Arkansas’s Bike Rack Brewing Co. has always been focused on helping to promote local artists as many breweries do, but according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat, the brewery is going one step further and starting its own record label.
“We decided to get out of the ‘stick the artist in the corner’ for background music concept,” said Jerad Sears, Bike Rack’s event curator and community ambassador. Sears coordinates entertainment for the brewery, from musicians to bean bag tournaments.
Bike Rack’s first recording, in vinyl, is set to be released in early November. It will feature 10 local artists including Brother Moses, Jamie Lou and The Hullabaloo and Smokey & The Mirror. The recording is being done at Haxton Roads Studio and Ozark Collective is filming a documentary on the new label. Both outfits are based in Bentonville.
What’s even wilder is they aren’t the first craft brewery to launch a record label. Anyway, we thought that was cool, plus we are fresh off our latest music festival trip and, well, it got us thinking about all of the other great collaborations between breweries and the music industry. Here are our seven favorite examples.
Earlier this year, Schlafly Beer released a limited edition Pilsner 12-pack with a record affixed to the front. Inside that 12-pack will was a voucher for $5 off of any vinyl at local participating record stores across Schlafly’s distribution. Founding Brewer Stephen Hale explained, “Pilsner was one of the first beers that we brewed in 1991, so I’m glad the classic style has come back into favor. I’m equally as thrilled that vinyl has received a new appreciation in the last few years.”
U.S. vinyl album sales hit a Nielsen Music-era record high (14.32 million; up 9 percent) in 2017, and Schlafly Beer, like CBB, sees the correlation between craft beer drinkers and vinyl shoppers.
“We support the independent record store, and we hope this fun pack encourages people to do the same. Grab a Pilsner, put on your favorite record and relax … sounds like the perfect day to me!” Hale said.
A partnership between Dogfish Head Brewery and Crosley Radio, a leading audio brand that’s been around since the 1920s, formed last year which included a 29-city mobile record store tour leading up to the 10th annual Record Store Day.
“The partnership between Crosley and Dogfish seems entirely organic. We’re both independently-owned companies with an affinity for all things local and a love for the two greatest things in the world: beer and music,” said Director of Marketing for Crosley Radio, Jason Menard. “We’re excited to begin working collaboratively with Dogfish Head to share our passions and our products with so many communities across the nation.”
In 2016, Crosley Radio launched its mobile record store, the Crosley Cruiser, housed inside a one-of-a-kind, 20-ft box truck. This year, the truck will be re-wrapped in Dogfish Head and Crosley branding for the entirety of 2017. The rolling record store was equipped with mobile charging stations, multiple listening stations, comfortable seating and a hand-crafted Crosley Rocket Jukebox.
This whole post could have been Dogfish Head news, really, but we’ll limit it to these two. For Record Store Day this year, along with the limited edition 7 in. release, Dogfish and The Flaming Lips unleashed 100 translucent records filled with the actual Dragons & YumYums beer. Calagione shared, “As a raging beer geek with a music problem, I’m especially excited to enjoy a pint of Dragons & YumYums while spinning a beer-filled record from the Lips.”
Since 2009, Ninkasi Brewing has supported artists including music production, engineering and recording from iterations of the brewery’s in-house recordings studio, album pressing sponsorships, assistance in tours and bookings and opportunities to showcase their music at Ninkasi signature events. In 2015 it officially opened its own recording studio and released its first EP.
“Coming from a 20-year career in both recording and touring in music before craft beer, it’s rewarding to be able to help new artists reach their aspirations and help them navigate some of the chasms we had to cross without the support of sponsors,” Ninkasi marketing director James Book explained. “The opening of Ninkasi Studios will enable us to support up-and-coming artists at no cost to them.”
Packaging expert Crown and Fort George Brewery a pushed out seasonal brew called Tender Loving Empire NWPA (Northwest Pale Ale) packaged in cans from Crown Beverage Packaging North America. The Astoria, Ore.-based Fort George Brewery was helping to promote Tender Loving Empire, a consignment shop, screen printer and record label representing artists in the region, using the unique aluminum medium.
Tender Loving Empire designer Andrew Sloan collaborated with Josh Berger of PLAZM design for the NWPA “Wooden Sunset” can, using various wooden elements combined to look like a coastal sunset. The cans also feature a sticker with a special code for free downloads of music from artists on the Tender Loving Empire label. The partnership takes one step further with the production of four music videos that were filmed on the Columbia River from Portland all the way to around the canning line itself. The NWPA music video series can be viewed online at Fort George Brewery Tender Loving Empire Videos.
Not quite in the same spirit as the other selections, but certainly the most useful for you. Breweries run into issues with music licensing, and to help, the Brewers Association formed a partnership with Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), a global leader in rights management, that introduced a music licensing discount program to benefit all voting members. With the discount program, BA members can swing a decent 10 percent off their BMI music licensing fees. When combined with the 10 percent timely payment discount already included in the Eating & Drinking establishment (EDE) license, BA members can save up to 20 percent, making an approachable fee to comply with copyright laws.
SweetWater Brewing knows how to party. We took the trip to Atlanta to enjoy the three-day music festival that SweetWater hosts every year known as 420Fest. There are obvious things that are cool about this right off the bat — tough to beat a big party that celebrates music, beer and herbal refreshments. But here are three things that stood out to us the most.