Title:
BEVERAGE INSULATOR INCLUDING INTEGRATED OPENER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A beverage insulator comprising a top thermally insulating portion for receiving a beverage container therein, a bottom supportive portion attached to the thermally insulating portion, and at least one beverage container opener integrated in the bottom supportive portion, wherein the at least one opener is recessed from a bottom surface of the supportive portion.



Inventors:
Kuntz, Matthew K. (Tequesta, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/103331
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
04/15/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/739
International Classes:
B65D81/38; B65D81/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KIRSCH, ANDREW THOMAS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A beverage insulator, comprising: a thermally insulating portion for receiving a beverage container therein; a bottom supportive portion attached to the thermally insulating portion; and at least one beverage container opener integrated in the bottom supportive portion.

2. The beverage insulator according to claim 1, wherein the at least one beverage container opener is recessed within a bottom surface defined by the bottom supportive portion.

3. The beverage insulator according to claim 1, wherein the bottom supportive portion defines a gripping surface.

4. The beverage insulator according to claim 1, wherein the at least one beverage container opener includes a pry-type opener.

5. The beverage insulator according to claim 1, wherein the at least one beverage container opener includes a twist off-type opener.

6. The beverage insulator according to claim 1, wherein the thermally insulating portion is made from at least one of rubber, neoprene and foam.

7. The beverage insulator according to claim 1, wherein the bottom supportive portion is made from plastic.

8. The beverage insulator according to claim 1, further comprising a means for opening and closing the thermally insulating portion to insert and remove the beverage container.

9. A beverage insulator for thermally insulating a beverage container, comprising: a flexible thermally insulating portion for receiving the beverage container therein; a hardened supportive portion attached to the thermally insulating portion for providing a supportive base for the beverage insulator; and at least one beverage container opener integrated within the hardened supportive portion and recessed from a bottom surface defined by the bottom supportive portion.

10. The beverage insulator according to claim 9, wherein the bottom supportive portion defines a gripping surface.

11. The beverage insulator according to claim 9, wherein the at least one beverage container opener includes a pry-type opener.

12. The beverage insulator according to claim 9, wherein the at least one beverage container opener includes a twist off-type opener.

13. The beverage insulator according to claim 9, wherein the flexible thermally insulating portion is made from at least one of rubber, neoprene and foam.

14. The beverage insulator according to claim 9, wherein the bottom supportive portion is made from plastic.

15. The beverage insulator according to claim 9, further comprising a means for opening and closing the thermally insulating portion to insert and remove the beverage container.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the field of beverage insulators, and more specifically, to a beverage insulator including an insulating portion and a hardened supporting base including at least one integrated beverage container opener.

2. Background of the Invention

Beverage insulators, often referred to as “coolies” and “coozies,” are commonly used to insulate a beverage from the temperature of the surrounding environment, such as to keep a beverage hot or cold. Beverage insulators may also function to protect the hand of a holder from hot temperatures, and to provide a comfortable gripping surface for holding a beverage for a prolonged period of time. Further, beverage insulators are commonly used to display advertising, such as company and sports team logos.

To provide the insulating function, beverage insulators are typically made from poor conductors of heat, such as rubber, neoprene or foam. Conventional can insulators typically include a tubular portion of material cut to length and an attached bottom made from the same material. The top of the can insulator remains open to insert the can therein and allow access to the spout. The insulator is typically maintained on the can through a tight interference fit. Bottle insulators may have a similar design, but are also made from one or more pieces of neoprene sewn together in order to define neck and base portions. The shape of the insulator and the elasticity of the neoprene material allow the insulator to stretch and conform to the contour of the bottle.

An example of a bottle insulator is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,550,271. The bottle insulator includes a sewn neoprene jacket having a zipper for opening and closing the jacket to insert the bottle. The bottle insulator further includes a carrying strap and a detachable, conventional bottle opener. Several disadvantages of the insulator include the lack of a supporting base, thus relying on the neoprene material to support the bottle in the upright position when set on a supporting surface, and the fact that the opener is a conventional opener detachably fastened about the zipper, thus leading to design complexity and the possibility of separating the loose the opener from the insulator and not having the opener when needed.

Accordingly, what is desired is a beverage insulator for thermally insulating a bottle, can or other container that provides an insulating function, a supportive base and an integrated opener that cannot be removed from the insulator. Further, what is desired is a beverage insulator including at least one integrated opener positioned out of the way of the gripping and recessed from the bottom of the insulator to avoid contact with a table or other supporting surface of the beverage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention provides a beverage insulator for thermally insulating a beverage container including, but not limited to, a bottle or a can.

In another aspect, the present invention provide a beverage insulator including an upper insulating portion for providing an insulating function, and an attached lower hardened portion for providing a supportive base.

In yet another aspect, the present invention provides a beverage insulator including a supportive base with at least one integrated container opener.

