Just in time for Summerfest, Brew City Beer Gear is launching a shirt that will hang on to your drink for you: a hooded sweatshirt with a front pouch designed to hold a beverage while keeping your hands free.

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"We’ve been working on it for close to three years," said George Keppler, a co-owner of the Milwaukee shirt company. He has a patent on the design.

Keppler said he would have brought the beer-pouch shirt to market sooner, but his lone sample was stolen from the Las Vegas apparel trade show where he tried to introduce it two years ago. Keppler test-marketed the shirt in December with his first order from Hooters in Florida. The restaurants in that state sold out of 3,000 of the shirts in 30 days.

Brew City started with a retail store in the Grand Avenue mall in 1986. The company now sells millions of dollars’ worth of shirts across the country to national retail chains and on its Web site, www.brewcityonline .com.

The company found success by coming up with clothing ideas that sometimes raise eyebrows, including orange jail-style jumpsuits that many thought looked too realistic a few years ago.

Keppler will have the shirts, which sell for about $38, at his booth at Summerfest starting this weekend, and they will be available at Miller Brewing Co.’s and Sprecher Brewing Co.’s gift stores. But he hasn’t had much success in landing orders from mainstream retailers.

Chain stores seem to be worried that they might appear to be encouraging people to drink, he said.

The new pouch shirts aren’t designed to help people sneak a forbidden brew into an entertainment venue, Keppler said.

"The neck of the bottle is in full view," he said.

And Keppler points out that the shirts aren’t limited to carrying alcoholic drinks.

"I gave one to a neighbor," he said. "His wife went around the neighborhood wearing it with a baby bottle."

Via: JS Online