The result is a whimsical, colorful hat made from a beer carton. Today, the beerhats he and wife Cyndy produce at their production facility in Grand Island have proven to be their crowning achievement.
Patented and licensed by numerous beer producers, beerhats come in three different styles, including a cowboy style ... along with a "box top" and even a top hat. They bare the names of such famous beer-makers as Pabst, Miller, Coors and Molson, and they've become a big hit with the beer companies themselves, who purchase thousands of them for their own promotional activities and online stores.
They're also very popular with NASCAR fans. Many racing stars have worn them over the years. Plus, there's the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, who ordered 5,000.
Company president Cyndy Montana says her husband came up with the idea for beerhats while they were on their honeymoon at a country festival in Ohio back in 2002. He saw an apparently intoxicated fellow wearing an empty beer case on his head. Peter really liked it, so he made a prototype, refined it, and went into business.
Now made from new beer cases, these unique hats are still shaped by hand, although the company also utilizes a 15-ton hydraulic press, along with an industrial sewing machine.
Beerhats have attracted plenty of media attention in recent years, from local newspapers and television stations to Maxim magazine.
They recently attracted interest from the Made in America Store in Elma, where they are now sold retail, as well as being available on the store's website at www.SaveOurCountryFirst.com. Of course, you can also purchase them directly from the manufacturer at www.beerhats.com.
Storeowner Mark Andol says this Grand Island business is a great example of a manufacturer who has made changes in its products to conform to the Made in America Store's 100 percent American-made policy.
To learn more about beerhats, visit either website, call 1-877-LUV-BEER, or visit the Made in America Store at 900 Maple St., in Elma.