Craft Beer Risings mini Chicago: Goose Island Activation.
Here’s the scenario: London’s largest craft beer festival (Craft Beer Rising) approaches you. They have 30,000 square feet of empty space. You need to turn that space into a visual representation of 30 years of award-winning brewing of one of America’s most popular beers. You have just four weeks.
That kind of prospect could intimidate any production company. But here at Fort, it excited us.
We successfully delivered a full service activation; managing the design of the space, creating and installing bespoke builds and assisting on producing the event over a four day period with Elastic Productions. We provided Goose Island Beer Company with an immersive recreation of their Chicago Breweries tap room. The empty space was transformed into a visual representation of the brand’s core values and, as such, the event was a major success. At a time of unrest for our transatlantic cousins, here’s how we brought the best of the States to the heart of London.
The best thing about a blank canvas is the infinite potential it possesses. Fort Productions would need to formulate an idea and bring it to life in the space of four weeks, from initial sign off to installation. This would be the second year the client would utilise this space, but like every new batch of beer, they wanted it to be better with each production. With the use of some pre-existing assets, we were tasked with creating a more holistic brand experience that would have a direct impact on the consumer. The event would be live for four days and we had to ensure we transported every single one of the predicted eight thousand customers to their own brewing haven in the depths of Illinois
Elastic and Goose Island wanted to create a fresh and immersive experience to showcase the brand’s heritage and values - so that’s what Fort prioritised We took the consumers right to the heart of the company by making a clear representation of their Chicago tap house. Like the beer that flows from those very taps, we would have to be fluid. The area had to be equally suitable for trade meetings, presentations and a consistent stream of customers.
After identifying the key elements of the tap house alongside the agency, Fort had plenty of ideas fermenting in the think-bank and we were ready to deliver exactly what the brand needed. Where possible we used reclaimed materials to stay aligned with the brand’s ethos..
We started with the entrance – the first thing our customers would see – and created a hanging sign feature and a door way to give a homely feel and make the visitors feel relaxed. We built a back bar featuring bespoke metal fabricated racks, ensuring it could showcase as much product as possible whilst remaining stylish and clean - in line with Goose Island’s brand guidelines. The racks were designed to be freestanding to allow the client to use it for future events. We are passionate about designing and building assets for brands – we want to create products with longevity.
We’re also big on the smaller details. Everything must complement the visualisation of the brand, so we hand-picked the hired furniture, using only filament bulbs with faders to create the perfect ambiance, and made light cages and metal notice boards to give the room a cohesive feel. It’s the little things that count!
But nothing said character like our Michigan wall. There’s no better way to see a city than from a Goose-Eye view. By digitally drawing the map and utilising CNC processes, we recreated the streets and highways of Chicago and Michigan, we even spent days hand-crafting reclaimed wood to age it appropriately.
But did we get it right? Well instead of us telling you, here are the words of David Totez, a senior brewer who walks through the very place we recreated four thousand miles away: ‘It is a perfect representation, I can’t believe the effort that has gone in to capturing the brand and the specifics in the real tap house. I am truly impressed and honoured.’
Goose Island Beer Company’s philosophy is to fuel their customers’ curiosity by evolving their beer experience. But fuel is no use unless you have something to burn – Fort Productions and Elastic provided the kindling that set fire to the customers’ imaginations and allowed their experiences to light up. Our mission at Fort is not simply to design an event based on instructions: we work alongside agencies and brands to plan and deliver a full service package, exploring their clients personalities and idiosyncrasies to make each of our events truly unique.
And as you can see, Fort’s work is so powerful, we even made America great again…