When Olympia Metropulos told her dad, William, about a wonderful Bloody Mary bar that is a great place for brunch, he couldn't have imagined that he'd walk out with an idea for an innovative new product: Skewdats cocktail skewers.
The Bloody Marys were great, William Metropulos told PlasticsToday, but the olives and other accoutrements "cobbled together with toothpicks and bamboo sticks" in the drink kept falling onto the bar top. That's when the light bulb came on in Metropulos' mind.
"I knew I needed something better, but it had to be really cool because everyone was taking photos of these great-looking Bloody Marys with all this stuff in it," said Metropulos.
So Metropulos did what every great entrepreneurial inventor does—he began sketching his idea on a cocktail napkin. Then he drew it on a piece of paper and called his good friend, Rick Skaja, who just happened to be a moldmaker and owner of R&D Components in Cary, IL. Skaja looked over the drawing and decided that it could be molded.
Skaja said that they made a cast metal prototype first in order to see how the tray would function. The 8-x-8 x-½-inch-deep tray has four sections that can hold a variety of condiments, and the eight-pronged skewer stands in a hole in the middle of the tray. A whole variety of appetizers can be put onto the prongs and the entire tray is easy to handle and reduces the mess. The skewer can also be placed into a cocktail glass to hold appetizers.
Skaja then made a prototype tool and molded some samples for Metropulos to take to Delaware North's Food and Beverage Summit in Buffalo, NY. It was a hit! "Two weeks later, we had several sports stadiums wanting the product," said Metropulos.
Also interested is Beam Suntory, the third largest premium spirits company in the world that was formed in April 2014 when Suntory Holdings, a Japanese company, bought Beam for $16 billion. Brands of Beam Suntory now include Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Canadian Club and several Japanese whiskey brands, as well as Courvoisier cognac.
Currently, Skaja and Metropulos are doing some "tweaks" to the design's latching mechanism and fine-tuning the skewers. "We'll start building the molds—a two-cavity tray mold for the HIPS trays, which are dishwasher safe and reusable by consumers, and a four-cavity mold for the skewers and other parts," said Metropulos. "As soon as this takes off, I see us building a much higher cavity mold for the trays."