seal that, when said cover is placed on the bottle, a substantial entirety of an opening to said interior space is occupied by the combination of said seal and the bottle; and a tube configured to hold said plurality of reusable covers end to end.

17. A method of removably covering a bottle for a limited period of time while the bottle is not in use, wherein the bottle has a neck, which defines a mouth, and a pour spout positioned in the mouth, the method comprising: placing a cover over the pour spout such that the pour spout and at least a portion of the neck of the bottle are positioned within an enclosed space defined by a cover body of the cover, and such that a seal portion of the cover substantially separates the enclosed space from an outside of the cover; leaving the cover on the bottle while the bottle is not in use; and removing the cover from the bottle.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the leaving of the cover on the bottle comprises leaving the cover on the bottle overnight.

19. The method of claim 17, further comprising removing the cover and placing the cover in a tray.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising placing a plurality of covers in the tray, and placing the tray into a dishwasher.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is related to, and claims the benefit of, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/900,642, filed Feb. 9, 2007, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein and made a part of the present disclosure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to beverage container covers. More specifically, the present invention relates to pouring spout covers for beverage containers.

2. Description of the Related Art

In the bar and nightclub industry, once most liquor bottles, or other beverage bottles, are opened the original bottle cap is replaced with a “pourer” or pour spout that enables the bartender to pour a manageable stream of liquor into a glass or measuring device. The pourer closes the mouth of the bottle, but the opening in the pourer through which the liquid is dispensed remains open. One major problem that exists with these pourers is that fruit flies, or other nuisance insects, are attracted to the liquor. The small size of fruit flies, and certain other insects, permits the insects to pass through the pourer and into the bottle. In such a situation, the entire bottle is considered to be contaminated, and the remaining liquor inside is the bottle is discarded. Over time, the contamination of liquor bottles by fruit flies, or other insects, can result in significant monetary losses. Furthermore, other contaminants may also be able to undesirably enter the bottle through the pourer.

Several existing methods are used in the bar and nightclub industry to deal with this problem. For example, condom-style covers may be placed on bottles at the end of the night, and then removed at opening time, or prior to the bottle being used again. These covers are difficult and time consuming to put on and off, expensive for the proprietor to purchase, and not very pleasing to look at.

There are also pourers designed with a flip cover that opens when being poured. However, these covers are prone to breaking off, sticking closed when the bottle is being poured, and can be left in an open position such that the pourer is not sealed, which still allows some fruit flies, or other insects, to enter the bottle.

Another popular method involves using plastic wrap or small disposable paper cups to cover the liquor bottles at the end of the night. These options are not particularly effective, pleasing to look at, or the intended use of the products. In addition, the use of plastic wrap is time consuming.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Preferred embodiments of the present invention involve a beverage spout cover that preferably is configured to cover bottles that have been previously opened and fitted with standard bar/nightclub open-ended pourer. The cover is preferably configured to cover the bottle and help reduce the fruit fly problem, and at the same time be convenient for the user and attractive for the venue. In a particularly preferred embodiment, the cover provides ample room for the provision of branding, such as the inclusion of brand names, product names, or other advertisements on the exterior of the cover.

A preferred embodiment involves a reusable cover for a bottle that has a neck, wherein the neck defines a mouth, and a pour spout positioned in the mouth. The cover includes a cover body comprising a side wall and an end wall. The side wall and the end wall cooperate to define an enclosed interior space of the cover body. The cover body also includes an opening to the interior space opposite the end wall, which is sized and shaped to accommodate at least a portion of the neck of the bottle and the pour spout. A seal includes a seal body that extends at least partially across the opening of the cover body. The seal includes a penetrable portion, which in one arrangement includes an opening. The penetrable portion allows the pour spout and neck of the bottle to pass through the seal into the interior space and allows the pour spout and the neck of the bottle to be removed from the interior space. The seal body is configured such that, when the neck of the bottle is positioned within the interior space, the combination of the seal and the neck of the bottle occupy substantially the entire opening of the cover body.

