Thanks to a Pittsburgh engineer, your car roof may soon double as a booze fridge

You’re welcome, America.

Behold the Blitzen Roof Hootch.

Behold the Blitzen Roof Hootch.


Pittsburgh’s Deeplocal may be the coolest company you’ve never heard of — until now, of course.

The creative agency and design studio with a Strip District lab, a host of high-profile clients and a crop of designs so zany they’d make the Shark Tank cast melt in those tufted leather chairs of theirs has now produced this head-cocking contraption.

The Blitzen Roof Hootch is loaded.

The Blitzen Roof Hootch is loaded.


It’s called the Blitzen Roof Hootch, and as the name suggests it involves both hootch and a roof. In this case the roof belongs to your car and the hootch to you as well. Sidebar: There’s a great home version of this involving a box of wine and the icy fire escape outside my kitchen window.

The real Roof Hootch, meanwhile, was created by Deeplocal engineer Matthew Pegula in one of those “necessity = the mother of invention” moments.

Pegula had obtained a bottle of warm Prosecco from the liquor store and needed a way to cool it while driving home from work on a Friday night. It was cold out and so he had an idea to chill it as he drove by placing it outside the moving vehicle. (Pegula is obviously very bold.)

He eventually fine-tuned the idea, and the result looks like a bike rack for your growler. More importantly, it works!

That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad: For now, Blitzen Roof Hootch is just a prototype.

Pegula said you may see one or two running around the city but that they’re not available for public sale.

“We may ‘open source’ the design so that anyone can build them,” he added. No word on when that might happen.

In the meantime, you can get your Deeplocal fix with these Deeplocal-designed Netflix socks, which pause a show you’re watching when the socks detect that you’ve dozed off. (We’re sure they’d go great with a naturally chilled bottle of Chablis.)

“We leveraged a universally relatable situation: It’s late at night, you’re binge-watching Netflix, and you fall asleep and lose your place in your show,” Heather Martin, Deeplocal’s chief marketing officer, told The Incline by email. “We validated our insight against Netflix’s social data, came up with our form factor (socks designed to reflect different Originals shows), and wrote our DIY (and KIY; knit-it-yourself) instructions.”

A raft of other Deeplocal-sourced products and projects can be viewed here.

It includes a zoo animal selfie project, a Times Square pumpkin patch for Google, a Netflix “start switch” that instantly dims the lights, silences your phone, orders takeout, and starts playing Netflix when engaged, and these chalk-wielding robots that inscribed live tweets from viewers of the Tour de France onto the course for the racers to see.

So by now you may be asking: Who comes up with this stuff? Who/what is Deeplocal?

We’ll let Martin explain.

“Deeplocal is a creative agency, engineering firm, and design studio all in one,” Martin said. “We make inventions as marketing to help the world’s most loved brands tell their stories. Every idea is rooted in strategic insights about our audience, the brand, and culture. From there, a small team of people from different backgrounds dream up ideas that meet a client’s goals.”

Deeplocal’s clients include Google, Spotify, Netflix, Airbnb, Lyft, Nike and Hulu.

Martin added: “Our processes at Deeplocal are loose; we believe in hiring problem solvers and encouraging them to find solutions by way of the most efficient path—which changes with every challenge. Then there are instances where we create things for fun, without a client.

“Blitzen was like that. Matthew had an idea, he shared it with some people when he was back in the office, and we all loved it. It wasn’t long before it was made into something real. […]

“One of the questions we always ask ourselves when evaluating our ideas is: ‘what’s the press headline.’ If we can’t write it in a really compelling, novel way in a succinct sentence, it’s probably not there yet.”

Deeplocal, an entrepreneurial spinoff from Carnegie Mellon University, describes itself as an innovation studio that “creates love stories between brands and people with ideas born out of culture.” In short, its focus isn’t on selling products, but rather on creating products and experiences to build brand loyalty. Deeplocal was one of Ad Age’s Small Agency winners in 2016. The company currently has a lab in the Strip District but is planning to relocate to Sharpsburg.