BEerCRAFTY Interview: Puzzle Pax
July 1, 2015
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PuzzlePax

Ann Marie and I were lucky enough to stumble upon a really awesome product: Puzzle Pax. Wanting to know more, we had to reach out to creators Gio and Nick about their idea. Puzzle Pax was founded and continues to run in Pittsburgh and make custom and stock designs and really awesome coasters. Their goal is for beer drinkers to eliminate the usage of those paper six pack holders; not only are they flimsy, but they tear and if they get wet, you’re picking up glass shards and cleaning up spilled beer. Once you get a Puzzle Pax, you can keep your beer safe and re-use it all of the time. Check out their available items on Amazon or get a custom made one here.

Here’s our interview with Puzzle Pax!

Any plans on making Puzzle Pax with local Pittsburgh breweries? 

We work with local breweries, bars, and bottle shops supplying our products to the Pittsburgh area. The Brew Gentlemen in Braddock, Social in Baker Square, and Atlas Bottle Works in Lawrenceville have been some of our first clients and longest standing accounts.

If you could fill a Puzzle Pax with any 6 beers of your choosing, what 6 would they be?

WOW this is a tough one. The answer to this question could be different any day of the week depending on what mood I’m in.

  1. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
  2. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  3. 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
  4. Voodoo Brewery Love Child
  5. Churchkey Pilsner
  6. Great Divide Showdown Rye IPA 

Can these also hold a 6 pack of cans?

YES! Our six pack carriers fit standard bottles and cans also tall boy pounder cans.

Will we see Puzzle Pax that can hold 22oz bomber bottles? Or maybe a Puzzle Pax that can hold a growler or two?

We have a 4 pack model that fits 22oz bombers, wine bottles, and also most standard 5th sized liquor bottles that will be going up for sale on our website by the end of July. I have played around with designing a growler carrier but they are just a little too big and awkward. Along with the 6 pack and 4 pack carriers we also make another size of 4 pack that can fit standard bottles and cans but is mainly used as a condiment caddy on tables of some of the brewpub restaurants we supply to. We also make custom engraved coasters that have a bottle opener function built in and a key chain bottle opener that can be customized as well.

Will these survive in the elements? 

All of our products are cut using a process that burns the edges of the wood giving it a caramel color and a nostalgic campfire smell. At the same time this process heats and cauterizes the wood sap sealing the cut ends. This helps our products withstand the elements because it stops most of the water that it comes in contact with from penetrating the end grain, which leads to swelling.

As for the the rain and cold, I have had my personal Puzzle Pax rained on and snowed on (not a down pour or a blizzard) with no damage. I also keep it stocked with beers in the fridge whenever it’s not in use.  It holds up very well to the condensation from the bottles, unlike a cardboard carrier that can bust out of the bottom and ruin your day. For the argument of stability and sturdiness, I am a 185lb man and I can stand on a fully built empty Puzzle Pax while it is sitting upright and while it is sitting on its side. I am thinking of making a video where I drop it off of a building filled with beer (the cheap kind, because I would never waste the good stuff) to see how it holds up (and also because I just think it will be cool).

Have any events coming up? Will you be at any beer festivals? These things would do quite well! 

We have been doing some local markets and have had an amazing reaction from the public. I’ve lost of count of how many times I have been told, “Dude, you should go on Shark Tank.”  The next event we have is 21+ night at TechShop Pittsburgh on July 23rd. TechShop is a community maker space where myself and my business partner Nick Thompson founded Puzzle Pax. At the event they will have a bunch of local breweries and home brew clubs along with food and activities. We are actually one of the featured activities for the night. Along with just selling craft beer lifestyle goods we also offer a promotional service to other businesses.

We run an activity called Puzzle Pax Races. Two tables are set up with 10 disassembled six pack carriers on them. People sign up, each takes a place in front of a stack of wooden pieces, and then they race each other to put a Puzzle Pax together. We are the only six pack carrier company that can offer this because our product fits together like a puzzle without the need for any tools, nails, or glue. The winner receives a free Puzzle Pax stock with beer and the company’s logo engraved on it. This is a great way to promote any company but I would really like to get picked up by some breweries where they would send us to beer festivals to represent them and we would give out six packs with the brewery logo on them and stocked with that brewery’s beer! I think this is a great promotional tool that we will be doing more of in the future.

This is our third time being a part of the 21+ night at TechShop Pittsburgh and we really enjoy it. As far as beer festivals, we just hired an events coordinator who is very talented and we will be lined up to do many of the local beer fests toward the end of the summer and beginning of fall and are open to traveling to other festivals as well. 

Where do you hope to see Puzzle Pax in the next couple of years? What are your goals for the company? 

What the future holds for our company? The future is looking very bright for our small business! The craft beer scene is growing stronger all the time and we are growing right along with it. We have just been confirmed as a vendor for CB2 and I would like to continue to grow our reach into new markets. For the next few years I would like to focus on designing and inventing great products and putting them in the hands of people who love beer. I am currently working on a new six pack carrier different from anything on the market today. Keep a look out for Puzzle Pax being made out of some other cool materials as well. I would also like to see our presence at beer festivals and other events increase with us offering Puzzle Pax Races as a promotional solution for breweries and other companies. Most of all I want the future to bring more great beer! That is why we started this business, because we love beer. And if I can have a successful business centered around something I love then I can’t really call this work. 

 

Thanks to Gio for the great interview. Can’t wait to get our hands on a Puzzle Pax for our beers! Seriously, my least favorite thing is carrying a six pack and panicking that it’s going to rip!

I cannot state enough how bummed we were that we didn’t get one while we visited Pittsburgh in May.

Cheers,

Kevin and Ann Marie