Brewing a love for beer… through swag

What do you do when you love all things beer-related, but you don’t have enough cash to start your own brewery?

You brew beer swag.

Maxwell Arndt, Brett Bartley and Colin McSteen are the three young men behind Swag Brewery, which is devoted to making t-shirts, jewelry and soap, all about beer.


One of Swag Brewery’s popular t-shirts

Arndt (whose favorite beer of the moment is Fitger’s Apricot Wheat) says he and his schoolmate Colin (current beer: Lucid Camo) knew they wanted to do something involving beer after graduating from the Carlson School of Management in the spring of 2011.

Last fall, we started meeting over beers to brainstorm ideas. We really wanted to take advantage of the explosive growth of the home-brewing and craft beer markets so we decided to test the concept of “outfitting” the industry with beer themed apparel and accessories. Since Colin is a graphic artist and I have experience with business, this seemed like a natural fit.

Arndt says at that point the guys started drinking more coffee than beer, and Swag Brewery began to take shape. Brett Bartley (current beer of choice: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine) came on board as the resident web guru, and the team was complete.



Swag Brewery got its launch at the Cloud Craft Beer Expo in late January. Arndt says the business’ main focus is to outfit consumers (often self-identified as “beer geeks”) of the homebrewing and craft beer industries. But the guys have also started to dabble in supplying breweries with branded and private label products for their gift shops and online stores.

But with shopping considered a generally female pastime, and beer-drinking generally considered a primarily male pastime, will Swag Brewery find enough customers for its wares? Arndt thinks so.

We know that women are more likely to “accessorize” their passions. And there are a ton of women-only beer advocacy groups, including Barley’s Angels, for example, which are actively working to involve women in the enjoyment of craft beer. So we do think there is a real market for beer swag for women.


Beer soap

While the guys behind Swag Brewery seem to have found a great niche for their creative energies, Arndt says they haven’t ruled out opening a brewery some day down the road.