BREWER, Maine — COVID-19 restrictions closed the doors to breweries, restaurants, and bars all over the state back in March. More than ever before, brewery owners found themselves battling for shelf space at the stores that remained open. Mason's Brewing Company in Brewer was a few steps ahead, finding a unique way to make their cans stand out.
"We had rolled out our first version of beer cans and although they were kind of eclectic they all kind of blended into the shelf space," says Chris Morley, founder of Mason's. Morley's friend set him up with comic artist, Ben Bishop. Once the two started talking over a few beers, they knew they were in for quite a collaboration.
"We discussed different breweries and what we liked and disliked," Bishop recalls from the conversation. "I am a comic book guy so I know what I like and I know what comic book fans like, but I said we should do something that's like limited edition, similar to comic variations, a collect them all kind of mentality. So that became kind of character-based thinking with all of the beers."
Freya; Liquid Rapture; Ghost Reaper - all sound like characters from a comic and well, the images speak for themselves. “His artwork is phenomenal, and I'd like to think our beer is good if not phenomenal and the partnership has allowed us both to do some really neat things,” Morley says.
"If there is a name and it's something I can figure out a character around, then it really rolls super fast,” says Bishop. Morley adds that working together has been a streamlined process. "He put 'Stephen King rules' on the T-shirt [of Hipster Apocalypse] if you look closely enough and I thought this is totally awesome, totally hipster, but I gotta call legal because I don't know if we can do that; use Stephen King's name. Fast forward; while we were waiting for legal to get back to me I just got on Facebook and messaged Stephen King just to see where that would go, I didn't think anything of it and 30 minutes later either his handler or Steven said, 'We don't see a problem with it, forwarding it to legal,' then the next day I got the A-OK, and that's literally the fastest thing that has ever moved in this whole brewery project!"
Fast and simple – yet different enough to catch a few more eyes – and hopefully taste buds.