Most of the time, Nick Piscotty makes it a point to catch as many of big brother Stephen’s at-bats as possible. But this season, Nick had to follow more of the St. Louis Cardinals games by phone and box score as he was busy working on his new invention–The Beer Bit.
“It’s essentially a whiskey stone for craft beers,” described Piscotty. “There’s been stainless steel whiskey stones around for decades, a lot of people use them but really what I’m trying to do is I’ve made different beer bits–each one is designed to keep a specific category of craft beer at it’s ideal temperature from start to finish.”
Speaking with various brewmasters and learning the ideal temperatures of the various craft offerings was the easy part. Determining the different bit sizes required to manipulate each temperature took a lot more research.
“That was quite a challenging process,” said Piscotty, who also admitted it had some fun to the research. “You’re testing with a thermometer and you’re trying different prototypes to see which ones are working well, so you get to drink some beer.”
“There’s a very, very big difference–especially when you get down to that last third or so of your beer and that beer’s been sitting for fifteen or twenty minutes. That beer is warmed up to pretty close to room temperature. That’s really what I pride myself in, being able to control the temperature from start to finish.”
“I probably was his biggest critic for the longest time, to be honest with you,” said Stephen. “He’s come a long way from where it started–he was using kind of like a plastic device to get it to work. It’s just come a long way and I like to think that my criticisms may have steered him in the right direction. Huge testament to him for dealing with those and that’s one thing I think’s really important. He’s come a long way, it’s really cool…it’s fun to watch. We’re proud of him and I hope it goes well.”
The brothers being competitive and pushing each other is nothing new as Nick, who went on to be a varsity pitcher at Duke, regularly took to the backyard mound to face Stephen and their other brother, Austin.
“They were great battles,” said Piscotty. “Stephen and I, we’d go at it kind of until the sun went down or dinner was ready. He’d use some those souvenir bats that are maybe only a little more than a foot long and I’d be spinning breaking balls with a tennis ball from maybe 45 feet away.”
“Yeah, I had the souvenir bats,” echoed Stephen. “I think that’s what kind of made me a good hitter. I give my brothers a lot of credit for where I am today just based on that competitiveness that we had. A lot of fun. We weren’t allowed video games as kids, so we’d go outside in the backyard for hours and hours.”
“He was the best player in town, so if I could get him out–he’s two years older than me and the best competition I could basically face,” continued Nick. “So I was always eager to be competing against him and it definitely made myself a lot better and then he had a lot of experience facing curveballs–that was always really my pitch.
And his big brother wasn’t the only future Major Leaguer to fall victim to Nick’s 12-to-6 hook.
“I faced Bryce Harper down in LA one time,” shared Piscotty. “It was actually a few weeks after his Sports Illustrated article/cover came out. I knew I was going to pitch against him and got him to go 0-4 and punched him out on a strikeout, curveball in the dirt, so I was pretty happy with that.”
And just as Stephen is proud of Nick’s success, the reverse also holds true.
“It’s been an incredible ride to see him climb through the minor league system and now it’s very surreal to see him playing in Major League stadiums,” said Nick. “It’s just crazy because you play a lot of those games in the backyard, Game 7 of the World Series–it’s really cool to see him doing so well for the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s been a lot of fun for myself and my entire family.”