[Osburn On Tap] Revamped Redhook

Everybody loves a spring baby. A few months ago (March to be exact), Redhook Brewery of Woodinville, WashingtonOsburn on Tap by Chris Osburn turned dirty thirty. I’ll be turning thirty in October so I figured it only made sense to mention the changes going on with this northwest craft brewery as well as the changes I’m noticing as I am on the cusp of becoming a thirty-something.

In honor of the brewery’s thirtieth anniversary, Redhook is unveiling a jazzy new look. They’ve changed the bottles, labels, bottle caps and packaging. I must say, the new look is pretty sleek and flashy and brings the brand back to where it started. “There seems to be a movement within the craft beer community where a lot of breweries are trying to ‘out craft’ each other,” said Robert Rentsch, brand manager at the brewery. Redhook isn’t about that. Of course we’re brewing great beer, but we’re just as interested in having a great time. We think our new look reflects our personality well.”

Just as Redhook is getting new packaging, I’m noticing that I have new “packaging” on top of my head. For a long time, I buzzed my hair. I didn’t let it grow for about four years and just recently have begun growing it out. I’m noticing that grey hairs are popping up randomly. I’ve never seen this before. There isn’t a ton, but I’ve noticed them and I’m strangely OK with it. So, while Redhook’s packaging is retro and flashy, my hair color is classic and distinguished (old and balding).

Just like me, Redhook Brewery was born in 1981. I was “founded” by my parents Bob and Patty Osburn in Rochester, New York. Redhook was founded by Paul Shipman and Gordon Bowker in Seattle, Washington. Bowker was actually also one of the founders of Starbucks, so he’s a fairly important citizen of Seattle. Ron Burgundy would say that he’s “kind of a big deal”. Shipman and Bowker decided that they were tired of the giant, conglomerates deciding what beer people should drink. They wanted the city of Seattle to have a beer of its own to be proud of.

They started brewing out of an old auto body shop in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Their first batch was called Ballard Bitter. That beer evolved to eventually become Long Hammer IPA (My favorite Redhook brew). They also started brewing what would become the company’s flagship brand, their ESB (extra special bitter). Since they beat most craft brewers to the punch, Redhook was the first ever nationally distributed craft beer.

Eventually, they realized that they had become too big for their proverbial britches so to speak. “We realized we weren’t celebrating the big personality that Redhook is in the way it deserved to be celebrated,” said Rentsch. That’s when the ideas started flowing about a few changes. Just like a mid-life crisis, the gang at Redhook decided that it was time to reinvent their brand. You can see the changes at your local supermarket. Just look for the snazzy new bottles and packaging. If I was you, I’d grab some Long Hammer.


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