Breweries Find Way to Mesh Rock ‘n’ Roll With Marketing

Creating a beer collaboration doesn’t always mean two breweries sitting down and hammering out the details and logistics of brewing a beer with both brewery’s names.

It can also mean such marketing opportunities as connecting with a longtime name in the music industry to help expand to fans inside and outside craft beer.

Such is the case for California’s Lost Coast Brewery, which released “Pennywiser” Session IPA to select Southern California stores, bars and restaurants this month.

A veteran punk band from Hermosa Beach that began in 1988, Pennywise has been known for doing things its own way and has remained true to its roots and its fans, which Lost Coast wanted to make sure to honor in the beer. Pennywiser is dry hopped with Cascade, Crystal, Chinook and Citra while hitting just 4.8 percent ABV.

“It was definitely intentional to have a lower ABV beer so that fans could drink more than one,” said Mike Menza. “As far as inviting new craft beer drinkers in, that is probably just a natural effect to the quality of the product and influence that Pennywise has had on the music scene.”

The association with Pennywise came by way of the brewery reaching out to the band and asking if it had interest in doing a beer.

“They said it had been a goal they’ve had for a long time and the timing was right,” Menza said.

Collaborating with a band that has a global following allowed Lost Coast Brewery to get some added attention in the marketplace, noted Briar Bush, the International Sales management for Lost Coast.

The idea was a long term work in progress and while the brewery was aware of other collaborations, it didn’t have much influence on the direction of this particular project.

“We’ve been playing around with a few IPAs and I was told our session IPA was the result of several tastings conducted with the band to find out their preference,” Bush said. “They picked a winner.”

For Butternuts Beer & Ale in New York, it was a welcome collaboration with band Anthrax in a release earlier this year, “Wardance” Pale Ale.

“I’ve been a fan since I was a teenager and never would have thought of working with them,” said Chuck Williamson, who worked on the beer with the band as long ago as December of 2015 before getting the beer in cans earlier this year.

The name of the beer was based off the band’s song “Indians.”

Through conversation and concepts and samplings with the band in mid-September of 2016, the band green lit the brew and it had its official debut in March.

“We are not a large national brewery, we can’t go into markets because of our infrastructure,” Williamson noted. “It’s symbolic to how Anthrax came onto the scene when they were building their name. They understand what it means to working with a small operations and nurturing that process. We are in the same process, we are still small after 10 years. We still hand deliver a message to our users. It’s a building block process.

“We don’t want to throw the product out there, we want to establish with key accounts that will support the brand and the band can also support. It’s a very calculated.”

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