Upland Brewing Company is no stranger to delivering consumers exactly what they want. From their celebrated diverse sour program replete with authentic lambics, nuanced fruited wilds, and universally celebrated Russian Imperial stout program: these Indiana brewers know how to satisfy the most demanding beer palate. Their new Secret Barrel Society is no exception:
In an unprecedented move, early last week Upland announced a bold new secret society, only clandestinely made available to public on a website via press release. “Upland was formed by a glacier, that’s always been our motto, but we don’t intend on moving at a glacier’s pace, probably much faster even,” noted President Douglas Dayhoff after consulting an excel spreadsheet, “our sour program is definitely faster than a glacier.” We were allowed to tour the spacious Indianapolis facility where Dayhoff explained the innovative new program. “Everywhere in Indiana you hear people expecting things, in our brewpub you hear things like ‘I hope local home prices don’t continue to fall’ and ‘God I pray these Pacers get their shit together this year’ and that means one thing: Upland customers love expecting things,” Dayhoff noted as he slipped on a neoprene hazmat suit to enter the brushed aluminum Sour Containment Room, “you’re gonna wanna put the goggles on, the beer will burn your eyes even through the barrels.”
While surveying the intensely acidic potations slowly eating through the oak vessels, Dayhoff explained why hope was such a critical part of Upland’s business model, “we didn’t want to be like all those other breweries that accept upwards of $300 and then just give the consumer beer in return. Where’s the hope in that? Where is the romance? Sounds more like a transaction to me, and that simply is not the Upland way.” Upland’s business model has long been predicated on carnival games, raffles and parlor tricks. “We initially loved the idea of raffling off every beer needlessly, but then we started exploring retail models like throwing a ping pong ball into a fishbowl, knocking over Upland bottles with a softball, things of that nature, but they didn’t prove stable enough for a true reservation society.” Shortly after the polyurethane gloves began to bubble after handling some of Upland’s young lambic, we were led to the marketing strategy room. “What we ultimately decided to sell to the consumer, at the very fair price of $250.00, was the right to hope to be able to pay for a beer at a later date.”
The bold new strategy left many market analysts dumbfounded and perplexed that they had not thought of monetizing expectation based transactions earlier. “Now instead of entering a lottery or guessing the number of marbles in a jar to earn the right to buy an Upland beer, we cut that right out with a $250.00 membership which then allows you to give us money. It is exceedingly innovative and the perfect way to distribute our iconic ph2.0 libations to the public,” Dayhoff noted as he administered alkaline tablets to brewer, Pete Batule, as he lay on a cot with occupational GERD.
To ensure that the Upland consumer got the maximum amount of expectation per Expectation Society membership, they have guaranteed the right to pay for AT LEAST 100 Upland sour bottles with each membership. “It really wouldn’t surprise me if some people bought multiple memberships to ensure the right to pay Upland as much money as possible, Indiana residents are no dummies and love paying for the right to expect things,” Dayhoff nodded confidently while monitoring bright red litmus strips. “One red-faced patron Bloomington patron even asked me at our pub, ‘at least tell me I can come here to pick up the beers, please dont ship them, my home life is so sad I-‘ and I couldn’t help but feel for him, so every member will not be inconvenienced with having them shipped within the state to their doorstep, unlike some OTHER barrel programs.”
Nearing the end of the tour Dayhoff directed us to the gift shop and looked lovingly over the shelves of Upland branded merchandise, “this stuff practically sells itself I tell ya. Well I mean, it kinda does when we force the consumer to take it with their $250.00 membership, I mean look at this glass! That’s gotta be worth something right?” Dayhoff quipped and stared at the goblet for an uncomfortably long period of silence, brow furrowed.
“One ex-employee noted that ‘Hey maybe actually sell the consumer some beer for upwards of three benjamins, I mean Upland is a brewery, right?’ and I mean, he was subsequently terminated for poor performance, but it got us to thinking. So in addition to the mountains of literally imaginary benefits already conferred, I also put this spicy little rider into the Expectation Society: ‘Other awesome events and benefits we decide to add on, spuriously and with adequately questionable notice, throughout the year for members.’ So if the first deluge of expectation and hope wasn’t enough, HANG ON COLTS FANS, a full year of mysterious hope COMPLETE WITH YOUR MEMBERSHIP!” Dayhoff noted walking around the parking lot, taking in the majesty of the local flora and fauna.
At the conclusion of the interview one employee slid a piece of paper into our hands which noted:
“http://uplandbeer.com/about/secret-barrel-society/ ….. shhhhh”
and insisted that the society was of the utmost secrecy.
We will continue to update the consumer as more expectations become available.