It’s become a yearly tradition in Cincinnati – not just Fifty Fest itself, but the entire process of heading out and getting your ‘Golden Ticket’. We finally have our answer to the question of what this year’s release will be – and I wanted to give you my thoughts on why the whole concept is so brilliant too.
Why Fifty West Is Brilliant
We (as craft beer fans) don’t take enough quiet moments to reflect on the “little” things that our breweries do to make things special. It’s a never-ending process for these folks to sit down and try to keep revolutionizing an industry and products that were literally founded on the idea of revolution.
Selling craft beer, and running a craft brewery isn’t just about making beer and putting it into packaging to fill people’s fridges. It’s a complicated dance. As a brewery, you’re forced to keep pushing your limits with what you’re brewing, the events you throw and how you market it all to your fans. Push too far (or not far enough) in one direction and people turn on you. It’s easy to see why so many people call the marketing side of brewing the most important.
I think it goes without saying that Fifty West makes a fantastic product. Their beer is delicious, and they’ve been doing it here in Cincinnati for long enough that people understand that they’re going to get a good beer from Fifty when they order one. But it’s all not enough.
From taking a beer release for Punch You In The EyePA and turning it into what we now know as the Punch Out, to being the first brewery in Cincinnati that houses volleyball courts, a canoe livery, and a bike shop. They’ve stepped up their game to a new level. Then, there’s this little idea to put a peel-off label on a beer can.
The Golden Ticket
It’s an idea that simultaneously promotes one of Fifty West’s fantastic events, Fifty Fest – and also gets beer drinkers who are bombarded by new packaged releases on a near constant basis.
The idea to make the labels on their cans removable is mind-blowing to me. You peel off the label, bring it to the gate of Fifty Fest and get free entry to the event. First coming to life in 2015, I still marvel at the whole thing each summer as we get close to the festival.
In a world where craft beer is ubiquitous and, new releases are expected not a treasured surprise by drinkers – you have to give credit to a brewery that still manages to find a way to get even casual fans of beer to hunt down a release. The best part for those drinkers, though, is that the release is typically a fantastic one – It’s not a coincidence that throughout the last few years so many of the beers that have been selected for fifty fest packaging has made its way back into package later.
Previous Fifty Fest Releases
Like I mentioned before, we have seen this promotion from Fifty West each year since 2015, and it’s not a coincidence that a few of these releases have later returned to more packaging. 50W tends to pull out their big guns for these ‘Golden Ticket’ cans. It’s not a gimmick to get you to buy bad beer.
- Rainbow Road – Session IPA
- Penny’s Pilsner – Pilsner
- Doom Pedal – Witbier
- Coast To Coast – IPA
- Tangelo Fruit Stand – IPA
- Ocean City Gose – Gose
This Year’s Release – Pluot Coast To Coast
Moving from the previous years’ 12oz cans to the 16oz cans that it seems like special releases are almost always put into these days, this year’s Golden Ticket lives on cans of the new Pluot Coast To Coast.
Released starting the week of August 20th, these four packs hold one Golden Ticket for free entry into Fifty Fest… that doesn’t mean that it’s all they hold, though. Let’s talk about the beer!
Pluot is a fruit hybrid. It combines the best traits of plums and apricots into one fruit. Fifty West added that into their crowd-pleasing Coast To Coast IPA to come up with a perfect summer drinker that comes in at 6.9% ABV and 55IBUs. The beer combines the best traits of both West Coast and East Coast IPAs into one style bending piece of artwork.
I’ll have some more details about the event itself in the coming weeks, but for now, start prepping yourself for the journey to snag some Fifty Fest cans from your favorite shop. These don’t sit on shelves long, and as your standing at the gates of the festival shelling out your hard-earned beer drinking money – you’ll wish you had a golden ticket in your pocket.