And just when you thought 2020 was done with dishing up the weird and the wacky comes a late arrival out of South Australia. In mid-December Adelaide’s Little Bang Brewing will do a potential world first and package and release 12,000 cans of the same hazy IPA but give each their own unique name and label.
With names like Religious Footwear Conspiracy, Rubber Weasel Arrangement, Experimental Bingo Cake and Satanic Burp Detector and all featuring a unique but on trend label, the concept is the brain child of Little Bang’s Ryan Davidson. He along with co-founder Fil Kemp were both computer game developers before they were commercial brewers.
While the outrageous concept perfectly sums up the year, Ryan said it had actually been years in the making as he carefully constructed a data base of “inherently funny words” and an algorithm to then create the beer names via their digital printing system. In conjunction with their designer Matt O’Connor a similar process was created to make the labels that aren’t a far cry from some of the limited release IPA label designs on the market.
“I’d like to say I specifically timed it for the end of 2020 but the truth of the matter is it’s been in development for about two years in one form or another. This just so happens to be the time when it all came together,” Ryan said.
“But I think it is the perfect time to land when we are all still a little bewildered and the foundations of our idea of reality and truth have been shaken – not just by COVID but by the absolute appalling and surreal display that was the US election.
“So what better time to introduce something that hopefully breaks a couple of categories of what we consider to be the normal everyday nature of beer?”
The arrival of the concept also comes at time when we see a proliferation of new beer releases almost every day, many of them hazy IPAs with unique names and can art, that are all jostling for the same attention and where drinkers strive to be the first to rate them on Untappd or post the experience on social media. Little Bang’s idea feeds directly into that “haze craze” before taking it to hitherto unseen levels.
“My main pitch for it was that through all this madness and this uncertainty we have been able to rely on the fact that every week there will be at least one new hazy IPA release which will bring that predictable joy and predictable dopamine surge that we all so desperately need to keep us going,” Ryan said.
“So we are just mainlining that energy into 12,000 utterly unique and individual beers that people can be guaranteed they will have the first and only one – just for them.”
Little Bang are no strangers to unique can art with their designs often some of the most striking you’ll see in a bottle shop fridge. Their Face Inverter Citrus Sour (pictured above) also took out this year’s inaugural GABS Can Design Awards that championed great design in the Australian beer industry. But 12,000 unique designs is lofty – even for them.
“We analysed the IPA design eco-system, and by aggregating what we saw as trends, we created something that you can then look at on the shelf and it has that look and feel that we’re coming to recognise for the category while still being uniquely Little Bang at the same time.
“I don’t think it’s been done before – even globally to my knowledge. A world first perhaps?
“But then in saying that there is probably a really good reason why it hasn’t been done before and that’s because firstly, no one knows what the beer is even called and secondly no one can even describe what it even looks like! Way to go marketing team.”
The 12,000 cans of 6.3% hazy IPA will be canned in mid-December and will be on shelves in Adelaide before Christmas and then will be available elsewhere in Australia in the New Year.
Little Bang said it will be delicious too: “It’s a hazy IPA the way we love it – super aromatic and fluffy, but still solid and satisfying. A touch more bitter bite and a little bit less sugar delivers a snappier, more sessionable hazy experience.”