Branding Vancouver looks at some of the more interesting logos and icons that appear in Vancouver’s food and beverage scene, and cultural landscape. Some of the explanations will be long and others short, but the goal of deeper understanding will be constant. If you want the backstory of a particularly compelling local brand revealed, let us know via @scoutmagazine and we’ll try to figure it out.
In this edition, we ask Sam Payne, co-owner of The Parkside Brewery, and Travis Mclean, the Port Moody brewery’s Sales and Marketing Manager, to explain the good looks of their Dreamboat Hazy IPA.
How did this beer come to be? What’s the story?
Originally, the plan was to brew a lower ABV ale that speaks to the ‘feeling of summer’ without being a summer beer, as this is limiting and overdone. If we do it right, this beer could become year-round and will give people a ‘summer feeling’ as they drink it, yet it won’t feel out of place any time of the year. It would be, in a sense, aspirational. The style will be a lower alcohol ale with delicious hop flavour and aroma, but not bitter and easy drinking.
Once we had the beer style and recipe in place, we started to debate name options that would sum up this ‘feeling of summer” in a word or two. We considered three different thematic paths.
Direction 1: Seaside town — imagine a small seaside town (a la seaside Oregon) where there is a boardwalk, old beachside motels, great little souvenir shops and restaurants along the beach. They snooze in the winter but come to life in the summer. The motel tags fit this perfectly, and it aligns with our “50’s” sentimentality.
Name ideas: BOARDWALK, MOTEL, BY THE SEA.
Direction 2: Summer days in the park — all the great things about life in the park, from games and friends to BBQs and warm evenings. Fits with our brand (may be a bit obvious) but speaks to our brand deeply.
Direction 3: Stands alone — we pick a name that is like some of our other releases; just a fun name that is memorable but not necessarily tied to summer.
Name ideas: DREAMBOAT (it’s pretty fun, good one Sam!); 21 (as in basketball); MOTEL; and HIGH NOON.
After much debate – and for reasons too far in the past to remember precisely – we decided on the name Dreamboat. It was relaxed, funny, fun to say when ordering at a Tasting Room or bar, and it had lots of good label and branding options.
So, now to the real brewing story, which was not as simple and straightforward as the best laid plans. We brewed our first attempt of the elusive Dreamboat and, to be absolutely fair, we LOVED the result. But there was just one big problem: for some reason the beer did not end up ‘feeling’ like the right fit for the Dreamboat name, so we released it under a different name: Motel Hazy Pale Ale (which was one of the original name finalists for Dreamboat itself). The good news? It would go on to win bronze at that year’s BC Beer Awards (2017) in the night’s most heavily contested category: North American IPA (82 entries).
Not to be deterred, Vern and the brew team re-doubled their efforts and created a recipe for a super-approachable IPA bursting with notes of tropical fruit and a subtle bitter backbone. Tell me if you’ve heard this story before: we LOVED the result but it didn’t quite feel like the Dreamboat beer we’d imagined. Perhaps we were just gluttons for punishment? Needless to say, after some heated debate we decided against using the Dreamboat name on this beauty, too, and instead used a piece of artwork from our friend Brendan Prince as inspiration (a painting called Humans) as the beer’s label artwork and released it under the name “Humans – an IPA for the People” owing to its easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing nature. The result? It would go on to win the Best IPA award at the 2018 Okanagan Fest of Ale as well as a silver medal at the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards.
Third time’s the charm, right?
Back at it, searching for perfection, Vern and the crew finally landed on the Dreamboat Hazy IPA recipe we know today: a hazy, citrusy, Summery IPA (but great all year round) made with Superior Pilsner Malt, Flaked Wheat, Oats and generously hopped with a combination of Cashmere, Lemondrop, Citra & Azacca hops. Finally, we had our Dreamboat! And luckily it followed its predecessors’ footsteps, taking home Best Specialty IPA at the 2019 Okanagan Fest of Ale.
What’s the story behind the branding?
The branding came together far more seamlessly than the beer itself. Once we’d locked in on the name we began discussing the idea of marrying the two definitions of what a dreamboat is: (1) a boat you dream of owning; and (2) a hunky, attractive person.
From recollection, a group that included a number of brewery staff were brainstorming ideas one night in the office when we stumbled on the idea of having the image of a man wearing a button-up, short-sleeved summer shirt patterned with boats as the beer’s label. That led us down the path of wondering if we could make the entire can appear to be wearing the patterned shirt… and then evolved (perhaps de-volved?) into the idea of the shirt being unbuttoned at the top of the can and exposing some 70’s era chest hair a la Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck. We all laughed, then looked around the room at each other and nodded our heads in agreement. We had our (ridiculously silly) vision.
Devon Byerly, our incredibly talented designer, came back with the original mockup that was almost identical to what you see on the can today, save TWO major changes. First, the chest hair didn’t quite seem right so we met to discuss various chest hair options (yes, we actually held a business meeting to discuss the chest hair style on a beer label!). Everything was on the table: the amount of hair, colour, curliness and thickness. We decided to go with the moderately thick, lightly curled option you see today. Second, after finalizing a bunch of smaller details, the label file was about to be sent to the printers to create the final can sleeves when one glaring little error became apparent – the buttons on the shirt were actually on the wrong side of the shirt! They were on the women’s side, not the usual men’s side. (Why do Women’s and Men’s shirts have buttons on different sides?) We quickly made the edit and sent the file off to the printers and the rest is history, right? Well, there was one little problem: we actually forgot to move the top button of the shirt to the other side, so all of the buttons were on the right side of the shirt except for the very top one, which was of course pulled open to reveal the luscious chest hair. Too late to stop the printing run, the minor miscue was printed on the can for all to see. Save for one or two comments, almost nobody noticed. Now, over two year’s later – and several can printing runs since – we’ve kept the original error intact, and you can still notice the top button on the wrong side of the shirt, a small piece of Dreamboat lore.
Following the success of the Dreamboat Hazy IPA, we also added a few other marketing pieces alongside this beauty: Dreamboat Shirts (same as the label), floaty boat keychains, and even a Valentine’s Day greeting card just for your Dreamboat.