Where the f*&k is Melvin these days, anyway? Maybe you noticed us expanding both distribution and brewpub locations stateside (more big news on this soon) but you might not realize just how big we dream. That’s right, your favorite IPA slinging elephant has been making serious moves abroad.
Founder Jeremy Tofte wistfully recalls his days as a simple van-dwelling snowboard bum as he sits at his desk at Alpine HQ, buried in paperwork and endless emails (and still living in a van). Back in the glory days, he spent Jackson Hole’s off-seasons (two months in the spring and two months in the fall) traveling the globe, so it’s only natural that this wanderlust has transferred to the business. He explains, “We find every excuse to go visit the places we love.”
As a general rule, when Melvin spins the globe, IPA’s end up in the lands of deep snow and long left’s, so read on for field notes from our recent adventures.
IPA’s and Haze Down Under
Melvin’s own Travis Cook, aka sales ninja and Field Hoperative, flew to Australia this spring to rep Melvin at participating 2x4 Day bars down under. When he wasn’t cuddling koala bears, getting roundhouse kicked by kangaroos (the ninjas of the animal kingdom) or exploring rainforests and beaches, he was turning Aussies on to Wyoming beer. Reasons to embrace OZ as a new market are many: Aussies love a rowdy good time, cities like hip Melbourne embrace “beer geek culture,” and the waves and sunshine are seemingly nonstop.
Armed with a duffle bag of swag, Travis came in hot to Brisbane first, where Melvin took over Brewski’s 7 taps with Hubert, Melvin, Your IPA, 2x4, Citradamus and Hop Shocker. In Melbourne, Travis found plenty of new friends and fellow industry folks who were stoked on “hazy IPAs, wild ales, and coffee porters.” Last stop on the tour de OZ was Sydney, where Travis headed to Bitter Phew, a laidback craft beer venue. He says, “There were heaps of Aussies getting drunk on beer from Wyoming for the first time…but hopefully not the last.”
There’s even a ch-ch-cherry on top of this outback adventure: Hubert just won a gold medal in the highly competitive Best New World Style Pale Ale category at the Australian International Beer Awards. The Melvin IPA took home a silver in the American Style IPA category, and 2x4 got another silver in the Imperial / Double IPA category. Bloody fantastic!
Wyoming + Tokyo Fall in Love
When DevilCraft founder Jason Koehler reached out to us about getting some tasty Melvin to Japan, Tofte decided to grab his snowboard and hand deliver them during an epic winter season. In the spirit of new friendship and deep pow, they decided to brew a collaboration beer: a triple IPA made with African Queen hops.
Years back, Koehler dropped out of an MBA program to open DevilCraft, one of the only true breweries in Tokyo where beer is actually made on site. The buzzy city’s sake tradition has given way to a huge interest in craft beer, but this mostly manifests in beer bars instead of brick and mortar breweries, at least within the concrete jungle’s huge metro area. The Tokyo drinking culture is oh so Melvin– for example, after quittin’ time, 9 to 5’ers aka “salarymen” visit drinking streets like the Golden Gai, where they crush beers and tie their neckties around their head. Hey, it’s a small world after all– pretty sure Thai Me Up has seen the same sort of late night behavior.
Tofte and Koehler partied like adults, compared beards, and began brewing, but they soon realized that some Japanese flair was missing. So, they bought a 25 pound box of rice krispies and dumped them into the tank, adding just the right amount of toasty flavor and weirdness. They named their lovechild Krispofer Hoppins, and Tofte left Japow vowing to return for more madness.
Spin the Globe
Since we are the underdog taking on big beer aka the evil WorldBev, it’s crucial now more than ever to recruit craft emissaries from around the world to fight the good fight.
For example, in Spain, less than 1% of beer sales go to craft breweries, leaving 99% to big beer. Thankfully, our friends over at Founders Brewing Company have zeroed in on this emerging market and Spain’s burgeoning craft curiosity, and are making serious moves. They spearheaded Madrid Beer and Music Festival this summer and invited Melvin and our famous IPA’s to join the revelry. Stay tuned for possible collaborations with Spanish breweries and more across Europe.
Distribution in Vietnam and another top secret Asian location are coming soon, so go ahead and spin that globe, hophead, because you never know where Melvin will pop up next.
See Melvin on tap in an exotic/unexpected locale? Snap a photo and tag us @melvinbrewing!