The iconic music label behind artists such as Bob Marley, U2 and Grace Jones – Island Records – is getting in on the craft beer market with its own canned range.
The first beer in the range, a Session IPA, has been around since late last year, the recent introduction of a Jamaica Porter, and plans for two more beers, has prompted the company to give the full range an official launch later this month.
The beers are a collaboration between Robin Pearson of Soundwaves Brewing and Two Tribes Brewing, co-founded by former DJ and producer Justin Deighton.
Island Records strategic marketing director Glenn Cooper originally approached Pearson with the idea. 'We were intrigued as to whether the Island Records brand resonated beyond music – whether we had the right to explore ideas beyond music,' he told Imbibe. 'Not many labels have that identity, and that history. So I thought that creating a wonderful craft beer range was the perfect way to do that.'
Pearson had the idea to create a day time and a night time beer, starting with the day time Session IPA. Every aspect of the beer was tied to music – the 4.5% abv echoes 45 rpm records, for example. Using music app Shazam, it's possible to 'Shazam the can', bringing up Spotify playlists created to accompany the beer. Pearson himself is signed to Island Records as an artist, receiving royalties as a musician would.
The Jamaica Porter, the night time beer, was launched in September this year. Pearson described it at the time as representing 'all-night beach parties, heavy beats in the background and lit by the moon in a cloudless sky'. It clocks in at 6.2% abv, and is immensely dark, with a deep, rich flavour profile including dark chocolate, vanilla and some spice.
There are now plans for a pale ale to be launched at Craft Beer Rising next year, as well as another beer in the works. In addition to cans, the beers are available in keg too.
This isn't the first drinks brand to be associated in some way with Island Records. Co-founder Chris Blackwell, whose grandfather owned J Wray & Nephew, is behind Blackwell Rum.
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