One of Wisconsin’s most successful craft breweries, Ale Asylum
, has partnered with neighboring Madison creative and branding agency, Planet Propaganda, to launch its new craft hard seltzer brand, Stray Forth — a term that by definition means to peregrinate, travel or wander, with purpose. The product line makes its debut August 8th in Madison area liquor stores, groceries and bars/restaurants including Memorial Union Terrace, State Street Brats, Old Fashioned, Dotty Dumpling's, Argus Bar, Edgewater, Steve's Liquor, Trixie's Liquor and many, many more. Stray Forth will be available in four initial flavour profiles: 'Enchant-Mint' made with blackberry and cucumber, 'Clairvoyance' made with guava and hibiscus, 'Walkabout' made with watermelon and kiwi, and 'Safari' made with tangerine and passionfruit. Stray Forth will be available in 16 oz and 12 oz cans, and is gluten free, with zero carbs, zero sugar, 100 calories per 12 oz serving and 5% ABV.
Recognising a unique market opportunity for a craft hard seltzer brand, the team at Ale Asylum engaged Planet from the get-go to develop the product’s full branding and design story – naming, logo, packaging design, audience definition, and marketing strategy – in exchange for an equity stake in the brand. The agency purposely strayed from the often formulaic seltzer package design seen on shelves, with each flavour’s packaging telling its own brand story through a collaged cast of strange animals and beings, all ripe with a sense of mystery, playfulness and sophistication. The design also integrates unique visual cues and easter eggs onto each to reward those who venture within the design.
“Under the umbrella of the fermented arts (making beer, wine, cider, mead, sake or even spirits) the most difficult, narrow, strict path is Reinheitsgebot, which is brewing with only water, malt, hops and yeast. Nothing else. I followed that path for 24 years. Then I had my first hard seltzer. I knew I had to stray forth,” said Dean Coffey, co-founder, president and brewmaster at Ale Asylum. “It took a full year of research, trial and error to get this right, and partnering with Planet was a key piece in bringing this brand to life.”
Planet and Ale Asylum will continue as partners on Stray Forth as it looks to expand regionally beyond the Madison market and ultimately make a play for national distribution.
"When Planet and Ale Asylum first got together, we knew something special was bound to happen, and it did,” said Dana Lytle, Planet Propaganda’s founder, CEO and executive creative director. “The hard seltzer itself is a unique, vibrant, top of the line product, and that pushed us to build a brand that could truly live up to it.”
Ale Asylum is already a proven success in the craft beer space, with dozens of products available across WI, IL and MN, while Planet Propaganda has made a name for itself as agency of record for brands like Duluth Trading Co., Jersey Mike’s Subs and Pancheros Mexican Grill. Together they hope to make Stray Forth a key player within the growing “mindful drinking” category.
There will be a free tasting, August 4th from 2-6pm, at Ale Asylum, 2002 Pankratz St in Madison.