Things slowed to a halt these past couple of weeks on GBH, and that's because they reached a fever pitch on the business side of it all. We've been working our asses off to launch some new breweries, develop brands and storylines, and otherwise spend time with people we think will be the next major force in beer. This is what we do, after all. We serve beer.
Here's a look at what we've been up to lately. We'll be back on the editorial beat this month with some rad articles from Atlanta, Belgium, the Pacific Northwest, and right here at home in Chicago. We just needed to catch our collective breath.
This past Spring we got a new home in Logan Square, taking over the former Cards Against Humanity space. It’s here that business of Good Beer Hunting gets done, and special events are hosted for our biggest fans. We've also been hiring in a great team of talented folks on both the editorial and business side. It’s been a blast setting up our new home, and now we're inviting industry folks to make use of it — if you're in town on business or just need a place to get some work done, this is a great alternative to the hotel room or bar. And there's beer. Lots of beer. Hit us up.
We’ve been helping invent this East Bay brewery from before they even had a name. Unlike most 20-somethings starting up trendy nano operations around town, these lifelong friends have been homebrewing for longer than most people have legally been able to drink. I can’t wait to share the stunning visual brand and portfolio strategy we’ve developed with them, and get them into the market for your first taste in and around San Francisco with some incredible interpretations of classic styles. Look to late Spring.
A few months back, our boys in Indianapolis started an all-Brett brewery making a brett blonde, a brett pale and a host of fruited variations, including their new brett IIPA. They’ve since launched into Nashville, Louisville, and Chicago in short order, drawing on their domestic importing sales experience and finding audiences for these niche, but otherwise completely familiar beers. We developed their visual brand, brewed a collaboration brett pale recipe, and have been helping them get in touch with the right people ever since. Proud of our boys.
You’re going to see some new things coming out of Lemont, Illinois this year as we partnered with the team at Pollyanna to help them find their voice and design the upper shelf of their soon-coming barrel aged beers. Brewer Brian Pawola has been making some great stuff in their first year, and they just launched cans onto the market last month. Now GBH is going to help them build on that momentum. Watch for their anniversary party this October to see the first fruits of that labor.
We’ve been working alongside some of Goose Island's most creative people this whole summer to tell the entire history of Bourbon County Stout in a 9-part video series that took us into the rickhouses of Heaven Hill, the cooperages of Missouri, and the white oak forests of the Ozarks. It’s finally all coming to fruition and you’ll be seeing a recap of each adventure, and the videos, right here on GBH. And if you’re going to GABF, you might have a chance to see even more.
We launched a new experiment the past couple months with the aim of cutting out all that lackluster PR work that breweries are paying for, and focused on getting the story straight. Working with 5 Rabbit, we developed a series of narratives, created the content, and used our platform to gain awareness for the Chinga tu Pelo story with great results. It got picked up in international media and raised thousands of dollars for a latino cultural organization, and of course, we all drank a lot of beer. We have a few more stories coming your way before we officially launch the GBH Hype service, and we can’t wait to share it with breweries that deserve to have their stories heard.
For the first time ever, brewmaster Garrett Oliver joined the Brooklyn nationwide Mash Tour with a stop at GBH Studio for a live podcast recording and a tasting of rare “ghost bottles” from his personal collection. The night was a phenomenal opportunity to get to know Garrett and the Brooklyn team, and enjoy some great BBQ from local Butcher & Larder as well. It was the first time we fired up the new grilling the backyard and the party went on into the wee hours of the night.
This party is one of the biggest events in beer each year, and this year we were psyched to be part of it as the official photographers for the Chicago stop of the Tour de Fat. We captured the wackiness and the good times, and helped New Belgium tell the visual story of what makes this gathering so special. For a brewery of this size, sharing their culture and message is more critical than ever, and this year they raised over $30,000. ish.
Even on our days off we’re on the road. We spent a few days in Greensboro, camping at Hill Farmstead and spending time gathering perspectives on perhaps the thinnest market segment in craft beer. Often held up as the best beers in the world, but so often obscure and impossible to get your hands on, these beers are the driving force among US beer geeks. But more and more, I see a diverse audience seeking them out as the vocabulary, history, and vision for these kinds of beers spreads further.
They wanted to throw a big summer bash in North Carolina to rival their party back in Colorado, but things didn’t shape up they way they expected at first. When the law cracked down on the loosely-arranged festival and almost shut out out-of-state brewers, we were on hand to help create a solution that kept the party in tact. Proof that GBH isn’t just documenting craft culture — it’s helping shape it. And with a creative and nimble brewery like Oskar Blues, all things are possible.
Our main squeeze here in Chicago started an “Insiders Roundtable” live radio show Thursday nights from 8-10p on Lumpen Radio, which is then reposted as a podcast via iTunes and such. It’s been an interesting start, and a challenging format (I can say as someone who tries to wrangle multiple voices on our own podcast), but it’s quickly becoming one of the few things we’re waiting for each week. Haven’t missed a single one, and we’ve been invited on a couple episodes as well. Here's a picture of him riding a bike.
We joined the Chicago session of Brewbound to present our storytelling approach and how it builds brands. Then we hung around to help judge the Start-up Brewery Challenge. Now we’re off to Portland, Oregon this week to collaborate on some storytelling with Brewbound themselves, and the Craft Brewers Alliance, following the winner, Braxton Brewery from Kentucky, through the rest of the process where they’ll learn about warehousing, production, quality assessment, and branding. Stay tuned for and inside look.
There's a ton more still in development that we're excited to share this Fall. But for now, you should absolutely get your GBH fix through Instagram. When we're silent on the website, it's because we're tearing it up out there somewhere.