Pull a message out of Magic Hat
John McCain or Barack Obama — who do you want to be your next president?
Alan Newman, founder and Conductor of Cosmic Symphonies for the Magic Hat Brewery of South Burlington, Vt., does not care who you vote for, but he wants you to get out and vote.
“For a lot of us, the election this year, it has really sparked the interest of a lot of people,” Newman said.
To help that interest grow, Magic Hat has joined up with the Web site headcount.org to encourage people to register to vote.
And, to help drum up even more attention, Magic Hat has released the Participation Lager, which is part of its Participation mixed 12-pack out in stores now.
“We’re playing with a lot of different lagers nowadays,” said Newman. “We’re trying to figure out what we like about lagers. The Participation Lager is an opportunity to introduce people who don’t usually drink craft beer; to introduce them to real craft beers.”
Each bottle of the Participation Lager displays the headcount.org Web address and a message about voting.
Magic Hat has been involved in getting people to vote for more than a decade. Newman said the brewery got involved because there was a “neo-prohibitionist” movement in the country.
To get the message out, Magic Hat representatives hit the local bars.
“Bars and taverns they used to be the gathering places where our founding fathers went to write all the documents and had political debates. People said, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ The more people who said it was stupid made me want to try it more.”
When Magic Hat started the effort, they only went to four bars in Burlington, but it was successful.
“Three things happened the first was people showed up, and that was a big surprise. We were greeted by crowds,” said Newman. “The second was that the people who came were clearly interested, and they were participating in the conversation.
“The third thing, which really shocked me, was when the events ended, people stayed and they continued the conversation on their own.”
In the past couple of years, Magic Hat has worked with organizations such as headcount.org to further spread the message – brewery representatives will often go to events and register people to vote at the bars.
Newman himself is traveling around the country to attend events.
Although Magic Hat has a fun-loving attitude, and a lot of people call them hippies, social messages have always been a part of the plans, Newman said.
“Take a look at my background this is probably my fifth business, and almost every one of them had some sort of social agenda,” he said. “That’s one of the things I was looking to do: How do you combine beer and a social agenda?”
Another program for which Magic Hat garnered a lot of attention was its condom program, which also provided AIDS education and awareness.
Brewery employees would pass out Magic Hat condoms at events.
“People would say, ‘What the hell would a beer company (say) about AIDS awareness,”‘ said Newman. “We try to do it in a way that is light and fun. We don’t say don’t have sex – people are going to have sex – but we want to keep you alive. We just want to say, ‘If you’re going to go trucking with someone, here’s a condom.”‘
Magic Hat beers are hugely popular. Each mixed 12-pack includes its flagship beer, Number 9, an apricot-flavored beer, and Circus Boy, a wheat ale.
Then there are two speciality beers. For example, the current mix pack has the Prohibition Lager and Jink, a Scottish ale.
The next mixed pack will have Roxy Rolles, a hoppy amber ale, and the Braggot, an historical style of beer.
Magic Hat is one of those brands almost anyone who drinks better beer would enjoy on a regular basis because it is so widely available.
Newman said he enjoys being able to combine his love of beer and helping the community into one venture.
“It’s a way to positively impact our community and, at the same time, we’re selling beer,” he said.
Magic Hat’s beers are available at nearly every liquor store around MetroWest and the Milford area.