Brewery owner’s bar napkin igloo design sold internationally

An eagle river man's bar napkin design is now a worldwide selling product.
Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 8:20 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Matt Tomter, the owner of Matanuska Brewing, was looking for a solution to keep his customers warm and socially distanced while eating outside after he ordered plastic igloos for his brewery in Palmer and quickly realized they were not prepared to handle the wind.

“We were sitting there having a beer and just going you know these would be better if they were built, you know you would get better visibility if they were built like this,” Tomter said.

From there, Tomter sketched out an igloo design on his napkin of a potential igloo that could be built.

“You start with a beer and then you pull your bar napkin out, you don’t let it get wet, draw your idea on it, and send it to the guy you know with a factory,” Tomter said.

Lucky for Tomter, he had just the person in mind: an old friend he had met at a pub in Paris a few years back owned an Aerospace factory in Romania. From there, he says the ideas just took off.

“It was a week later they sent drawings to me and they just go ‘look we can build it,’ and it was amazing, and within a month we had a prototype, and within six, maybe eight weeks they were in outside of all the restaurants in Bocicoiu, Romania,” Tomter said.

Now alongside his friend, the igloo is being sold worldwide and soon, Tomter says, it will enter a larger market in the U.S. and be sold in Canada and several other countries.

It goes to show, Tomter says, that with a little creativity during a hard time you can find a silver lining.

“We all have been through a tremendous time, right? And you know if something cool comes out of it then great. Then It makes, you know, life goes on and we end up with something that we wouldn’t have had, that probably wouldn’t have happened without it,” Tomter said.

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