Run The Jewels pic courtesy of Collective Arts.
Robin LeBlanc: Ooh la la, ah oui oui!
Jordan St.John: And a Franglophonic good morning to you too, Robin. What’s with the sudden Gallic bent?
RL: Ah no, I’m sorry, that was a reference to a Run the Jewels song and I was just reacting to their recent collaboration beer with Collective Arts. It’s called Get It Dry-Hopped Blonde Ale.
JS: Well, I clearly don’t get it. I thought Run the Jewels was one of those pattern matching games.
RL: They’re a legit hip hop duo and it’s fun to see them doing a collaboration beer with the brewery. I always enjoy seeing these collabs pop up, particularly if it’s with a celebrity. It’s like a bit of pop culture entering the beer world.
JS: Are you suggesting that in 2022, Craft Beer is not part of the pop cultural zeitgeist in a formative and influential way? Because I’d have to agree with you on that one. Craft Beer is about as hot as Charlie, the southernmost penguin.
RL: Now you know that I love Charlie as if he were my own son, but I’m not sure that I’d go that far. I would say that in this age where there are just so many breweries it’s really hard to stick out and sometimes a bit of the ‘ol celebrity boost can really help, you know?
JS: I agree. We’ve seen it time and again. Spearhead has Sam Roberts. Henderson has RUSH. It adds a little pizzazz and brings eyes to the product that might not otherwise be there.
RL: That’s right. And there’s a number of good things about it. A while back I was writing a piece about collaborations and talked to the folks over at Big Rock and Henderson about their beers which collaborated with the Tragically Hip and Rush respectively. Big Rock was telling me about how enjoyable it was to see both the brewery and the band pool their resources through social media and get access to fanbases neither may have had. Henderson agreed, but this was backed up by numbers. Within a month of their launch of the RUSH beer they saw a 105.2% increase in revenue compared to the previous year. Those aren’t little league numbers.
JS: Wow. They’re really moving pitchers in YYZ with that RUSH beer. I’ll show myself out.
RL: Any closer to the heart and that joke would have killed me, Jordan.
But really, I know a lot of the time collaborations can look a little gimmicky, but they do have some good numbers to back them up if they’re a celebrity and otherwise they’re actually…pretty fun. Remember fun, Jordan?
JS: It says here: Fun. Noun. A State of Ebullient Joy Experienced Prior To The Internet.
RL: Come on, you know what I mean. It can be a neat thing.
JS: It sort of depends. Sometimes you’ll get charitable collaborations where some worthy cause is the beneficiary of the effort. I like those a lot. The celebrity ones are mostly good for publicity, but even in the case of celebrity involvement, there’s sometimes a charitable aspect. I don’t think we’d have gotten a Margaret Atwood beer if there hadn’t been a Pelee Island Bird Observatory angle. Many’s the Piping Plover that was encouraged to continue Plovering by that effort. Or maybe they pipe. I’ve forgotten.
RL: They pip, I believe. But yeah, the charity collabs are the ones I like best, since it’s a chance for beer to sort of put their money where their mouth is with all the talk of being a part of the community. And plus helping people just feels good.
JS: There are collabs I feel less good about. In my experience if it’s just two breweries getting together to blow the cobwebs off the Kveik ring, that means that they’re using the collab as an excuse to get together and drink beer. Typically, with those ones any beer from either brewery will be better than the collaboration effort.
RL: I guess, but even those can be fun and especially the past two years when everyone was pretty much indoors most of the time it’s good to see brewers hanging out together again.
But you’re right, it’s the charity ones that are nice. Even if it’s a silly beer, it’s going to a good cause.
JS: Hey! What’s that shiny object in your back pocket, Robin?! Is it… a segue?
RL: Oh this thing? I’m afraid it’s not a segue, but it IS a shameless plug. Remember when we did that collaboration beer with Rorschach Brewing?
JS: How could I ever forget? That was the day I first drank the Haterade.
RL: It was and you had the purple one. But yes! The beer just came out. It’s called Fancy Lads Lemon Sherbet IPA and 25 cents of every can and pint sold goes to Story Planet, a nonprofit organization in Toronto dedicated to amplifying the voices of children and young people in equity-seeking communities through writing, art, and performance!
Also the label has a little fancy lemon lad on it.
JS: So it tastes good. We’re doing good. And we have the same number of collaboration beers as Alex Lifeson. But why on earth should anyone think that we know what we’re talking about when it comes to beer? How did this come to pass, anyway?
RL: Well, initially Fancy Lads was a fake brewery I made up for podcast ads and then you and I were talking a while back and decided that we wanted to help the world out there. We’re good beer people, so why not do some good? Hence the birth of the actual Fancy Lads. And honestly Story Planet is an organization that I really care about. Nowadays this world has gotten a little too real and we all need a creative outlet to escape, but especially children.
Thankfully Matthew Reiner over at Rorschach loved the idea and we got to it. The rest is… well, it’s good beer.
JS: So you’re saying that we, out of the goodness of our own hearts, decided to use our position to benefit other people because we thought it was our current highest and best use? Just old fashioned do-goodery?
If that’s the way we’re going, it’s no wonder Craft Beer isn’t part of the pop cultural zeitgeist in 2022.
RL: Well, it’s no yelling on the internet, for sure, but hey, sometimes doing a good thing and collaborating with good people can be… good?
JS: And why not? It’s a good excuse to have a hang out and not look at twitter for as many as four consecutive hours. I just hope people like the great taste of Fancy Lads.
Maybe someday we’ll have our own ice cream flavour.
RL: Hey, maybe. Anyways, it’s your round.
JS: I might have one of them Henderson beers, if they make a By-Tor and the Snow Dog Cold IPA