Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beer Label Art May 2012

Just wanted to shoot out a quick update on some great label art created by Eric Boyd and Chelsea Leber. We needed to get some art together for our last few beers before this weekend, and they did not disappoint. 

This weekend will be Brick Alley Brewing's first advertising of 2012. We will be sponsoring Miss Greater Juniata Valley, Amanda Pope, during the 2012 Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship Pageant. 

We will also be donating some craft beer essentials as well as a 6 pack of our craft beer. The items will be raffled for charity. 

Just for all of you keeping score, we've successfully locked down 9 recipes in less than 1 year. 

Also, we'd like to get your input again. Take a quick second and vote on all of the label art for the beers that will be raffled off next week.  The earlier labels are a few posts back, so check out those labels that were created by Sarah Kane. 

Labels and Beer descriptions below!

Thanks to Eric Boyd, Chelsea Leber, and Sarah Kane for designing the label art for the beers that will be donated for the charity raffle.

Trolley 68 Tripel (Belgian Tripel - ? ABV)

After a few hoppy recipes, we wanted to tap into some old school styles and design a unique Belgian Tripel.  This tripel is brewed with 4 different malts, belgian candi, and lightly hopped with Saaz, Hallertauer, and Fuggles hops. So where does the name come from? 68 was the number of the Trolley that used to run from McKeesport to Pittsburgh back in the early 1940's and 50's. We wanted to honor the history of the old street car era with a classic belgian tripel style. Another reason for the street car/trolley theme came from Josh. He's been on the trolley bandwagon for the last few brews so I feel like the name and the beer were made for each other. 

Sh*t Hoppins (Belgian IPA - 7% ABV)

As the famous saying goes,"Shit Happens." That's pretty much all you can say after someone drops a 6 gallon carboy full of beer. We'll never know what that first batch of the Belgian IPA would of tasted like, but judging by the 2nd, it would of been a great beer. The name of this beer doesn't have a unique historical significance, but it does follow in the foot steps of our other satirical names we've used for IPA's.  This Belgian IPA is a darker deep amber that is hopped with Warrior, Columbus, Simcoe, Cascade, and Challenger hops. Just for good measure we dry hopped this beer with Citra for about 14 days. So in the end, the Shit part of the name covers the drop (RIP), and the Hoppins covers the 6 varieties used to hop this beer. 

Bawdy House Red (American Amber Ale - 7% ABV)

You might be asking yourself, "What does it mean?" Well, nobody really knows what it means, but it gets the people going. Had to do it, sorry. A Bawdy House is an old school word for a brothel or house of prostitution. So....why would you name a beer after that. Two reasons: the beer is an amber ale (reddish in color), which is a play on the "red light district". The second reason is the name sticks with the Brick Alley theme of McKeesport. We decided to honor the old red light district with a beer named after the brothels that once lined the alley. If you look up old newspaper articles on McKeesport in the 1940's, they talk about the raids and corruption of the old "bawdy houses" on Brick Alley. Nothing better than a little bit of prostitution history while enjoying a great beer. This beer follows the basic malt and color blueprint for an American Amber Ale, but is hopped up for great bitter finish. This beer will be ready to be bottled and enjoyed in about a week.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Our B(rand)eer tells a story...

Beer and Branding - 2 very different words that, to me, come together more than ever in the craft beer industry. This is an industry that is built on quality, taste, uniqueness, and history. So why are some craft breweries naming some of their highest quality beers generic names like...Lager or IPA? Am I going to try the (insert generic name here) Amber Ale or a Bawdy House Red Amber Ale created and named after the bawdy houses that lined the red light district in McKeesport? I'm going to try the beer that has a more intriguing name and a story behind it. After all, breweries represent the town they are in and the people they serve.

Example. Even though Shur Fine Ketchup is cheaper than Heinz Ketchup, and made with almost the same ingredients, which Ketchup do you buy? You buy Heinz every time because of the history of the brand and the quality it represents. There's a story behind Heinz ketchup and they put it right on the bottle. Why aren't more craft breweries putting more thought into the "brand" they represent? Why are we naming beers generic names?

Think about this for a second: Craft Breweries are small versions of Proctor and Gamble. They sell many different brands, each brand's survival based on success and sales. Do you know why P&G is so successful? It's because of their excellent branding strategies. P&G sales 5 different brands of laundry detergent. All of the brands are priced to various target markets and every brand they sell has a net profit of over 1 billion dollars in sales annually. You go into Walmart and ponder which "brand" of laundry detergent to buy. Chances are, you picked one that fits your budget, and fits your needs, based on the brand. There's also a really good chance that the brands you were comparing were all owned by P&G. So, what I'm trying to say is, P&G doesn't make billions of dollars by naming their detergents Brand A, Clear Detergent, Value Brand, Cheap but Works, and Fresh Good Smell Brand. They sell that much detergent without cannibalizing sales of the other brands by their unique branding strategies. Just like P&G, breweries represent many "brands" even though they brew all of them. You have to name them and brand them accordingly. People are "shopping" for a brand when they are buying your beer.

The same goes for your local/hometown brewpub or microbrewery. These breweries represent the towns they are in. They represent the people that work there and the patrons that enjoy their beers. People want something they can connect to. They want something that represents their style, personality, and hometown. People connect to family, history, and the foundations they were brought up with. 

This is what Brick Alley Brewing represents. Even in it's home brewing infancy, the brand represents history, good and bad. There's a story behind what we brew and why we brew it. The beer not only represents the style you can find it under in the BJCP style guide, but it represents the history of a city that once was one of the back bones of the United States. The beer is named for places, people, and things that aren't physically there anymore. These beers don't represent tangible things, but they represent the history of what these things and places once represented. They represent stories and values that our parents and grandparents lived through and passed on to us. The ingredients, color, and name of our beers represent what you taste, and what you think about when you try that beer. 

Everyone's got a story, you have to make sure people want to read, or in this case, drink your story.