Another preferred embodiment is a kit for covering a plurality of bottles, each of the bottles having a pouring spout positioned within a mouth of the bottle. The kit includes a plurality of reusable covers, each of the covers having a cover body that defines an enclosed interior space sized and shaped to accommodate the pouring spout. Each of the covers further includes a seal that, when the cover is placed on the bottle, a substantial entirety of an opening to the interior space is occupied by the combination of the seal and the bottle. A tray is included in the kit and is configured to hold the plurality of reusable covers.

Yet another preferred embodiment is a kit for covering a plurality of bottles, each of the bottles having a pouring spout positioned within a mouth of the bottle. The kit includes a plurality of reusable covers, each of the covers having a cover body that defines an enclosed interior space sized and shaped to accommodate the pouring spout. Each of the covers further includes a seal that, when the cover is placed on the bottle, a substantial entirety of an opening to the interior space is occupied by the combination of the seal and the bottle. A tube is also included in the kit and is configured to hold the plurality of reusable covers end to end.

A preferred embodiment is a method of removably covering a bottle for a limited period of time while the bottle is not in use, wherein the bottle has a neck, which defines a mouth, and a pour spout positioned in the mouth. The method includes placing a cover over the pour spout such that the pour spout and at least a portion of the neck of the bottle are positioned within an enclosed space defined by a cover body of the cover, and such that a seal portion of the cover substantially separates the enclosed space from an outside of the cover. The cover is left on the bottle while the bottle is not in use. The cover is removed from the bottle prior to pouring from the bottle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present inventions are described in greater detail below with reference to drawings of preferred embodiments, which are intended to illustrate, but not to limit, the present invention. The drawings contain forty (40) figures.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a bottom and side of a beverage spout cover having certain features, aspects and advantages of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1, showing the top and side of the cover.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an end view of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1 and, more particularly, a top view of the cover.

FIG. 5 is another side view of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1, showing indentations in a side wall of the cover, which provide a grip surface.

FIG. 6 is an end view of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1 and, more particularly, a bottom view that illustrates an opening to an interior space of the cover and a seal that is configured to engage the neck of a bottle when the cover is in use.

FIG. 7 is an assembly view of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a partial assembly view of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a side of a housing of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 is a side view of a side of the housing of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 11 is another side view of a side of the housing of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1, illustrating an interior surface of the housing.

FIG. 12 is another side view of a side of the housing of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1, illustrating the exterior surface of the housing.

FIG. 13 is an end view of a side of the housing of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1 and, more particularly, a top view.

FIG. 14 is another top view of the side of the housing of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 15 is a side view of the seal, or flexible wall, of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 16 is an end view of the seal of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the seal of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of the retaining ring of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 19 is an end view of the retaining ring of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 20 is another end view of the retaining ring of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIG. 21 is a side view of the retaining ring of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 22-26 are a variety of views of one member of the housing of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1. FIG. 22 is an end view, FIG. 23 is a side view of the interior, FIG. 24 is another side view of the interior, FIG. 25 is a cross sectional view, and FIG. 26 is a perspective view, showing the interior and bottom.

FIGS. 27-29 are a variety of views of the retaining ring of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1. FIG. 27 is a top view, FIG. 28 is a side view, and FIG. 29 is a bottom view.

FIGS. 30-32 are a variety of views of the seal of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1. FIG. 30 is a top view, FIG. 31 is a side view, and FIG. 32 is a bottom view.

FIGS. 33 and 34 are perspective views of a washing tray that can be used with a plurality of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1. FIG. 33 shows the tray empty, and FIG. 34 shows the tray filled with beverage spout covers.

FIG. 35 is a perspective view of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1 installed on a beverage bottle.

FIG. 36 is a perspective view of a modification of the beverage spout cover of FIG. 1. The cover of FIG. 36 includes a modified version of the seal, which is illustrated separately from the cover body.

FIG. 37 is a cross-sectional view of a modification of the cover of FIG. 1. The cover of FIG. 37 incorporates a second seal within an interior of the cover that preferably partially or fully obstructs the opening of the pourer.

FIG. 38 is a perspective view of two versions of tube storage or shipping containers for holding multiple beverage spout covers.

