Custom Growler Cooler : My D.I.Y. Mistake

By the standards set by Brian Lombardi and Mike Rowe, I am neither a Modern Man nor a Man’s Man:

  • NYT: The modern man buys only regular colas, like Coke or Dr Pepper. If you walk into his house looking for a Mountain Dew, he’ll show you the door.
  • MR: A Man’s Man doesn’t drink children’s beverages. He drinks tap water, wine, coffee, beer, whiskey, or iced tea. He does however, keep soda pop on hand, on the off chance a modern man stops by.


I drink Diet Mountain Dew, at least two every morning when I get up at triple nickle (5:55 am). I never learned to like coffee. In fact, I drink so much Mountain Dew, the Dollar General “Dew General Store” sends me free stuff. The most recent of my acquisitions is this soft side cooler shaped like a giant 12 ounce can.


I thought if would be perfect for my half gallon growler…
… or maybe my one-quart growler if the cooler was smaller than it looked.

As it turns out the cooler is too big. So I found myself wanting to add some sort of liner to the cooler. I wanted it to hold the shape of the “can” and keep the growler in place, all while keeping beer cold.

I was looking for something like the 5-Gallon Bucket Companion Cooler that the Home Depot sells, but smaller. I am well aware of this soft-side cooler and this growler holding tray, but I had a FREE cooler, so why not make something original?

I looked in craft stores… looked at PVC pipe, chair foam, insulation, etc. I searched for bait keepers, custom foam cushions, and ice boxes. Nothing seemed quite right. I spoke with a co-worker who is a beer aficionado and explained my search.  He pondered my quest, stroked his beard and said:

“I think I would abandon that project…”

Instead I decided something was better than nothing. I bought two insulation project boards for about $10. I used a box cutter to cut out disks the size of the cooler. Then I cut a hole out of all but the last disk and stacked them up in the cooler. I was done.

The growler slides right in, but I have to hold the disks in place when I pull it out. It was then, that hindsight was 20/20. After it was over, after I had blazed my trail of idiocy, I realized that I had messed up – every. single. step of the way.


The edges were jagged and rough. The insulation looks terrible. It was then that I realized I could have used a butter knife. Insulation is cut very easily, I didn’t need to use box cutters. The blade on box cutters is too short, so it chewed up the insulation when I pushed it down to cut through completely.



Which brings me to my next conclusion: I didn’t need to cut circles. I could have cut out octagons. I could have made a guide using the shapes tool in Microsoft Word. Eight straight cuts would likely have made perfect edges, and filled the cooler nicely.

It looks terrible, but it gets the job done. When the cooler is zipped up, it holds it shape now, and hopefully it will keep beer cold.

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