The idea of that realistic pint glass began when Crown Imports wanted to change their lobby; architect VOA created a vision that included a complete re-do of the lobby, the adjoining tasting bar, conference room and reception area. Part of VOA's vision was to feature a larger-than-life beer glass that sported the firm's various beer logos. As the brand logos changed, so would the corresponding beer's color and effervescence.
When the oversized glass contains Corona Extra, for instance, that logo appears on the side of the glass and the beer color matches the brand's sunny, light color. When the brand switches to Victoria, that logo appears on the glass and the liquid darkens subtly until it becomes the rich amber color of Victoria beer.
To accomplish that, Reed Construction and VOA came to Chicago Scenic to create the beer attraction. Chicago Scenic's Project Manager Brian Stockmaster undertook the project in Fall 2010. "At the client's request," Stockmaster recalls, "we started with a prototype to ensure that we could turn the team's vision into reality."
Stockmaster contacted California Quality Plastics to create the eight-foot tall acrylic glass. The client then added Hugh Lighting and AVI Systems to the team. "Originally, we thought we could do everything – change the logos and the color of the beer – through lighting and projection," Stockmaster recalls. While projecting the logos on the exterior of the glass worked, lighting didn't produce the desired beer color, especially the darker colored beers. Then Stockmaster added Panner Sales, a fluid control equipment distributor, and California firm Reef Systems, an aquarium specialist, to the team.
Eventually, in order to achieve the team's vision, a complex set of systems, equipment and sensors was developed and assembled, and now resides in a new mechanical room a floor below Crown's lobby.
"Our automation team worked with AVI Systems to create an interface that would run independently but could also be easily operated via a control panel at reception," Stockmaster said.
Today on the pint glass in Crown's lobby, beer logos freely rotate and as they do, the beer in the glass changes color accordingly. When representatives from a single beer brand arrive at Crown's headquarters, a touchpad control can instantly freeze the beer brand's logo and color.
Several times a day, a spectrometer reads the color of the water (the "beer") and a dosing injector and UV filters adjust the color by injecting dye until the intensity of the tint is correct and the desired hue is achieved. An air intake system controls the size and speed of the beer's carbonated bubbles.
At midnight, the system enters "nighttime" mode, running through additional self-check cycles, cleaning and flushing cylinders, adding water and creating color. At 8 a.m., the system re-enters daytime mode and repeats its brand rotation. Ongoing maintenance is minimal, Stockmaster adds, and is limited to monthly filter changes, salinity and dye level monitoring.