How Living The Dream’s Top Seller is a Backdrop for Multiple Varieties

The top seller for Littleton, Colorado’s Living The Dream Brewing, Powder Run Cream Ale has been a flagship brand for years. Yet, beer buyers and consumers are constantly clamoring for new brands and new flavors, so owner Jason Bell and his team formulated a response to help decrease a gluttony of “one-and-done” brands while staying true to the company’s direction of having approachable beer for all kind of customers.

“We have kind of a philosophy of we’re not trying to be the most hyped brewery,” he said. “I really feel that as much as those breweries do great — they make great beer and I like to drink them — that really intense beer customer, while they’re local and they’re loyal to try things, they are a very small part of the market.

“Our goal, especially if you look at where we’re at in Denver — we’re in the suburbs — and looking at our market, my goal was to create really good beers that have appeal. We felt that part of the market was a little bit still open to opportunity. And so far, so good. It’s proven to be correct.”

Taking Powder Run and developing it into a series of flavors that are based on other popular desserts or combos, like Mocha, Horchata, Tangerine, and Gingerbread, have helped continue sales of the overall brand while adding to the “what else can they do?” seekers.

READ MORE: Living The Dream Brewing Cans Horchata Powder Run Cream Ale

“People go into their favorite liquor store and they see a variation and the flavors of it, and the chances of them trying it [go up] because they trust [the brand],” Bell said. “If they trust the original beer, if we vary it a little bit instead of just changing it completely, I think there’s a little more opportunity for them to pull the trigger on buying it.”

The original brand of Powder Run is a Vanilla Cream Ale, made with pure vanilla extract. It’s the only extract used in LTD’s brands with Bell opting to use real ingredients instead of flavorings in any of the Powder Run lines.

The line started in the taproom as blended cuvees made by the bartenders, but the popularity and the pandemic moved some of the keg additions into cans as well.

“The first one we did was a Mountain Mocha,” Bell said. “My background was in food and beverage management, and I cooked for a number of years, so I’m always kind of flavor-driven.

“This [beer] is a great canvas to work with, instead of just trying to release a bunch of different beers. This seemed like a great vehicle to kind of have the marketing piece be coherent with the Powder Run itself, which was already doing well for us.”

Bell started with the idea that they were going to do four brands and make it a seasonal series.

“Because, the old ‘here are four seasonal beers’ is kind of gone,” he said. “It’s no longer really how things operate. It’s more ‘What have you done for me lately?’ But we thought this might be a way to do it. So we kind of rethought it and said we’re gonna probably come up with six or so that we think will rotate in cans, and then we just have the flexibility every six weeks or so to read the market a little bit.”

Along with recent releases, LTD is working on a Key Lime along with a Lemon Bar concept.

“We want to spend some time making sure that the beer’s where I want it in the flavor profiles,” bell said. “Also a Root Beer Float is what we’re working on. We’ll use the taproom as a testbed for some of these.”

Beyond the beer itself, Bell wanted to develop a label concept that lets the beer still be Powder Run but it’s very obvious it’s different as well.

For the most part, LTD creates 15-barrel batches of the brands, saving 30-barrel runs for production and canning.

“We have played with keg dosing, just to see if the flavors are going to work,” Bell said. “But once we come up with the concept … we can get a good feel for it, and dial it in a little bit if they need to. That’s why we don’t ever can the first batch. It doesn’t make any sense to put the effort and resources behind label design until we know it’s going to be worthy of the investment.”

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