The Great Sociable/Fair State Collaboration
as told by Jim Watkins
All you have to do is look at my boot cut jeans to know I’m not someone who’s in touch with
the latest trend. That also seems to flow through to our rather pathological resistance to
following the trend train at Sociable. That said, one trend that we have really leaned into is the
brewery collaboration. Sure, everyone is doing them, but that’s with good reason. It takes us
back to the genesis of so many of our businesses. The days before distributor forecasts, bank
loans, and marketing spends. The purer days when we were a couple of friends in a garage
drinking too many beers, experimenting with any idea that sounded even remotely cool. We
didn’t have to make commercially viable products, we just made the stuff we wanted to taste.
Even if that meant we’d taste it once and then never again.
I think it is that spirit that drives so many brewers to collaborate. If you’ve never had the
opportunity to participate in a collaboration, I cannot recommend it enough. For the most part,
we’ve all got our systems dialed in. Our respective production breweries have become well-
oiled widget factories, which means that on collaboration day its way more bullshitting than
actual work. That’s the fun of it. We get to momentarily revert back to a point in time when
this wasn’t work. It’s a reminder of why we got into this business in the first place. In an
increasingly challenging business environment, those reminders are rejuvenating in a way that
is hard to explain to someone who is not grinding it out every week in a production brewery.
Our latest collaboration is just such a reminder. It’s a throw-back to a time when “global
headquarters” was a folding table in our largely vacant warehouse. When the only
compensation for we founders was the tip money pulled down after a bartending shift. In
those days we had a single employee, and we joked that we only had him on lease. Those were
the days before Fair State Brewing Co-op when Niko Tonks was the head brewer (albeit
temporarily) at Sociable Cider Werks.
Frankly, another collaboration between Sociable and Fair State was long overdue. We have
been talking about mashing up two of our most popular products for a long time, but finally the
stars aligned to make it a reality. Actually, it was outlook calendars that aligned, but stars make
for a better story. Which, finally, brings me to Pinch Flat Hibiscus Rose. Sociable’s first crack at
something pink, and Fair State’s first crack at something apple for their taproom. This product
starts as a blend of freshly pressed apples brewed with cane sorghum to contribute body,
Willamette hops to contribute an earthy terroir, and then hibiscus and rose hips for that rose
color and floral finish. The result is Freewheeler backbone with Roselle flair.
We are excited about this one because pink drink is having a bit of a renaissance. The days of
rose colored liquid being associated with wine sold by the jug rather than the bottle are gone.
As you might expect a craft brewer’s collaboration diverts even further from jugs & wine
bottles. Pinch Flat will be available all summer in pink 16oz 4packs and on draft at your favorite
watering holes. Also, you’ll also be able to get Fair State’s unfiltered (dare I say, hazy) version
of the product in their taproom. We hope you have as much fun drinking it as we have making
it for you.