FIGS. 39 and 40 are perspective views of an embodiment of the beverage spout cover installed on a beverage bottle and illustrating an area (in dashed lines) on the cover well-suited to receiving advertising indicia, or other branding illustrations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIGS. 1-40, in a preferred arrangement, the beverage spout cover 50 generally includes a cover body 52 and a flexible wall, or seal 54. The cover body 52 generally defines a cup-like shape wherein one end defines an opening 56 through which the end of a bottle can be inserted. The seal 54 preferably extends at least partially over the opening 56. The illustrated cover body 52 and seal 54 are configured such that, when a bottle having a pour spout, or pourer, installed is inserted into the cover 50, the bottle and the seal 54 cooperate to substantially close the opening 56. Accordingly, with such an arrangement, the likelihood of contaminants entering a bottle is reduced or eliminated. Preferably, the seal 54 occupies a substantial entirety of a radial space between the neck of the bottle and the cover body 52.

One particular advantage provided by the above-described arrangement, over the existing methods, is the marketing opportunity that exists on the cover 50. The spout cover 50 preferably is sized and shaped such than an interior space 58 of the cover 50 is large enough to accommodate a standard pourer and, preferably, a portion of the neck of the bottle. In addition, the material from which the cover body 52 is constructed preferably allows advertising indicia, such as logos, brand or product names, and the like, to be easily printed on the cover 50. The cover 50, constructed as described, preferably is functional with at least a significant portion of bottles typically used in a bar or nightclub. Desirably, the cover 50 is functional with the most bottles that are typically used. Thus, the cover 50 provides a unique and attractive branding opportunity for suppliers. Furthermore, the use of the covers 50 provides an establishment with a professional and neat appearance, and provides a reassurance to customers as to the cleanliness of the establishment.

As described above, the beverage spout cover 50 preferably includes comprises a cover body 52, which in some embodiments, may comprise a clamshell like structure in which the cover body 52 includes a plurality, preferably a pair, of housing members 60a, 60b that cooperate to form a housing 60 of the cover body 52. Preferably, the housing members 60a, 60b are separable from one another, as described below. Such an arrangement assists in assembly of the cover 50 and, in particular, in assembling the seal 54 within the cover body 52.

In the illustrated arrangement, an outer surface of the cover body 52 defines at least one indentation 62, and preferably one indentation 62 on each side of the cover body 52, which provides a grip surface for a user when installing the cover 50 onto a bottle or removing the cover 50 from a bottle. The indentations 62 also provide the cover 50 with a unique and pleasing outward appearance. In the illustrated arrangement, the indentations 62 are in the shape of an elongated oval that has a major axis extending in a lengthwise (top to bottom) direction along the cover body 52. In some arrangements, the indentations 62 may provide advantageous stiffness properties to the side wall of the cover body 52, such that the wall thickness of the housing members 60a, 60b can be reduced.

With particular reference to FIGS. 7-9, 11, and 22-26, the cover body 52 preferably includes an annular groove 64 adjacent the opening 56. In the illustrated arrangement, the housing members 60a, 60b each define a portion of the groove 64. However, in alternative arrangements, the cover body 52 may include additional components that partially or completely define the groove 64. The groove 64 is sized and shaped to receive an outer periphery of the seal 54 within the groove 64 to support the seal 54 in a fixed location relative to the cover body 52.

The seal 54 preferably is generally annular in shape and defines an opening 66 centrally located in the seal 54. The opening 66 is sized and shaped to accommodate a typical bottle neck and pourer, and to permit the pourer and bottle neck to pass through the opening 66. Preferably, the opening 66 is generally circular in shape and is sized to be smaller than a typical bottle neck, such that the seal 54 maintains contact with at least a significant portion of a circumference of a neck of a bottle onto which the cover 50 is placed. The seal 54 preferably is constructed from a flexible material that will flex, stretch or otherwise deform to allow a bottle neck to pass through the opening 66 and to generally conform to the shape of a bottle neck that is positioned within the opening 66. In one arrangement, the seal 54 may be constructed of a relatively firm foam material or a soft rubber material.

Moreover, cuts or slits 68 may be provided to assist in allowing the seal 54 to accommodate a bottle neck. In the illustrated arrangement, the slits 68 extend in a generally radial direction away from the opening 66. The slits 68 may extend from, or intersect the opening 66, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. Alternatively, the slits 68 may not intersect with the opening 66, as shown in FIGS. 16 and 17. A combination of one or more of each type of slit 68 may also be used. Other suitable arrangements to assist the opening 66 in accommodating a variety of bottle neck shapes and sizes may also be used.

