Using National IPA Day to Promote, Educate and Design

It’s a style in name that has been around for more than 200 years, but the India Pale Ale really has come into its own in the craft beer industry, selling upwards of nearly 30 percent of all craft beer sales.

The first Thursday of August has been deemed National IPA Day and American craft breweries are rolling out the red carpet for the hoppy-forward brew this August 3.

“Celebrating a day in its honor is an awesome way to bring awareness to our craft,” said Karl Strauss Brewmaster Matt Johnson. “The style itself is very dynamic and offers a lot of opportunity in terms of sub-styles and variety — how you use the hops and where they come from really dictates the flavor profile of each brew.”

The San Diego brewery is honoring the occasion with a special release of Boat Shoes IPA and offering IPA flights and growler fill specials at all of the brewery’s brewpub locations and at the home base taproom. The same goes for many breweries who are finding ways to connect with consumers, possibly even new ones or those that have just dabbled in hoppier styles.

“IPA Day is a success because craft breweries collectively support it with special brews and programming, and our friends in beer media help us all get the word out,” said Sweetwater spokesperson Tucker Sarkisian, who noted that the Georgia brewery made an IPA with actor Michael Kelly, who plays Doug Stamper on the show House of Cards. “It’s great exposure for the industry and this popular style.”

IPAs have become the US beer style said Flying Fish founder Gene Muller.

“It’s almost like it’s now Mom, apple pie and IPAs,” he joked. “IPA Day is a great way to celebrate the style and draw interest to a new release like we’re doing with Jersey Juice IPA and to bring new and old customers into the tasting room.”

Paige Coyle, Payette Brewing‘s Marketing Director noted that the brewery uses the style as a canvas to express brewer’s artistic expressions.

“We get to take the style to new levels, experimenting with various ingredients and techniques,” she said. “It’s why we created our Another Round Small Batch IPA Series, to allow our brewers that opportunity to explore.

“Having a day designated to IPAs gives us, and breweries around the country, a chance to educate consumers and celebrate this very loved style.”

That canvas has even spread into the mixology world. Terrapin teamed with Cooper’s Craft, a Bourbon Whiskey producer from Kentucky, to create a beer cocktail to be served on National IPA Day called the Rusty Pail. Using its Session IPA RecreationalAle and the Bourbon is another marketing opportunity to craft drinkers in both realms.

“It’s a terrific opportunity to combine together to expand brand stories, while reaching new audiences that share a passion of true craftsmanship and of the making of quality, home-grown beverages,” said Heather Howell, the Director of Emerging Brands for Brown-Forman.

Beer cocktails are a great way to utilize a well designed and crafted ingredient like beer and present it in new way said James Zarzour, Regional Sales Manager for Terrapin. “Beer provides depth of flavors and carbonation level that adds unique twist to classic cocktails.”

Establishing relationships between sales representatives and bartenders, combined with proper education can help breweries expand on this. It can start at home even as breweries can work toward finding ways to upsell certain beers to establishments that are selling beer cocktails and helping direct sales toward specific recipes, like Terrapin has done with its IPA on this holiday.

“Having a beer rep be a part of the creative process with servers and bartenders is a great way to collaborate,” Zarzour said. “We know our flavors best, and the quality our product brings, and we can provide background information or details to assist in a bartender’s creation.”

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