September 17, 2022

The middle of the front section of my local newspaper carried an article on Thursday about a University of Mississippi student who came up with an innovative use of beer boxes.  During March 2020 Ryan Lubker saw a cardboard deer head and wanted to spice it up.  Being a college student and locked down by the pandemic he had plenty of beer boxes and decided to put the ideas together.  The prototype used real beer boxes and cut them out with a laser cutter.  Rather than a two dimensional picture of a deer, this used slotted pieces that are assembled into a three dimensional model looking like a deer head.  Lubker has since graduated, but at the time he was studying business management and manufacturing at the school’s Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence.

When I looked online, I found the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME) at the University of Mississippi is advertised as an exercise in contrasts: a factory floor in an academic setting and a future-focused technology center on an historic university campus.  CME was designed by the firm CDFL to be a cutting-edge experiential teaching environment where students immerse themselves in the manufacturing process.  The building integrates a 12,000 sf manufacturing floor into its design.  Other innovations are a photovoltaic system and the state’s largest solar panel array to help power the CME.  The site includes natural day lighting on the manufacturing floor, low-flow restroom fixtures, flexible power and utility infrastructure, and roof insulation that increases mechanical efficiency by 30%.  This is the perfect location to spawn the innovative Beer Deer.

Lubker posted the original beer box labeled model on TikTok with no intention of starting a business, but the idea went viral and 1000’s of orders started pouring in.  He set up a pre-order page and used the money collected to finance the business.  Since he was a student, he did not have time to market, manufacture, and fulfill orders so he outsourced most of the duties.  The beer cartons were too flimsy for the final model and the die is now cut from corrugated cardboard.  More than 50,000 Beer Deer have been sold, and different varieties are now offered.  The deer can be made from different beer brands, and other animals are available (Booze Moose, hook-line-and drinker/fish).  As the website confirms, “no deers were killed or beers chugged for these familiar wall mounts.”

THOUGHTS:  Last April I blogged on how strict taxidermy laws are.  Proper hunting tags, permits, or other documents are required to determine the animal was lawfully acquired and it is a crime to be in possession of animals unlawfully obtained, or to transport, ship, or receive an unlawful carcass.  Once stuffed you cannot discard the taxidermy in the garbage or sell it without committing a felony.  Buying a Beer Deer gives you all the ambiance (?) of a mounted head, but none of the “head”aches.  While “no beers were chugged” in the manufacture of these mounts, that may be a stretch for the invention.  Act for all. Change is coming and it starts with you.

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