July 29, 2009

Beer Can of the Day: Anthem Branding for Upslope Brewing.

My ex-photographer Caroline Treadway ordered a keg of Upslope Brewing, a then-brand-new microbrewery, for my New Year’s Bash (literally: broken window, broken dishes) at Hotelephant, my eco-renovated Victorian in downtown Boulder, Colorado.

A few months later, a friend brought by a six-pack of Upslope. We drank it. That coulda woulda been the end of that…but I loved the design…and a can then lived on my upstairs craigslist-bought vintage nearly-thrown-out big ol’bathroom sink for a week, or weeks…until my g-f finally removed it. Why? I loved looking at it, made me feel cool (a feeling I rarely have).

Fewer design elements can equal more beauty. The can is like a bullet—all exposed metal—so cool I just wanted to keep looking it, chop its top off and put flowers in it or sumpin’.

I’ve never wanted to put off recycling something so badly in my life.

Then, today, recommending my good friends at anthembranding.com (who do all our tees and stickercards and organic totes) to my friends at Conscious Coffee (who were talking about making up a reusable coffee mug, while sitting at The Cup cafe in Boulder with Kevin and Jenny of Momentum), I looked up Anthem’s web site and saw, lo and behold, that my buds at Anthem were responsible for the killer Upslope design.

It’s always nice when friends of yours turn out to have done something you love, and you didn’t even know it was them when you fell in love with it.

Why Canned, not Bottled?

Upslope is reputed to be eco-minded. The blog entry, below, comes via their web site:

“So, why do you can your beer?” This question definitely ranks in the top ten that we hear.

Like a carton is to milk and a peel to an orange, the aluminum can has proven to be a natural package for beer. However, it took a while to figure out how to do it properly. Canned beer’s history is tainted with bad technology and little regard for the finished product.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the aluminum can in 2009, Bill Coors was interviewed by the Rocky Mountain news. He expressed his displeasure of the tin can as a beer container, citing the “lousy aftertaste” it left in their beer and the metal cans that littered the American landscape since they weren’t easily recycled. He turned his sights toward recycled aluminum. It was cheaper and more easily sterilized, eliminating the need to pasteurize the beer. Combine a visionary with the inventor of the chewing-gum scraper attached to a broom, and great things can happen. After years of refining the design, Ruben Hartmeister walked into Bill Coors office in 1959 with a crude aluminum can.

The short list of why Upslope Ales can only be found in cans:

Hand-crafted We brew our beer in small batches and it is not pasteurized. So,it needs to be protected. Light oxidizes beer. It’s very dark inside a can. Oxygen oxidizes beer. Cans are hermetically sealed. “But, you get that ‘tinny’ taste.” All cans are now lined with an aqueous polymer. Metal never touches beer.

Aluminum Can Ever see a can shatter when its dropped? Ever grab a 12-pack of cans in one hand and a 12-pack of bottles in the other hand? It’s like being with your 4 year-old on the seesaw.

Portable Take ‘em up the trail in the pack. Drain ‘em, crush ‘em, stick ‘em back in the pack.

Recyclable Used aluminum cans are recycled and returned to a store shelf as a new can in as few as 60 days. That’s because the can’s aluminum materials are designed with recyclability in mind.

Good Hand-crafted beer well protected in a light, crushable, recyclable package? Sounds pretty good to me.

Now, I have absolutely nothing against tasty beer in a bottle, but don’t think less of a hand-crafted beer in a can. And if you’re not camping, backpacking, or at a music festival . . . you can always choose to pour it in a glass.

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