As part of its 20th anniversary, the Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom is introducing a brand new pale ale, with a high-tech label. The Sno Falls American Pale Ale’s unique label is equipped to display an augmented-reality animation through the free smartphone app Layar.
Augmented reality is the projection of a computer generated object that can be seen in the real world through a camera or screen.
The beer label has simple instructions on how to download the Layar smartphone app and use it to view the animation. Just point your smartphone camera at the label while the app is open and a special animated scene of the Snoqualmie Falls will play on the bottle.
Dave Eiffert, general manager and co-owner of the brewery, explained that the new beer label was part of an effort to keep evolving and creating new flavors and marketing approaches.
“When I came on about four years ago as general manager and stepped out of my last career, we had been stagnant for a while, the labels had been the same or relatively the same for way too long,” he said. “The flavors that we made were all the same and so it was time to start doing something different.”
Eiffert was not familiar with the concept of augmented reality at first, but was introduced to it in March by Josh Tuininga, the owner of the local art design company the brewery works with to produce labels. Tuininga showed Eiffert an example of AR animations in an issue of the Art Institute of Chicago magazine which convinced him to purse the idea of using the technology on their beer labels.
“He comes down and has an Art Institute of Chicago magazine and he flips open to these pages with several kinds of art on them and tells me to download the app… all of a sudden these paintings are coming alive, there is all sorts of wacky stuff happening,” he said. “People became skeletons, food was flying around the scene of this French impressionistic picnic scene.”
The label project is currently in its final phases of getting into stores, Eiffert said. After the final design was created, the label was approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and Washington’s Liquor Control Board, then shipped to distributors.
Eiffert said the new pale ale will be a permanent flavor for the brewery and he hopes to enter it into various beer competitions in the coming year.
The new beer and label are one of the ways the brewery is celebrating its 20th anniversary in downtown Snoqualmie. Eiffert said the business was born in 1997 when he and the four other co-owners decided to start their own craft brewery.
The building the brewery is located in, on Falls Avenue SE next to Sandy Cove Park, was once a Dairy Queen distributor, but once that business moved out, the co-owners took their chance and started their own business.
They began just as a brewery, with some retail sales on weekends, but they opened the taproom in 2007, with seating for 44 customers. In 2011, the brewery expanded the taproom to a total of 180 seats.
“We started out as a production brewery and we did a little bit of retail sales and tasting on weekends,” he said. “When somebody got the bug to open up a taproom, I didn’t think it was going to work. There were various other places to drink, and I didn’t think the community would value this place and clearly, they very much value this place.”
The Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom will also be launching a 20th anniversary beer in October. The AR pale ale is available at the brewery and at local businesses, such as Safeway and IGA.