In the illustrated arrangement, the cover body 52 includes a retaining ring 70 that is received within the groove 64, along with the seal 54, to assist in retaining the seal 54 in the groove 64. The illustrated retaining ring 70 preferably is a relatively rigid ring that is configured to engage the outer peripheral edge of the seal 54. The retaining ring 70 preferably includes one or more protrusions 72, which may be generally cylindrical in shape and which extend in an axial direction from an end surface of the annular base portion of the retaining ring 70. An outer peripheral edge of the seal 54 preferably includes one or more holes 74 configured to receive one or more of the projections 72. In the illustrated arrangement, one hole 74 is provided for each projection 72; however, in other arrangements, a single hole 74 may be sized and shaped to receive more than one protrusion 72. Moreover, other suitable arrangements may be used to secure the seal 54 to the cover body 52. For example, protrusions (or securing members) may be formed by the housing members 60a, 60b.

When combined, the seal 54 and the retaining ring 70 reside in the groove 64 located near the opening 56 of the cover body 52. The retaining ring 70 assists in keeping the seal 54 in the groove 64 of the cover body 52 such that when the cover 50 is installed onto a bottle or other container, the seal 54 remains in the groove 64 and is not pulled out of engagement with the cover body 52 due to the installation or removal force produced when the cover 50 is installed or removed from a bottle or other container. Such an arrangement allows the cover 50 to be reusable for a significant period of time.

As described above, preferably, the cover body 52 includes a housing 60 that is an assembly of a pair of housing members 60a, 60b. Desirably, the housing members 60a, 60b are generally mirror images of one another and configured to be snap-fit together. In a preferred arrangement, the members 60a and 60b are identical to one another, such that any two members 60a, 60b can be snap-fit together. Such an arrangement eases designing of the molds, when the members 60a, 60b are molded, and eases assembly because it is not necessary to sort between two different members 60a, 60b.

Although any suitable type of snap-fit design may be used, in the illustrated arrangement, each member 60a, 60b includes one or more projections 80 and one or more depressions 82. Preferably, the projections 80 are in the form of elongate ribs and the depressions 82 are in the form of elongate grooves configured to receive the ribs in a snap-fit, friction-fit, or other similar or suitable type of interconnection. That is, desirably, no additional fastening materials/components are necessary, such as mechanical fasteners or adhesives. However, if desired, such fastening materials/components may be used. In the illustrated arrangement, at least one projection 80 and at least one depression 82 are defined in each side wall and in the top wall of the members 60a, 60b.

Although the seal 54 preferably includes the opening 66, in other arrangements the opening 66 may be omitted and the seal 54 may utilize alternative configurations to define a penetrable portion of the seal 54. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 36, the seal 54 includes one or more slits 68, and preferably a pair of slits 68, arranged in a generally X-shaped configuration. The X-shaped slits 68 also allow for the neck of a bottle or container to pass through the seal 54 and into the cover body 52 of the cover. Furthermore, as will be appreciated by one skilled in the art other possible configurations of the seal 54 may also be used. The seal 54 may be constructed of a relatively firm foam material or a soft rubber material. Further, the cover may include a second flexible insert (not shown), similar to the seal 54, spaced inwardly from the seal 54 and configured to cover the opening of the pourer.

FIG. 37 illustrates a modification of the cover 50, in which a spout seal 110 is provided. The spout seal 110 preferably is used in combination with the seal 54, but may be used alone in some arrangements. The illustrated spout seal 110 is generally disc-like in shape and is held within a groove 112 defined by the cover body 52, preferably in a manner similar to the groove 64 that supports the seal 54. As illustrated in FIG. 37, the spout seal 110 preferably is configured to partially or fully cover or obstruct an opening of the pourer 114 to operate along with the seal 54 and provide additional security against contamination, or as the only seal in some applications. The spout seal 110 may be constructed of any suitable material, such as a material similar one from which the seal 54 is constructed. Preferably, the spout seal 110 is flexible such that it can be deflected by the pourer 114 and generally conform to the particular shape of the pourer 114. Furthermore, the spout seal 110 preferably is located towards an upper end of the interior space 58 of the cover 50, opposite the opening 56. However, the position of the spout seal 110 may be altered to accommodate a particular application of the cover 50, such as use with unusually short or long pourers 114, or bottles 116 having unusually short or long necks, for example. Also, the seal 54 is shown contacting the bottle 116 and, together with the bottle 116, obstructing substantially the entire opening 56.

