How Smartmouth Got Wise with Viral Sensation Release

In a few weeks, Smartmouth will be swimming in cereal beer again. What started as a heartfelt gesture became a viral sensation in 2019 and the brewery is returning for a fourth year with its Saturday Morning IPA, an homage to kid’s cereal that has been popular for decades.

The beer started because head brewer Jimmy Loughran’s wife loved the marshmallows from Lucky Charms so as a token of his love he made her a bag of only marshmallows from the cereal bag. That spawned an idea in the fall of 2018 and the brewery planned for a release in March of 2019. It was quickly picked up by media outlets when word of the beer was about to be released but due to a smaller batch run and the promise of cans to distro along with a limited supply of the beer at the brewery, it was gone quickly. They ramped up production for the 2020 release, which did well but then hit a snag in a bigger release party because of the pandemic in 2021.

Because of the way the brewery had to release the beer by spacing out pick-up times last year, it is set to have a more balanced approach to the release thanks to the need for online ordering.

“We don’t want it to sit on a grocery store shelf. If we can sell out of it, we’d rather sell out of it than send a lot to the distributors and have it sit there for a couple weeks,” said co-founder Chris Neikirk. She explained to Brewer that pre-sale orders have been announced to start on Wednesday, February 23.

“The second year, we were able to prepare much better for it and work with the distributors and then figure out how they’re going to do it in the tasting room,” she said. “Then last year was COVID. We didn’t want to have the crowd show up and people waiting in line. So we set up the pre-order system, which worked really well. We still had a limited amount of beer, but at least we didn’t have the crowd show up.

“We allowed people to order it. And then they could set a time when they actually wanted to come to pick up the beer throughout the weekend, which worked really well.”

Other than working with General Mills to avoid any copyright issues by changing the color of the original label from red to green and adjusting a slogan from “magically ridiculous” to “nostalgically ridiculous,” Saturday Morning has been a hit and helped spawn some counterparts. Along with Saturday Morning IPA, the brewery is adding three other brands to the release including Caveman Confetti Fruited Gose and Sticky Bricks Blonde Ale in cans and a 500mL bottle of Saturday Night Stout.

The brewery has embraced homages to pop culture more because of the success of Saturday Morning.

“We did one that was called Zoinks! and it had a Scooby-Doo dog on it,” Neikirk said. “We got a lot of interest from collectors around the country after we did that. So there’s been little things like that, but I think there are so many brewers that do creative things.

“You think you stumbled on something that’s really unique but there are 20 other beers that have already been done that are just like. It’s neat and frustrating at the same time. Everybody’s kind of smart and creative. It is fun to try to find something that’s a little bit different. And still a little bit fun.”

Because of changes to ordering cans, the brewery has opted to switch to shrink wrap packaging for its core lineup while monthly releases — something like the Caveman Confetti & Sticky Bricks lines — will be stickered labels.

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