A few months back, through the magic of Twitter, I stumbled across someone selling an incredibly cool handmade Schlafly AIPA “luggage tag” online. It turned out that this “someone” was a crafty, craft beer enthusiast named Mindy Humphrey from Vancouver, Washington who was making accessories, such as wallets, purses, and luggage tags out of 6-pack packaging from craft breweries across the country.
Par for the craft beer course, Schlafly sells branded swag online as well as at our breweries, such as t-shirts, pint glasses and keychains, but we’re always keeping our eyes peeled for cool stuff to offer our fans that’s unique and where possible, handcrafted, just like our beer. When I saw the AIPA luggage tag at “Mindy’s Beer Gear”, I knew I needed to reach out to Mindy and see if I couldn’t talk her into making some more Schlafly accessories for us to offer our fans and I’m really excited to announce that we just received our first order wrist cuffs, luggage tags, and wallets!
I asked Mindy if she wouldn’t mind sharing a bit with us about how Mindy’s Beer Gear came to be and how she makes her accessories:
“I’ve been making my beer gear for about a year now. It started with a Bridgeport Brewing box. My favorite cat is named Bridgeport and, while looking at the tastefully designed six-pack box, I thought that the “Bridgeport” logo across the top would cut out perfectly to make a wrist cuff. I cut out the artwork, wrapped it in clear vinyl, and stitched it to a colored vinyl backing. After successfully making a cuff in tribute to my cat I thought my brother needed a wallet of his favorite beer (Ranger by New Belgium). I continued to make special pieces for myself, my brother, and his band members (Reel Big Fish) until coming up with some solid designs. Then around April I quit an unbearable job and used my new freed up time to create an inventory and start selling my gear on Etsy. The response was great. I knew I was doing something right and it was in a market dear to my heart, BEER!
One morning in May, I felt the strength to get out and market myself. Something I have never done. I walked into my local bottle shop, By The Bottle, and introduced myself to the owner, Arlene Nunez. That day I landed 2 gigs to sell my gear and acquired my first brewery customer! I now refer to Arlene as my fairy godmother.
I’ve continued to make some really cool friends in Portland’s beer community and some in other states as well. I get my six-pack boxes from all over the place. I have friends who save them for me, customers who mail them to me, breweries that send them to me, and my brother’s band saves boxes from the beer they drink while touring the US. Also, his girlfriend happens to live in STL and the two of them are legit Schlafly fans. So, I am delighted to be working with Schlafly. My vision is to re-use (upcycle) something that doesn’t deserve recycle bin doom, make some killer beer gear that’s fun and functional, and create a unique marketing outlet that will strike the interest of the craft beer-ignorant masses and enlighten them.”
For our first order, we just got enough pieces to gauge interest and get some feedback from our fans. There are 25 wallets, 25 wrist cuffs, and 25 luggage tags made from a variety of Schlafly packaging (Pale Ale, Pilsner, Hefe, Kolsch, Summer Lager, Raz Hefe, Stout, APA, AIPA, and Export IPA). Each piece is unique and will be available exclusively at our Schlafly Bottleworks location on a first come, first served basis.
Hopefully, you all will think this stuff is as cool as we do so that we can place another order large enough to offer a couple styles through our online store as well. We’ll certainly keep you updated. We couldn’t be more excited to have a new partner and friend in Mindy. Make sure to check out her online store for more awesome stuff made from other cool craft brewery’s six-packs as well.