Ben Hewitt, the owner of an HR outsourcing firm in Orlando, had a wine problem. His favorite chilled Chardonnay did not hold up in the humid Florida summer. By the time he ventured out of the house, found a place to picnic and settled in, the wine was as tepid as the thick air. And he wasn’t about to bother with a bulky ice bucket or cooler.
He sold his firm in 2010 and decided to turn his attention to cooling his wine and set up a space in his garage. His first test was a jerry-rigged blue ice gel pack, the contents poured into a plastic test tube. He capped it with a rubber cork and tossed it in the freezer. Once it was solid, he took a bottle of that Chardonnay and plunged the frozen pick into the wine, hoping he wouldn’t get some strange blue-gel-poisoning from the results. (Don’t try this at home, folks!)
To his surprise, this first attempt worked test after test. He shared his invention with a former colleague, Stephen Bruner, who suggested shaping the plastic into a more realistic icicle, or “corkcicle.” With the help of another friend Eric Miller, who had some experience in sales, the official version hit the market only nine months later.
Since those early months, the three have expanded into other cooling devices, innovative barware and workout products, trying to make the simple moments in everyday life more elegant and more sustainable. They’ve also branched into charitable work, donating 5% of all Corkcicle sales to the nonprofit charity:water, which works to bring clean drinking water to impoverished peoples. And that’s a rather bottleful effort, if we say so ourselves.