Miller Beer may have announced its plans to do so several years ago, but now someone else is actually going through with it ... releasing a beverage in a self-chilling can, that is. At the end of the first quarter of this year, Joseph Company International will be launching its West Coast Chill all-natural energy drink, which will come in the company's patented Chill Can. When buyers press a tab on the can, the temperature of the liquid inside will decrease by 30ºF within three minutes.

The Chill Can itself has reportedly been in development for over 18 years. Pepsi Cola was set to use the technology in 1998, but had to change its plans when an environmental concern cropped up - the cans utilized HFC134A, a greenhouse gas-contributing refrigerant in the Tetrafluoroethane family. After another 12 years back on the drawing board, the harmful refrigerant was replaced with activated carbon derived from organic renewable vegetable materials, and carbon dioxide reclaimed from the atmosphere.

Although details on the workings of the technology haven't been publicly released, the cooling process doesn't require any energy source, and is said to be environmentally innocuous. It should also be noted that the Chill Can is not related to the I.C. Can, which is what Miller was planning to use for its beer.

The first cans of West Coast Chill should start showing up at selected stores in Southern California and Las Vegas, at a price of US$2.95 each. Recycle bins will also be provided, so that the cooling mechanisms can be reused.