Courtesy of BridgePort Brew

BridgePort Brewery sent a few bottles of its Original IPA 22 miles into the air.

Mike Pomranz
February 12, 2018

If you’re looking for publicity, one surefire way to gain attention is to launch your product into space. Space isn’t easy to get to: You can’t just drive there—despite what Tesla recently accomplished. Instead, when it comes to getting something into space, you have two options: You can partner with an organization that can send you up on an actual rocket, which was the approach of a brand like Budweiser, or if you prefer a more DIY-approach, you can just use a balloon, which is what Portland, Oregon’s BridgePort Brewing did when they recently sent one of its The Original IPAs into the stratosphere.

Billing it as “the first craft brew into space,” BridgePort used a balloon to send a cooler containing two full bottles of BridgePort The Original IPA about 22 miles into the atmosphere—a distance that put the package clearly into the stratosphere. Yes, it’s debatable to what extent that is actually “space,” but it’s certainly a lot higher than you’re going to get chucking a bottle into the air. In a video showing the launch, the brand states they had to get clearance from the FAA, so this wasn’t just a helium party balloon.

Attached to the top of the cooler was a camera and a depressurized bottle of the IPA (a normal pressurized bottle wouldn’t have survived the change in atmospheric pressure) so regardless of where you define space to start, the launch resulted in the obligatory stunning views of a bottle of beer hovering over the globe in the distance. Post-launch, the brand was able to hunt down the package 55 miles from where it started: The beers were intact and ostensibly they were able to drink them in the name of science later that day.

As for why you would send a beer 22 miles into the air, BridgePort said it was to celebrate its newly renovated Portland brewpub, and the 22 miles was fitting seeing as it’s the beer’s 22nd anniversary. The brewery also made a very wordplay-filled statement about The Original IPA, which the company bills as the Pacific Northwest’s first IPA. “The richness of the region’s hop fields inspired BridgePort and set the benchmark for the IPA style,” said Gregor Mina, Director of Marketing. “Hop boundaries were pushed way out and we felt it would be fun to send the brew that helped shape the category ‘way out there’ into space and mark another first for BridgePort IPA.”