FREDERICK, MD – Frederick Brewing Co. is readying an under-the-cap promotion for Hempen Ale and Hempen Gold, the first U.S. beers brewed with hemp seeds. The first consumer marketing for the year-old brand centers on P-O-P and print ads tagged “It’s perfectly legal.” Ads break first in San Francisco, Frederick’s newest market, with plans to roll out to Frederick’s other markets in 34 states later this summer. Ads position Hempen as a counter-culture brand by making fun of obscure laws, including an Illinois law that forbids giving lighted tobacco products to domesticated animals, and a California law that forbids setting a mousetrap without a hunting license. The under-the-cap game encourages consumers to collect bottle caps to redeem for prizes. Game caps started last month, with a goofy law printed inside each cap; premiums likely will include 100 percent hemp hats, T-shirts, key chains, and hemp leis. The promo “is a first for us; it’ll be exciting to see how people react,” says Jonathan Gambill, marketing director. The campaign likely will be flagged on the brewery’s Web site, www.hempenale.com.
Frederick has begun getting requests from as far as Peru and Finland for Hempen, which is brewed with hemp seeds. The brewery buys its seeds from China and Eastern Europe, but may begin sourcing them from Canada, where hemp cultivation has just been legalized, Gambill adds. The Campbell Group, Baltimore, handles ads; promos are done in-house. Frederick Brewing was founded in 1992 and went public in ’96.