How Paradox Matured its Branding for 10th Anniversary Celebration

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US. Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Paul and Joan Mrocka, founders of Paradox Brewery in North Hudson, New York — along with their team and staff — recently celebrated 10 years of business with an anniversary party on Saturday, July 29 with their loyal customers. 

“Paul actually wanted to start a first-wave brewery back in the late ’80s/early ’90s,” explained Director of Operations, Devon Hamilton. “His idea then was to go the brewpub route. Joan at this time was 100% against being in the food business so they shelved the idea. Fast forward to the 2010s and Paul and Joan have their house on Paradox Lake where Paul was homebrewing tons of beer and gaining some following amongst people hanging out on the lake. They got together a group of their nearest and dearest friends as investors and got the original location up and running in the summer of 2013. Hamilton noted that the buildout and paperwork started in 2011.

In addition to celebrating the anniversary, the brewery unveiled a new logo with a modern twist to reflect the company’s commitment to high-quality products, its state-of-the-art facility, and innovative process that the brewery is proud of.

BREWER: What makes you love and want to continue in being a part of the craft beer industry?
HAMILTON: It’s the excitement of keeping up with changing trends, customers, and dynamics in the industry. The past two years have been the toughest beer market in the past decade, we’re feeling the same pressures many other regional craft brewers are. What we’re doing that’s exciting though is making the changes we need to in order to hopefully bring some new customers into the segment and really put some deep thought into our go-to-market sales and marketing strategies. We recently partnered with some of the best consultancies in the business (Trampoline Design out of Glens Falls for Branding/PR and Bump Williams Consulting out of Connecticut for sales and retail strategy and training). Right out of the gate both of these outfits have been able to provide us with tangible benefits to make sure were still selling Paradox in another 10 years. 

BREWER: ​What have been some of the greatest accomplishments during the first 10 years for Paradox? How has it shaped what the company is today?
HAMILTON: There have been a lot. The biggest of which was probably completing the buildout of our new facility. We commissioned the brewhouse in October 2019 and opened the tasting room in March of 2020, we were fortunate to have two good weekends in that tasting room before COVID shut us (and everyone else) down. Other than that there are so many beers that we brewed, so many awards and so many good times at beer festivals I couldn’t begin to list everything. We were able to build out this new facility largely because of grocery and convenience store authorizations we were able to land early on. Our previous location couldn’t produce enough beer so we engaged in a contract brewing relationship with Two Roads. We brought that contracted capacity back in-house with the new facility but we still relentlessly pursue those large outlet authorizations/mandates whenever we can. This year, Spring resets were good to us, we were able to authorize several new 12-pack options which included some mix packs as well. 

BREWER: What have been some new challenges for the brewery have how have they helped push the company forward?
HAMILTON: I touched on this before when I talked about hiring Trampoline and Bump Williams Consulting, but it’s a tough market right now for craft brewers. When we started PDX there were about 2,500 breweries nationwide. That number has surged to over 10,000 now and New York State has the second most breweries of any other state (behind California). We had to embark on this rebrand because we were too heavily Adirondack-focused and not putting enough emphasis on the modern, high-tech, Lager-focused brewery. 

BREWER: What are some recent trends, be it in products or techniques, that you’ve tried or are excited about trying?
HAMILTON: Some of the things we’re doing this year and likely leaning more into next year is offering beers as seasonals. In the past, we were doing what a lot of other outfits were by turning and burning new beers all the time. Now that we have a dedicated sales staff those guys were asking for more opportunities to build permanent placements with the seasonals. These seasonal and rotating 12-pack offerings have been huge for us this year. We were a little slow on the draw with our summer seasonal The Great Kolsch Affair: Blood Orange. Had we been quicker we would have been able to run an unprecedented (for us) 90 barrels of that beer.  Also, the 12-packs and variety packs are really helping us out in the grocery and independent off-premise retailers. Our strategy will continue to evolve next year, we have had good luck with “growing down” our offerings figuring out how to brew a third-sized batches on our brewhouse for limited distribution and variety in the tasting room.

BREWER: ​Tell us about the new look and how this process came to be. What does this look do to help solidify what Paradox is now?
HAMILTON: We danced around the idea for a few months and part of this process was deciding on a very specific target market and making sure everything we are doing is with the intention of speaking to that demographic. Like I said before, we had a feeling we needed to get away from the Adirondack-style branding. We don’t need to scream about being in the Adirondacks because we’re here providing jobs for local folks every day, it’s already a part of who we are. What we do need to do is let everyone know that we are a high-tech, modern, purpose-built facility that’s cranking out world-class beer. Our new look reflects that and our new packaging designs will as well. We have really changed everything except the name Paradox Brewery. Our old logo is gone, our beer names are changing, as is our message. I do want to make sure everyone knows that the liquid in the can is the same thing you have come to love and expect out of us.

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