Stone New Year’s Countdown Keg A.K.A. The Doomsday Keg of Radness

Here at Stone, I get the privilege of working on some really fun, random projects. Greg will turn to me and say something like, “What if we put a 17 foot tall gargoyle into the inside wall of the Bistro?” From there, I figure out how to make it work and pull the resources and people together to make it happen.

Well, another opportunity to have some fun recently presented itself when we decided to throw our most lavish party ever for New Year’s Eve. With a swing band, jazz band, laser light show and DJ all performing at the same time–along with the amazing beer and food–we needed a midnight countdown that could be monumentous enough to equal the festivities.

I thought about using projectors to play a countdown video, but that just seemed boring. The ceremony of the ball dropping has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve, but we wouldn’t just copy that–we had to do this Stone style. And that’s how we arrived at the Stone New Year’s Countdown Keg. Here’s how it all went down:

The Keg
First, we found a defective keg to play the leading role in this bit of theatrical awesomeness. Our Maintenance crew then plasma cut the top off and drilled out the keg for lighting effects.

The Computer and Monitor
This is the part that really ties together the whole countdown. There’s an old Macbook laptop inside the keg that is hooked up to a 24″ monitor that is mounted to the front of the keg. This displays a countdown timer that our Web Programmer, Bill Sobieski, wrote that displays hours, minutes, and seconds. At 10 minutes to midnight, an iCal event will open a video that one of our graphic Artists, Sergio Salgado, is working on.

The Lighting
I opted for all LED lights. There were some cheaper non-LED effects that may have been brighter, but the space constraints within the keg and the temperature were my first concern.

So here’s what I went with: four motion LED tube lights on the sides to give it the feeling of motion, 3 LED strobe lights inside that flash through the holes in the keg, and a color light show that comes out a hole in the bottom of the keg where we mounted a Moonflower LED light (watch the video to see these in action.) The last effect is really pronounced by the fog machine that we’ll have on the floor, which the beams of colored light seem solid. Each lighting effect is controlled remotely by an RF transmitter.

The Drop
This whole thing is going to be suspended 20 feet above the fountain in the middle of the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. We’ll be attaching this to an electric winch so our Brewmaster, Steve Wagner, can lower the keg at midnight while Stone CEO and Co-Founder Greg Koch MC’s the countdown.

So there you have it. We had some fun yesterday doing a test run in the office and making a video of it. I’m really happy with how it turned out and look forward to seeing it in action on New Year’s. See you there!

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