Terrapin Beer Co. introduced its newest Side Project with a six-minute video posted on YouTube.
But rather than the usual beer nerd breakdown of the brewing process, “The Legend of Krunkles” is a sly company mockumentary that looks like it might have been made by the TV characters on “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation.”
As with previous Side Project releases, Volume 15, Indiana Krunkles Wheat IPA, is a limited-edition one-off brew. It follows the story line of last year’s Volume 10, a Black IPA known as Capt’n Krunkles.
The video portrays Krunkles as a mysterious pirate adventurer who was also a great hop-obsessed brewer. Mugging for the camera, Terrapin brewer, Brian “Spike” Buckowski, deadpans that he’s has discovered some of Krunkles’ secret recipes.
To further develop the satiric Capt’n Krunkles lore, Buckowski said he plans to release a new Krunkles brew every year.
“Krunkles will be a continuing series,” Buckowski said. “As you learn from watching the video, Krunkles was the best IPA brewer in the world and he traveled the world in search of hops. It’s just a great story for us.”
Like other small craft breweries, Terrapin doesn’t have a big advertising budget and does most of its marketing via social media and contact with customers and accounts at tours, tastings and beer festivals.
Of course, the beer needs to be good. But coming up with a catchy or even outrageous name can be a major marketing tool in a crowded and competitive field, where securing a tap handle at a top beer bar is considered a major coup.
Buckowski cites several examples of Terrapin names and beers that were big hits from the beginning, including Wake ‘N’ Bake stout and Big Hoppy Monster imperial red ale. But there have been misses, too.
One of the most notable was Terrapin Cream Ale, Buckowski’s take on a light American beer style popular in the Northeast. It’s now known as Terrapin Golden Ale.
“When we put the Cream Ale out back in 2004, people here thought it was some kind of big heavy beer,” Buckowski said. “And it didn’t do that well. Once we switched the name to Golden Ale, there was a spike in sales.”
Another good example was Terrapin India Style Brown Ale.
“About a year ago, we were considering pulling the plug on that beer,” Buckowski said. “We decided to change the name, instead. Now it’s Hop Karma Brown IPA, and the sales are taking off, along with Hopsecutioner and the other IPAs we brew.”
“Actually, the original name for Big Hoppy Monster was Loggerhead Red, after the turtle. Can you imagine? Thankfully, we didn’t go with it. You hear Big Hoppy Monster and you’ve just got to try that beer.”
Find “The Legend of Krunkles” here: youtube.com/watch?v=N3_36zBiVP8&feature=youtu.be&hd=1.
— By Bob Townsend, AJC Drinks blog