A few months ago my boss called me into his office and said, "I want The Mountaineers to do a beer. Would you like to be involved in the project?" The answer to a question like that is always yes.
He went on a few first dates with local breweries to meet the perfect match. Finding a partner who shares your intrinsic values AND who has the time, resources, and interest to do a partnership beer is hard.
Then he met the one: Ghostfish Brewing.
Located in south Seattle, Ghostfish is the first and only dedicated gluten-free craft brewery in Washington state. We loved their vibe, ethos, and genuine enthusiasm for The Mountaineers. Plus their beers taste damn good. It was a no-brainer.
The process to create a beer was more complicated and interesting than I anticipated, starting with the name. We had 60+ possible name choices when we started, from iconic outdoor landmarks to technical climbing and paddling terms. One by one we crossed them off the list for being too obscure or for sounding weird when you say them out loud or, most commonly, for already being taken, either as a brewery name (well played Crux Fermentation Project in Bend) or by an existing beer (who knew QBrew already made QuickDraw Pale Ale?).
In the end, we had 6 names we liked and it was time to discuss imagery. How could we convey the name in a dynamic, captivating way on a 4.5"x8" beer sleeve? It needed to be catchy and fun and represent both The Mountaineers and Ghostfish. Something that "transcended limits". We quickly zeroed in on one: Kick Step.
The rest was straight-forward. Ghostfish started brewing the IPA using their signature low-impact grains and their incredibly talented designer went to work designing a can based on our brand colors and the photos we provided. Turns out, all my time spent outside WAS worthwhile, and I like to think you can see a little bit of Theresa in the climber on the beer!
With a few tweaks we had a final design we loved. It was time to write the "romance copy". For the uninitiated, "romance copy" refers to the flowery, love filled-language brands write to give you all the feels. The first draft was my job, then I sent it to Ghostfish's head brewer for review. He made it pop, adding phrases like "liquid representation of our shared values". I made a few more tweaks and it was ready to print.
That's how words I wrote ended up on a beer can coming now to a store near you
Ghostfish Brewing and The Mountaineers were both founded on the idea of transcending limits. We thrive on a spirit of wonder, a sense of adventure, and a commitment to the wild places of the Pacific Northwest. We’re powered by passion – strong, vibrant communities support our missions. Whether it’s delivering distinctive craft beer made from high-quality, low-impact grains, or offering unique, life-changing experiences in the outdoors, we believe life is meant to be lived and lived well – no matter who you are. We're excited to bring you Kick Step IPA: a liquid representation of our shared values, with proceeds benefiting The Mountaineers. Explore – Learn – Conserve.
We're having a big launch party on July 12 and I would be so happy to see all of your lovely faces there! You can register for free here. And you can learn more about the partnership on The Mountaineers blog.