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Hops and Cotton Tails at Red Hare Brewing Company

By S. Mathur

Craft beer packaging and design have become a whole new field of creative endeavor. Even with the high standards set by the industry, the Red Hare Brewing Company logo and packaging are surely winners, showing the eponymous red hare either in profile or out and about town - perhaps on a bar stool, slumped in a classic beer-drinking pose. The Red Hare, though a biological anomaly, is an engaging beast and turns up everywhere, on walls, restaurant signs at the local pizza and Thai food places, at the sports stadium. The images are everywhere in Red Hare Brewing Co.'s home town of Marietta GA. So what's with all the murals?

Director of Sales Madison Phillips explains: "We think of Red Hare as an iconic brand people can relate to. We love to have the Hare out and about in the market in murals and posters so that people will see him and identify with our brand. We also happen to have an incredibly talented artist on our staff who can paint fantastic masterpieces around town so that makes it easy!"

Good design is only the beginning. Red Hare microbrews are immensely popular, with fans abandoning their old favorites in droves in favor of Gangway IPA, Cotton Tail Pale Ale, and Watership Brown Ale. Despite its soaring popularity, Red Hare has rather modest beginnings, says Philips: "Our founders, Bobby and Roger, were looking for something new to start up and they saw that craft beer really hadn't taken off yet in GA. They began to do some home brewing on the kitchen stove and the stuff they made was really good! Within just a few short years of market research and investor meetings, Red Hare was born, the first microbrewery in Marietta, GA!"

The brewery is also a popular destination, with tours, generous tastings, and live music. The 15-minute tour walks visitors through the whole facility and the entire brewing process from raw ingredients to 6-pack. Philips says "To make beer you only need 4 things: water, hops, barley, and yeast! First we show you the mill where the barley is milled (ground between two stones to expose the soluble sugars within). Next, the grains move to the mash/lauter tun where we add water. This step is much like brewing tea or coffee, the grain creates a bed and the water passes over it, dissolving the exposed sugars, this creates wort - the first liquid stage of beer. The wort is then boiled (where we add hops) then whirlpooled. Lastly, the liquid moves to fermentation tanks where the yeast eats the sugars, excreting alcohol and carbon dioxide. We then show our tour attendees how the finished beer is moved from the fermentation tanks to our bright tanks for carbonation and on to the canning/kegging lines to be packaged and sold!"

Another trend in microbrews seems to be accessibility rather than intimidation. Philips confirms this: "We wanted all our beers to be easy drinking, crowd pleasing beers! We wanted to be the microbrewery that made craft accessible and enjoyable to everyone so all our brands are very flavorful but easy to drink and enjoy. The most popular brand is our Gangway IPA which is a smooth and crisp IPA with notes of grapefruit and pine."

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