Tell Us Your IPA Story - Nick Godfrey
By: Nick Godfrey - Former Harpoon Creative Director Published:
(Nick Godfrey, front and center, and the rest of the Harpoon Brewery team in 1993).
As you share all of your IPA stories, we want to share some of our own. In anticipation of this promotion, we spent some time reminiscing with some of the folks who have been involved with or supported Harpoon IPA over the past 20 years, and we asked them what they remembered. For this post, we have invited Nick Godfrey, who was the mastermind behind the original Harpoon IPA design, to tell his story:
At the time of the IPA launch as the first Harpoon summer seasonal there was a lot going on at Harpoon. There were about 10 of us in the company, craft beers were in mid-stride of taking off, and we were gaining momentum as a brewery. Harpoon Ale was our lead beer, with the Golden Lager in distant 2nd place. For seasonals, the Winter Warmer had been around for a number of years and was a fixture on the shelves and taps. Octoberfest which had only been on draft was now bottled. We wanted to expand into spring and summer. At this time this was not a standard practice for any brand, yet others were beginning to introduce seasonals.
For Spring, our thinking was to have a more full bodied beer to be enjoyed in the cold. Stout was the choice for this. For Summer we wanted a beer that was different from the current Ale and Golden Lager, that was unlike other competing brands and was a recognized, traditional style. I don’t believe that there was a Light-Bulb-Moment where IPA was born, yet quite quickly it was settled that this was to be the first Harpoon Summer seasonal.
My role at Harpoon was marketing, and since there were so few of us with everyone wearing multiple hats, so I also ended up doing all design. This included packaging. The Octoberfest was the first Harpoon beer in the current packaging style, with the checks, the corner decorations (leaves for the fall), and oval with the name Harpoon boldly placed in red, in the center. The thinking here was that the design and colors would pop off the shelf. The IPA looked as it does now with complimentary blue and orange that really pop, flowers, spears and ribbons.
IPA, or India Pale Ale, is a traditional British beer that was originally made for the British troops in India. The flowers chosen for the IPA packaging are summer Tiger Lilies – and there are also tigers in India. A match! The spears (not Harpoons) on the sides of the oval around the Harpoon logo represent the spears that the British officers, after treating themselves to a pint of IPA, would use to hunt.
It is great to see how this great beer has risen to be recognized and appreciated by beer drinkers as a leading brew in Boston and well beyond. Cheers!
Have a story like Nick? Share it with us in our contest for a chance at winning the "Harpoon IPA Experience" for a year, including entry to and accommodations at all of our festivals in Boston and Windsor, VT.