At Neat Pour, we’ve already covered the “drinking mask” rush—and why masks-with-holes defeat the point of masking. In the meantime, the world moved onto something bigger. According to a report from the Financial Times, Beam-Suntory is bankrolling the creation of bar helmets.
The mother company of both Jim Beam and Yamazaki whiskey has been keeping quiet about the endeavor. However, in an interview with FT, Suntory CEO Takeshi Niinami confirmed that he’s tasked a group of high level managers with developing the helmet.
“We are working on how we can have izakaya gatherings using face shields,” Nimani told the paper. “It looks weird but being weird may be acceptable in the new normal.”
Said izakaya are sort of pubs featuring drinks and light fare, popular with Japan’s salary men and salary women. Although Japan is not currently under lockdown, many of these bars are struggling to survive.
The idea is to create something like a hybrid between an astronaut’s helmet and a shield style PPE that will allow patrons at the previously crowded izakaya to once again drink without social distancing.
“It may not be a state of art technology but we have to think outside the box,” Nimani.
Alas, the prototypes field tested so far have not received high praise. Most teasers report that wearing a helmet in a bar feels awkward—go figure!