THE INTERNATIONAL RAINBOW PROJECT
The Rainbow Project began in 2013 and was initially the brainchild of Ryan Witter-Merithew (then Head Brewer at Siren Craft Brew). Since its humble beginnings this celebration of collaborative and innovative brewing has become a key fixture in the annual beer calendar,
Here’s how it all came about…
2013 | UNITED KINGDOM 🇬🇧
For its first outing, The Rainbow Project brought together seven of our favourite breweries from the UK: Magic Rock, Partizan, Hawkshead, Kernel, Brodies and Buxton. Each brewery was asked to brew an IPA loosely based around a colour which was randomly assigned to them and a small launch party was held at King William IV in London. People travelled from all over the country to find out what all the fuss was about, and they weren’t disappointed, as each brewery made the most of the opportunity to experiment with ideas, recipes and brewing techniques.
2014 | UNITED KINGDOM 🇬🇧 & EUROPE 🇪🇺
Upping the ante for 2014, we decided to call up some friends from Europe (+ Evil Twin) to add a whole new dimension to the project. On the UK side Beavertown replaced Brodies and Wild Beer Co replaced The Kernel. The random pairings came out as follows:
Magic Rock + Evil Twin (Denmark/New York) – Red
Beavertown + Naparbier (Spain) – Orange
Buxton + Omnipollo (Sweden) – Yellow
Hawkshead + Lervig (Norway) – Green
Partizan + Mikeller (Denmark) – Blue
Wild Beer Co + Toccalmatto (Italy) – Indigo
Siren + De Molen (The Netherlands) – Violet
Launch events were held at Beavertown (London), Port Street Beer House (Manchester), Small Bar (Bristol), Hanging Bat (Edinburgh), Torst (USA) and Man in the Moon (Stockholm). We also put together 250 mixed cases, each including the seven collaboration brews and a souvenir glass.
2015 | UNITED KINGDOM 🇬🇧 & UNITED STATES 🇺🇸
Now in its third outing, 2015 represented a breakthrough year for the project. Excitement was rife after the success of the European creations, and as word got around that we were looking to the USA for inspiration, we were lucky enough to perk the interest of state-side breweries considered to be brewing some of the best beer in the world. Our transatlantic pairings lined up like this:
Magic Rock + Cigar City (Florida) – Red
Buxton + Arizona Wilderness (Arizona) – Orange
Partizan + Prairie Artisan Ales (Oklahoma) – Yellow
Hawkshead + Crooked Stave (Colorado) – Green
Siren Craft Brew + Surly (Minnesota) – Blue
Beavertown + Dogfish Head (Delaware) – Indigo
Wild Beer Co + Firestone Walker (California) – Violet
We held brewery launch events at Magic Rock and Beavertown, plus bars operated by Buxton and Wild Beer Co. This was supplemented by events at Port Street Beer House (Manchester), Small Bar (Bristol) and Hanging Bat (Edinburgh). This time 1,000 Mixed Cases were put together and sold at the events and online, with demand outstripping supply once again, even with the 750 more sets than 2014.
2016 | UNITED KINGDOM 🇬🇧 & NEW ZEALAND 🇳🇿
The 2016 International Rainbow Project headed to New Zealand! Following the unprecedented success of the 2015 project, we wanted to strike while the iron was hot and snap up some of the breweries making the best beer in the world.
From the UK we were joined by Beavertown, Burning Sky (making their Rainbow Project debut), Hawkshead, Partizan and Wild Beer Co. Our New Zealand counterparts were the superb: 8 Wired, Fork & Brewer, Garage Project, Liberty Brewing, Panhead, ParrotDog and Yeastie Boys.
We made the draw live on #CraftBeerHour – the organised Twitter chat specifically for craft beer fans every Tuesday evening, and then came full circle when the beers were announced on the channel just before launch date. On September 17th 2016 we released 1,500 mixed cases, which included all seven of the year’s beers along with a souvenir Rainbow Project 2016 glass. The mixed cases were available from official brewery party launch events including at Siren Craft Brew, Magic Rock and Beavertown. A limited amount of mixed cases were also available to purchase online, through our partners at HonestBrew. We air-freighted over kegs from all the New Zealand breweries, which made the launch parties unique opportunities to try some of the best hoppy beer in the world.