ThirstBat 'beer bong' pushes the boundaries
A Kiwi entrepreneur's hit a six with his latest invention - a cricket bat that doubles as a beer bong.
Torben Landl thought up the idea for the 'ThirstBat' on the eve of a mate's stag do last year.
"I felt that no one would be taking a drinking funnel to this stag do - we're all getting a bit long in the tooth," the 32-year-old explains.
"It was the Cricket World Cup, so I thought it was extremely sensible to make one out of a cricket bat - so that's where it started."
His brainwave hit the middle stump.
"Turned up at the stag do, didn't really have any more thoughts apart from having a bit of backyard cricket and a bit of fun with the lads, and it just grew. There was about 40 guys there and it was a real hit."
The Black Caps are on board too - two ThirstBats Mr Landl showed Newshub had been signed by World Cup hero Grant Elliot, and he says former captain Daniel Vettori's put his name on a few too.
ThirstBats signed by Black Cap star Grant Elliot (Dan Satherley / Newshub.)
It's a stunningly simple idea that took Mr Landl and colleague Matt Taggart 18 months to perfect. Embedded in one end of the bat is a 3D-printed bottle opener and a hole where you pour your beverage.
At the other end - the handle - is a valve, which lets the beer flow once opened.
Mr Landl's adamant it doesn't have to be beer, though.
"You can put water through it, you can put your favourite sports drink through it."
But there's no doubt about what the ThirstBat's really meant to be filled with.
The Kickstarter page calls it a "beer bong" in the very first sentence, and it only takes 13 seconds for the accompanying promotional video to show a bloke skulling from one as his mates cheer him on.
The ploy worked, reaching the $20,000 target in less than three weeks. It's the first time Mr Landl's used Kickstarter to fund one of his ideas.
"We've been labelled silly and juvenile," says Mr Landl. "We'll embrace that and take it."
Alcohol Healthwatch Auckland told Newshub while there's nothing illegal about the ThirstBat itself, the Advertising Standards Authority might take issue with how it's being promoted.
Mr Landl's not too concerned, saying they consciously marketed it as a beer bong to "get things over the first hurdle" on Kickstarter. They're yet to approach brick-and-mortar retailers about stocking it.
"We really feel the New Zealand public are responsible enough to handle a ThirstBat," he says. "I honestly think a pint glass is more dangerous than a ThirstBat."
The ThirstBat is now going into production in Te Rapa, Hamilton. The first run will be in the "thousands", to satisfy the Kickstarter backers and the expected demand with summer approaching.
Next year they hope to launch the baseball bat version, called 'the Chugger', for the American market.
"It's really turned from an idea over a beer into a full business."
The 'Chugger', made for the US market, is a baseball ThirstBat (Dan Satherley / Newshub.)