Cool solution to a common Kiwi problem

8 November 2017

It’s a hard road keeping the ‘beeries’ at perfect supping temperature but Simon Huesser took his marketing skills to the next level when he came up with a new solution to a common Kiwi problem. The HUSKI Cooler™ handheld cooler is designed to keep drinks ice-cold until the very last drop and an amazing Waikato husband and wife duo are behind this cool product.

The HUSKI Cooler™ was recently the subject of an NZ Herald Small Business article - Making a living from cooling your beers.

Simon and Meika's Journey

The idea came about when Waikato alumni Simon and wife Meika travelled through the United States on their way back to New Zealand from a 10-year stint working in London and came across beer coolers with vacuum insulation technology. A self-confessed cold drink fan, Simon was hooked and tried to buy one when he arrived home. Disappointed there was nothing on the market here he ordered one from the US but it came with a hefty price tag and didn’t fit Kiwi beer bottles.

“It turns out we have smaller size standard beer bottles than they do in the U.S. This was when we first had the idea for developing what is now the HUSKI Cooler.”

Built from premium 304 stainless steel, it uses double-wall vacuum insulation technology to significantly reduce the heat exchange which results in warming beer - which is the same technology behind how a Thermos works.

“Kiwis love beer. As a nation, we drink more than 300 million litres of beer a year - more than 65 litres per person annually. And we love our beer cold. The problem is once you take a beer out of the fridge, it goes warm very quickly. Our purpose with the HUSKI Cooler™ is to help Kiwis keep their beer cold. Life's too short to drink warm beer.”

Launching a company wasn’t in the grand plan when Simon graduated from Waikato with a Bachelor of Communication Studies, with double majors in marketing and public relations. In fact, he was more focused on making connections.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school, but the BCS degree seemed like it had a good mix of both management and creative elements to it. It delivered on both counts and served me very well. The social scene was what really made me love my time at Waikato, especially staying in the Halls and making a bunch of lifelong friends. But little did I know that I would come to combine both the skills I had learnt in the lecture halls with the experience of drinking hundreds of Double Browns!”

Does he have any advice for budding entrepreneurs? Simon says it depends on the company and what they want to achieve. “Generally speaking, I would encourage people to try new things and give it a shot. I would rather have tried something and failed than to not have tried. I would highly recommend testing your idea first and doing it with the least amount of investment you can. With HUSKI we steadily increased investment only after testing key assumptions. By doing this you’re significantly minimising the risk of failure and putting yourself in a good position to change course, if you need to.”

Initial feedback about the HUSKI Cooler has been positive. An independent reviewer wrote on her blog that now that she’s tried it, there’s no turning back: “I literally haven’t had a beer without using the cooler since we got it and I don’t think I ever will.”

Encouraged by the positive response, Simon is glad that he’s identified a gap in the market that he can provide a solution for and share his love of cold beer with his mates back home. “I’ve always liked the idea of being able to develop an awesome product that you can give to people and it helps improve their lives. Until recently, I didn’t realise that meant helping people drink cold beer!”

Meet our Waikato Alumni

Simon Huesser
Degree:  Bachelor of Communication Studies
Majors: Marketing & Public Relations
Current Role: Co-founder and Director, HUSKI

Meika Huesser
Degree: Bachelor of Communication Studies
Majors: Marketing & Public Relations
Current Role:  Senior Business Director Colenso BBDO

Video: HUSKI Cooler™ Product Test