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Allagash Unveils Sparkling Session Ale Designed By Pulp + Wire

by Bill McCool on 06/24/2020 | 3 Minute Read

For many craft brewers, COVID-19 has presented more than a few challenges, with taprooms across the US shuttering their doors and laying off staff. While sales are up for the Coors and Budweiser's of the world, craft brewers have had a tougher road to go down, shifting to online sales and curbside pickup. 

Earlier this month, Portland, Maine brewery Allagash announced they would start releasing new, year-round drinks to their core line of beers, most of which they fast-tracked because of the pandemic. 70% of their sales come from bars and restaurants, and with restaurants just starting to find their footing again despite a never-ending first wave of COVId-19, the brand knew they needed to expand their offerings to keep up with drinkers looking for lower-alcohol options.

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And that’s where Allagash’s Little Grove comes in. 

This low-calorie, low-alcohol sparkling session ale is a fruited beer, but instead of chasing the White Claw’s of the world, they want to introduce something more in line with a rosé or wine spritzer.

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“We wanted to focus on a wider audience than just craft beer fans,” said Jeff Pillet-Shore, Marketing Director at Allagash. “We looked at a wide range of beverages, including non-alcoholic beers, rosé, craft cocktails, and more to find a space for these innovative, low-ABV, sparkling session ales. This directional shift was a big departure for us, but felt totally necessary to make a distinct space for the Little Grove series within our core beer lineup.”

Looking to shake up the beer scene even further, Allagash turned to Portland branding agency Pulp + Wire to capture the intrinsic quality of a refreshing sparkling beverage. The new line of beers offers two flavors, a blackcurrant variety, and a peach and kombucha combination, and they both utilize a bright color palette that borrows from the principle ingredients. While it looks like a departure from Allagash’s general aesthetic, the package design hits you with a fistful of summer.

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Editorial photograph

“On an aesthetic level, we really took a chance with our concepts for this line,” said Pulp + Wire founder Taja Dockendorf. “They’re more bright, vibrant, and abstract than most other Allagash packaging. They capture a flow and flavor wave that, over time, allows us to build and add more SKUs without being defined by a specific visual icon. We wanted to capture the essence of ripe fruit, subtle tartness, and the effervescence of these playful session ales in the design.”

“This isn’t an exaggeration,” said Pillet-Shore. “The first time Rob [Allagash Founder] saw these designs, he basically asked, how soon can we get them in the market? And within weeks, we were off to the printers and building launch plans with sales teams.” 

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Editorial photograph

“We wanted this line’s look to ebb and flow––a fluid aesthetic that captured the essence of what was inside, a refreshing sparkling beverage,” Taja said. “This departure from Allagah’s beer 'look' was purposeful, and in part, what got the most excitement from the team.

Allagash’s Little Grove will bubble up later this summer, so consider yourself warned.

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