In one arrangement, the cover 50 is preferably approximately 3 inches in height with an approximate diameter of about 2 inches, and the outer material is preferably a strong plastic or light stainless steel. The size of the cover 50 is particularly advantageous in increasing efficiency in space in the back bar (an area behind the serving portion of the bar). This particular diameter is generally based on the width of the narrowest bottle used in the industry in order to avoid hitting bottle on either side of it. The height is to allow the cover 50 to fit over the average pourer regardless of bottle style. However, as will be appreciated, the dimensions of any particular cover 50 may be altered depending on the desired end use.

In the illustrated arrangement, the cover 50 preferably is of a generally cylindrical shape so as to allow stacking of a plurality of covers 50. The cover 50 may be slightly tapered in order to enhance the stacking, and may permit some overlap of adjacent covers 50 by permitting a portion of the upper end of one cover 50 to be received within the opening 56 of the cover 50 above it.

When the covers 50 are stacked, in some embodiments, the covers can be stored in an elongated cylindrical tube 90 (FIG. 38). The tube 90 permits a number of covers to be stored vertically in a relatively small area. Furthermore, in some embodiments the elongated tubes 90 can be used to as packaging in which the covers 50 are sold and delivered. The tube 90 may be constructed of a clear material to allow the covers 50 to be visible through the tube 90. The ends of the tube 90 may be closed by friction fit closures 92, for example, or by any other suitable mechanism. The tube 90 may be provided in any suitable length, such as about 20 inches or about 38 includes, for example.

A plurality of covers 50 may also be stored in a grid-like tray 100 (FIGS. 33 and 34). Preferably, the tray 100 includes side walls 102 that create an interior space in the tray 100 and a plurality of internal walls 104 that divide the interior of the tray 100 into discrete sections. Preferably, the side walls 102 are tall enough that the covers 50 do not protrude above the tops of the side wall 102 and each section is sized to accommodate a cover 50. In one arrangement, the tray 100 is a generally open, lattice-work structure and preferably is dishwasher safe. The open structure allows water to pass over and around the covers 50 while the covers 50 are in the washing tray 100.

Furthermore, it is possible that the covers 50 may be packaged and sold to the end user along with a washing tray 100 as a kit. This configuration can be the standard case size shipped from the factory, which in some arrangements may hold about 36 covers 50. There can, in some embodiments, be 2 cases per carton, that is, two (2) trays and seventy-two (72) covers 50, for example.

In operation, the dishwasher tray or rack 100 can provide a convenient spout cover 50 storage space allowing the back bar to be freed up. At closing, spout covers 50 can be removed from dishwasher racks and placed on bottles. The next shift can remove the spout covers 50 and place them back into the dishwasher racks 100. The covers 50 can then be placed in the glass washer, removed and stored behind bar, or at another designated location. At closing, these dishwasher racks 100 can be brought out and the closing procedure can be repeated. Alternatively, the covers 50 may be kept on the bottles while the establishment is open, simply being removed to allow pouring. This approach may be especially useful in relatively open or outdoor environments.

Although this invention has been disclosed in the context of certain preferred embodiments and examples, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention extends beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses of the invention and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof. In particular, while the present bottle pour spout cover, kit and method has been described in the context of particularly preferred embodiments, the skilled artisan will appreciate, in view of the present disclosure, that certain advantages, features and aspects of the cover, kit and method may be realized in a variety of other applications, many of which have been noted above. Additionally, it is contemplated that various aspects and features of the invention described can be practiced separately, combined together, or substituted for one another, and that a variety of combination and subcombinations of the features and aspects can be made and still fall within the scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the scope of the present invention herein disclosed should not be limited by the particular disclosed embodiments described above, but should be determined only by a fair reading of the claims.