You know a concept has made it big when someone designs a T-shirt centered around it. And that's exactly what Batch Apparel, a local online shop, has done for craft beer.
"We realized there isnt really a good way to identify yourself as a craft beer enthusiast or fan," said Tanner Fritz, co-owner of Batch Apparel. "You could buy a New Belgium hat or a Fat Tire hat or something like that, but really the whole idea of craft beer is it shouldnt be exclusive to one brewery. It's this shared experience."
Recognizing the need to unify craft beer enthusiasts all over, Fritz and his partner Joe Hall decided to start up a business focusing on this model. They came up with Batch Apparel, which offers quality, classic T-shirts with a design for folks who are interested in quality craft beer.
Much like the whole craft beer process, in that beers are offered on a limited basis, the T-shirt designs are also available for a short time. "When the T-shirt design sells out, you wont be able to get them anymore," Fritz says. "It will just be the end of the run of those shirts. Similar to how when a beer runs out, it's the end of the season for that beer and you cant get it till later. We wanted to mimic that process, and thats now the name Batch came up. Craft beer is done on a batch basis, and we wanted to do these T-shirts on a batch basis as well."
Here are the three T-shirt designs currently available.
For those not in the know on craft beer, Fritz explains its popularity: "Craft beer is a higher quality beer. It is supposed to be served at a certain temperature and certain way that the brewery comes up with. The whole idea is that craft beer is done in smaller amounts so it is not mass-produced."
A recent story on MSNBC highlighted an increase in alcohol sales, except for mass-produced, "legacy beers" like Budweiser and Miller. As quoted in the story:
"It appears that some of the mass-produced beers, Coors and Budweiser, are getting squeezed," said Zippin. "[Consumers] are either going to really low cost beers, like PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon), or they're going to the craft beers."
Fritz continues: "When you order a Coors Light, it comes in a bottle, we dont know how many weeks old it is, theres not an expiration date, and you dont really know the story behind Coors Light. But with some place like Noda Brewing Company, we know that they are right down the road, we know what kinds of beer they brew because of who they are. Craft beer is a flare of something local."
On Thursday, June 16, Batch Apparel will be hosting its launch party at, fittingly, Growlers Pourhouse in NoDa, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. In addition to checking out their T-shirt designs, NoDa Brewing Company will be in the house offering tastings, and Whisky Dollars, a local band that often plays at venues that sell craft beer, will be serenading you with their tunes.