​Two Beers, One Name, One Goal: Why Smog City & Alvarado St. Helped Connect People to Parks​

​Park Hopper is a new Hazy IPA done as ​a first-time collaboration between the ​Smog City and Alvarado Street breweries ​in cooperation with Parks California​. ​The trio began collaborating as fellow members of 1% for the Planet – a program which encourages businesses to donate 1% of sales to environmental causes via nonprofit partners.

The joint endeavor benefits Parks California’s Parks for Everyone initiative, which builds opportunities that give all people the opportunity to reap the benefits of connecting with the outdoors in a way that’s meaningful to them.​ Each brewery ​had a slightly different take on the beer in taste and composition, while the “Park Hopper” name remain​ed​ the same.​ The beer was released on August 6.

Aften Lee​, ​Brand ​& Retail Director​, Smog City Brewing Co.​ — Torrance, California & ​Brock Bill, Director of Social & Digital Media​, ​Alvarado Street Brewery — Monterey, California

​BREWER: ​How has bringing socially conscious pieces like this collaboration helped in creating a bond to your community?  
​LEE: ​At Smog City, we believe it is our responsibility as a company to find positive ways to impact our environment and local community now and for the future, so we decided to become 1% for the Planet members in 2017. Through supporting these nonprofits, we’ve been able to meet so many new members of our community that support the nonprofits and forge great partnerships and friendships. We’ve brewed beer with locally​ ​foraged ingredients one of our partners helped us find,; one of our most popular beers, Kumquat Saison, was born out of a partnership with a great organization called Food Forward here in LA, where we use excess fruit from neighborhood trees that would otherwise go to waste; and of course, Park Hopper Hazy IPA. Our 1% for the Planet projects really allow us to strengthen our bonds in an organic way both in the beer community and with nonprofit organizations who are making a big impact in the community through their work. We’re great at making beer, so we use our expertise to help raise funds and bring awareness to the amazing organizations we work with all while having fun and meeting amazing people.​
BILL: ​We feel that introducing our community to social and environmental non-profits like Parks California is our main goal. The Park Hopper collaboration highlights Parks California’s work to make our State Parks accessible to all people and help get people in the gorgeous environments that surround us here in California. Having a release event here in our Monterey Beer Garden with the members and friends of Parks California allowed our guests to come and learn about their missions and the opportunities they create for the public. Forming these types of relationships, in our eyes, is one of the most important aspects of being a part of the 1% For the Planet initiative and supporting non-profits and we hope it helps cultivate a better sense of environmental awareness and culture. 

​BREWER: How have you communicated the brewery’s view of the importance to local culture aspects and implemented them?
BILL: We love to design can labels that reflect our local culture as well as provide spaces for our locals to build communities at each of our brewpubs. Our main voice can be found on our ​Instagram and through our designs and photography, we strive to create a representation of Monterey County. At our brewpubs, we have held many events to support local nonprofits and clubs alike.​
LEE: ​There are only ​five​ other breweries in the state of California that have pledged to give 1% of their profits to environmentally-focused nonprofits through membership, regardless of how much beer we sell. We have the 1% logo on all of our cans and marketing materials, we have a web page dedicated to our membership and what it means to us, and before COVID, we hosted many events at our brewery to celebrate and highlight our nonprofit partners. This year we decided to make a brand new beer series called the “Community Impact Series,” which is all about giving our nonprofit partners a platform for getting their messages out to new people, getting new donors, and educating the community about the important work they are doing ​and​ how the community can help. The series consists of four beers total that are designed in partnership with our nonprofit partners and the artwork on each can will be unique to each organization’s mission. We also dedicate a large amount of our social media to the nonprofit as we lead up to their beer release in the series. Our latest release in the series was Park Hopper ​… ​and it was a huge hit! We are hoping to make the “Community Impact Series” an annual series.

​BREWER: ​What are the important marketing and advertising pieces that have been laid out for this campaign and how have they been planned to help be a success?
​LEE: ​​We included the Park Hopper Hazy IPA release in several of our newsletters leading up to the release. The inclusions focused on the beer and the work Parks California does. We also did a lot of social media marketing, which is the main way we market. We did a series of posts and stories leading up to the release to highlight Parks California, our partnership with Alvarado Street and the beer. In partnership with Alvarado Street, we also had a limited run of Park Hopper t-shirts made to sell with the release. We also ​hosted a Zoom tasting-meet-and-greet with Parks California and 1% for the Planet​.​
BILL: Our ​Instagram following and reach is our biggest advertising advantage and we highly utilize this route. We also know what sells in this market, and that is a delicious Hazy IPA. So Park Hopper was mapped out to be as such just like our other 1% For the Planet beers. On top of sending out an ​e​mail blast to our subscribers and press releases to local outlets, we pushed the story to our over 90​,000 followers on ​Instagram. We told the story of this collaboration through pictures of the beer in local state parks and presented them alongside info about Parks California. The beer is already sold out online and only has a few cases left at each location, so we are very proud of how this collaboration beer sold.

​Responses edited for brevity and clarity.​

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