Are you Craft Loyal? Each week it seems new rumors crop up on what craft brewer is going to “sell-0ut.” Then someone will sell or merge and the internet will explode. Beer nerds will panic like it is the end of days (guilty), and we will scramble to rid our closets of the offending brands merch. Or at least put it in the back in case the deal falls through. In this turbulent craft beer business marketplace it is an important question to ask. Are we loyal to the brand or the beer?
We’ve been running into the guys from Craft Loyal at various beer festivals, and admiring their work from afar. Craft Loyal is a burgeoning Beer Lifestyle brand, but instead of stopping at t-shirts & classy glassware they are attempting to build a community of craft loving like-minded individuals they call Loyalists.
Basing their company in the O.C., founders Tyzer Evans & Joe Harper started up craft Loyal about a year ago. Ty was the original idea man & handles business details. Joe works the creative. Recently, we met up with them for coffee before the Carlsbad Brewfest. We know it should have been beer but it was 8AM and we had to drive. We talked about the brand and how it all started there in Carlsbad.
How long has CL been out in the world?
We launched the site to the public July 4th of 2014, but established the company in December of 2013
How did the two of you connect & decide you wanted to be part of the beer industry?
We met while working at a surf shop about 10 years ago. Ty started home brewing a number of years ago and felt there was a need for a lifestyle brand within the community that wasn’t just about putting out cheesy slogans, and your typical beer shirts, much like you can find in the surf community with brands like RVCA, Ryde Clothing, Quicksilver, etc. Knowing that he and Joe had always talked to about developing a brand together and that I (Joe) was also a lover of craft beer, he called and pitched the idea of starting our own craft beer lifestyle brand. I was instantly onboard…and so it began.
What inspired the phrase “Craft Loyal”?
We wanted a name that would obviously be memorable, but that people would also wear with a since of pride. When someone puts on Craft Loyal, we are hoping they are thinking “I am”…Craft Loyal to craft beer that is. Joe threw this out there within the first few days of kicking around names, we must have gone over 70 more but kept coming back to it.
Among beer lifestyle brands your design style is unique. Did you have a design style in mind when you got started?
Completely. We wanted our style to be edgy, subliminal, artistic, something with thought behind it people could appreciate. Now don’t get us wrong there is a market for people making “pursuit of hoppiness” shirts with stick figures, but we didn’t want any part of that. We wanted to create a brand that you could rock to a beer festival, bottle share or you could wear out at a non-beer related event. We have pulled a lot of inspiration from companies like Obey, RVCA, Weight of the World Apparel, The Mad Hueys. They have an edge to them people love, lots of messages hidden within their designs which we dig and are hopefully bringing to the craft beer scene.
Where do you pull design inspiration from?
We pull inspiration from the craft beer community and from our favorite lifestyle brands mentioned above. With so many breweries popping up, all with a unique style, its hard not to be inspired in a beer-centric way. Then there is brainstorming that occurs for ideas and there are times we let the designers run wild with them. Joe does some designing too so he and our head designer will work closely to fine tune details, and Ty will chime with something beer related… like “I had an awesome IPA today.” Ha ha.
There is currently a wave of companies jumping into the Beer Brand market-space. Is there room for you all? Do you get along or is there resistance to the new guys?
Thats a great question! Really when you look at the demographics of craft beer drinkers, its really ideal for selling our products too. But also we look at the beer industry, over 100 billion dollar market, craft beer breweries opening like crazy… so our question is: How isn’t there room for all of us?
We for the most part have felt a lot of love from other companies doing what we do, but there are those that will mimic a style of shirt, or just flat out copy you. We see it as, as long as it does not have any trademark issues, its a compliment.
In addition to selling merchandise, you have beer news & reviews on your site. Do you envision a broader presence than being a lifestyle brand? If seems like you’re trying to develop a community. How has that been going & where do you see that growth headed?
Ha! I guess we already answered this a bit. We would for sure like to be a central hub for more than just craft beer apparel. The community is so much about sharing, that we definitely want to contribute in more than one way. We have had a lot of positive feedback with articles we have written, or reviews we have done.
We are lucky to have access to so much great beer, so we know people dig that they can follow us and see what we are drinking. And most importantly, that we aren’t here just about making a quick buck. We know beer. We love beer, and we brew beer. Wouldn’t want to be one of those “lifestyle brands” posting reviews about the new Shocktop Shandy. We are open to to seeing where the future goes, but we for sure have some different ideas in mind to grow the company.
Craft Loyal focuses on apparel and proper glassware. The apparel comes in full lines of Men’s and Women’s specific clothing. They pay attention to little details in their designs & have shown willingness to go the extra mile to place the focus on the beer & craft beer community.Their logo tee is still a best seller, and they it is hard to keep their specialized glassware in stock. Belgians, snifters, teardrop, mason jar, glass can and their all-around Master Glass. In a short time Craft Loyal has gone from an idea to a full fledged small business. A SoCal local business.
In the current craft beer world our favorite breweries could go big at anytime. That leaves us as beer drinkers with some tough questions on who & how we want to support the industry. Craft Loyal is hoping that you’ll be loyal to craft beer as more than just an industry. For them craft beer is a way of life.
Finally, we asked Joe & Ty the two most important questions.
What is your one desert island beer?
Ty – Modern Times – Blazing World
Joe – Too many to choose so I’ll say a style. Any dank hoppy IPA
Best SoCal brewery right now?