To achieve the foregoing and other aspects and advantages, and in accordance with the purposes of the invention as embodied and broadly described herein, the present invention provides various embodiments of a beverage insulator including an insulating portion and a hardened base having at least one integrated opener therein.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides a beverage insulator including an upper insulating portion made from an insulating material that covers all or a portion of a bottle inserted therein. The beverage insulator further includes a hardened lower portion attached to the upper portion that functions as a supporting base and includes at least one opener defined, molded or supported therein. The opener is operable for removing the cap of a bottle, and may include one or both of a pry opener and a twist-off opener.

Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the detailed description which follows, and in part will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art from that description or recognized by practicing the invention as described herein. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description present various embodiments of the invention, and are intended to provide an overview or framework for understanding the nature and character of the invention as it is claimed. The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention are better understood when the following detailed description of the invention is read with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of beverage insulator including a hardened supporting base in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a beverage insulator including a hardened supporting base in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of a hardened supporting base including an integrated pry-type opener; and

FIG. 4 is a bottom perspective view of a hardened supporting base including integrated pry-type and twist-off type openers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings in which exemplary embodiments of the invention are shown. However, the invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the representative embodiments set forth herein. The exemplary embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be both thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention and enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make, use and practice the invention. Like reference numbers refer to like elements throughout the various drawings.

Referring to FIG. 1, one embodiment of an insulator for thermally insulating a conventional bottle 10 is shown at 12. The bottle includes a cap 14 such as, but not limited to, a pry-off type cap or a twist-off type cap. As shown, the insulator 12 substantially covers the base portion of the bottle 10. The insulator 12 includes a top insulating portion 16 made from a poor conductor of heat including, but not limited to, rubber, foam or neoprene. The top portion 16 of the insulator is attached to a supportive bottom portion 18 in any known manner including, but not limited to, adhesive, one or more fasteners or sewn. The bottom portion 18 may be made from polyethylene, other plastics or like rigid materials. The bottom portion 18 is “hardened” to provide a rigid surface or base for supporting the container in the upright position. The bottom portion 18 has a thickness suitable for molding or maintaining at least one container opener therein, as described in more detail below. Although a bottle is shown as the beverage container, the insulator 12 is also suitable for thermally insulating a can, such as a 12 oz. beverage container. The insulator 12 is preferably maintained on the bottle through an interference fit.

Referring to FIG. 2, another embodiment of an insulator 12 is shown, again including a top insulating portion 16 and an attached, supportive bottom portion 18. The top insulating portion 16 is made from neoprene or like material that provides an insulating function and is elastic to substantially conform to the shape of the bottle. The insulator may further include a zipper 20 or other means for opening and closing the insulator to insert and remove the bottle. As shown, the insulating portion 16 covers the surface of the bottle up to the removable cap. To provide the greatest insulating function, insulating portion 16 may also cover the bottom of the bottle 10, and the hardened bottom portion 18 may be attached to the bottom of the insulating portion 16.

Referring to FIG. 3, a perspective end view of the bottom supportive portion 18 of the insulator 12 is shown. The bottom portion 18 includes at least one conventional integrated opener 22 defined, molded or maintained therein that is recessed from the bottom surface 24 of the bottom portion 18. The opener 22 is recessed so that it does not contact a table or other supporting surface of the beverage container when the container is set down. Thus, the opener cannot damage the supporting surface or interfere with the supporting function of the bottom portion 18. The integrated opener 22 is not removable from the base and thus cannot be separated from the insulator. The integrated opener may be positioned in any location within the bottom portion 18. The bottom portion 18 may optionally define a gripping surface 26 around the perimeter of the base for gripping the insulator to use opener 22. The opener shown FIG. 3 is a conventional pry-type opener for removing a bottle cap, however, the opener may include any type opener having any shape, and is not limited to the opener shown. The opener 22 may be recessed to any depth within the bottom portion 18.

Referring to FIG. 4, a perspective end view of another embodiment of a bottom supportive portion 18 of the insulator 12 is shown. The bottom portion 18 includes first and second integrated openers 22 and 30, which are defined, molded or maintained within the bottom portion and recessed from the bottom surface 24. The first opener 22 is the conventional pry-type opener shown in FIG. 3, and the second opener 28 is a conventional twist-off type opener defining a bottle cap-shaped recess. The openers may be positioned anywhere within the bottom portion. The bottom portion may include additional opener types to provide greater versatility. As in the previous embodiment, the bottom portion 18 may optionally define a gripping surface.

Openers may be made from metal for longevity and may be maintained within a mold during a conventional molding process. Openers may also be inserted and secured subsequent to a molding process. Metals may include stainless steel to prevent rusting. The insulator may be used as a supporting surface for indicia, such as advertising and sports team logos, among other indicia.

While the present invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, it is envisioned that other embodiments may perform similar functions without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.





 
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