Frederick, MD – Brewer’s Alley fully unveiled the promotional rebranding of its seasonal craft beer line with the late January release of “Opera House Pale Ale.” The “assertively hopped pale ale with a note of caramel” is introduced by the newly created Brewer’s Alley Girl, a vivacious, 20-something year old, blonde, illustrated in the style of a 1940s pinup, and will do so with future beer releases.
Phil Bowers, who owns the Frederick, MD brewpub and began retailing his beer in Maryland several years ago, says the rebranding effort was several years in the making. “We wanted to draw upon the creativity and innocence of beer advertising of the 1930s and 1940s when small regional breweries were in their heyday. We also wanted a concept and look that would have equal appeal among men and women,” said Bowers, who noted that women now constitute 50% of all craft beer consumers.
During one of innumerable brainstorming sessions at the brewpub, a female patron overheard Bowers and his staff discussing the rebranding issue and suggested the use of a pinup.
Everyone loved the idea – but not without some reinvention. “Pinups of the 30s, 40s and 50s were beautiful but often depicted as helpless and none too bright,” he says. “We nixed that stereotype and decided that the Brewer’s Alley Girl would be liberated, self-sufficient, smart, and have a great sense of humor,” Bowers said. “You’ll laugh with her – but never at her, and you can count on her to outsmart anyone in the room. That’s the difference between the vintage depiction and ours.”
With concept and basic physical characteristics decided, the designers at Think Baseline conjured up the imaginary personality, first partially seen in Spring 2012 on the beer label and carrier of “Wedding Alt,” as a bride running off the side of the packaging, her face unseen, on a background of teal and gold. The packaging proved intriguing to consumers, was the toast of many regional summer weddings, and a favorite among 2012 ADDY Award judges.
The Brewer’s Alley Girl now makes her full debut on the stage of the former Frederick City Opera House, which was once actually housed within the same historic building as the brewpub. Constructed as Frederick City Hall in 1873, the massive, three-story Italianate building originally quartered municipal offices, a farmer’s market and a 1,500-seat opera house (at one time the largest in Maryland) where national acts and local groups entertained audiences for some 50 years. “Amateur plays, operettas and concerts produced by local residents were a staple at the Opera House,” noted Bowers, who recently learned of his own relatives’ participation in productions there in the early to mid 20th century.
As seen on the Opera House Pale Ale carrier, the Brewer’s Alley Girl is depicted as a chorus member in a local production of a Wagner opera, complete with a horned helmet, shield, and gold breastplate, taking one last comic turn before her imminent departure from the stage. “We think people will look forward to her latest adventure with every release.”
As stellar as she is, Bowers says the Brewer’s Alley Girl doesn’t steal the show from brewmaster, Tom Flores’ “Opera House Pale Ale,” which has been a favorite seasonal beer among brewpub patrons for several years. While as flavorful as Brewer’s Alley’s internationally award-winning “India Pale Ale,” “Opera House Pale Ale” is less bitter and has a clean, dry finish and abundant hop aroma. Opera House Pale Ale has a relatively low alcohol strength (5.4% alcohol by volume), pairs well with spicy entrées or can stand alone as a session beer.
“Opera House Pale Ale” joins Brewer’s Alley’s “India Pale Ale,” “Kölsch,” “Pilsner,” “Wedding Alt” and “1634 Ale” in spirit shops throughout the state of Maryland and can be purchased nationally through www.beerjobbers.com. Brewer’s Alley is located at 124 N. Market Street in Frederick, MD. For more information, visit brewers-alley.com or call 301-631-0089.