New England IPA – craft beer’s magic bullet

A midsize boardroom, with two ponytailed execs standing at one end of it talking to an invited group of guests

Gentlemen. Ladies. Welcome to FlashBrands Inc. We are consultants to the big leagues and our awesometer hit 110% this morning when we knew you guys from the New England IPA Marketing Board were booked in for us to pitch to you. Why? Because we share your dream. With the right support – and the right amount of attitude [they high-five each other] – we can help you get your beer style into the places where saisons, Black IPAs and all those other losers couldn’t.

We love NEIPA. It’s patriotic. Drink Saison? Stupid weird foreigner. Like Porters? Get back to medieval times, grandpa. Prefer sours? Are you kidding me? They are basically draino for humans. We are all living in New England IPA time. And we want to help you supplant Miller Time. We can help you capture hearts and minds where those styles didn’t. Here’s how we do that.

Kyle, get the lights!

1. Drinkability

Boom. To get craft beer into the common hand, this is on the first page of the playbook. New England IPA is the perfect beer for this – it is the poster-child for drinkability. Brewed with oats for a softer mouthfeel, served hazy to not strip the chewy, floral yeast esters from the beer, and hopped with stone-fruit and soft citrus flavours in mind – these beers are the most drinkable beer style of the last decade. So this is the #1 focus. They arose in direct competition with the bitingly resinous West Coast IPAs of the United States. Want to keep your enamel intact? Chose NEIPA.

Here’s how it should fly – every New England IPA brewed is packaged with copy stating how balanced it is, how drinkable the beer is as a result. Make these beers rewarding, not challenging. Emphasise that they have cross-border appeal with their US-inspired hop levels but at session-strength flavour (even if they aren’t session-strength themselves. Gloss over that). But push the fact they are beers anyone can enjoy. Open up the access.

2. Provenance

Ok, the boys in the office here love the New England vibe – this location we can run with. From mountains to the sea, it conjures up images of the outdoors, high treelines, fishing boats bobbing at barnacled jetties. You guys know how hard it is to brand a sour? When the best thing it has going for it is grumpy Belgians in cobwebbed outbuildings? That’s a hard sell. But New England? Summer evenings on the deck. Crisp autumn strolls through the changing leaves. Hell, you can pull a lobster from the sound for the perfect beer pairing. OMG. There’s the campaign. ‘Make lobster great again’

The one thing craft beer has as a whole is the sense that the people who make it do it for the right reasons. Even if that isn’t true at all, that’s what we tell people to sell the sector – it’s the reason the c-word is appended to beer to make it more appealing. We used to call them microbrewers until that sounded like they spent the day spilling bacteria down their lab coats. No, craft beer is about provenance. And New England IPA has it in spades.

3. Flavour

We touched on this earlier but this completes the trifecta. With NEIPA, WYSIWYG. Actually, let’s come back to what you see. The taste is the lead here. How many times have you seen people try their first craft beer and grimace? Choose something from the taplist of fifty because it has cherries or says it tastes of lime and they realise they have made a £7 mistake? Man! These errors put people off for months. Years even. But New England IPA is here to save the day. The unvarying, unpuckering, unagonising layer of peach, apricot and citrus flavour. Loved Um Bongo as a child? Here’s your new bae.

No, we didn’t say bae out loud let’s move on. But the key thing about these beers is their approachability. Any time someone appears at the bar and looks uncertain give them a taster of a NEIPA. Get your staff to give them the magic words. ‘Soft’ ‘Balanced’ ‘Fruity’ ‘Easy’. That’s all you need to do to hook them in. These beers are the gateway you have been climbing the walls to look for.

4. The acronym

NEIPA. Love it! We couldn’t get ‘bee-pa’ off the ground, but then dark beers are hard to shift unless the month has four syllables. And ‘dee-pa’ sounds too much like a term for…well…let’s roll with ‘nee-pa’ for our new saviour the New England IPA. It sounds great when you say it out loud and has almost a touch of the exotic about it, don’t you think Kyle? I guess the only thing we need to work out is whether the plural is ‘nee-pas’ or just ‘nee-pa’. Because people are gonna order these in the multiples, just you wait.

Let’s go ahead and order those ‘Got Nee-Pa?’ t-shirts, Kyle.

Ok so this is all awesome and we love the New England IPA. I mean, it’s the bomb. But we need to…address the elephant in the room. Is there any way we can make it look less like a breakfast buffet juice, because the focus groups really didn’t go for that at all. No, wait guys! Come back!

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