The ocean and video games may have nothing to do with craft beer unless you’re a member of a California-based restaurant chain’s unique beer club.
The Lazy Dog Beer Club, based in Costa Mesa, provides members with a quarterly 8-pack of four craft beers — brewed by various breweries — with beer names and label art based on a particular theme. Last month’s release was entitled Deep Sea Society, and the previous release was Hophead Supercade.
Club members pay $39 quarterly or $175 annually (annual members receive five 8-packs) and must pick up the beer at one of 46 Lazy Dog restaurants. The chain, which was founded in 2003, has restaurants in California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Virginia, Florida, Georgia and Illinois.
Chris Simms, the founder of the restaurants and the beer club, explains the nautical theme of the most recent — the 17th — club release.
“Deep Sea Society is inspired by deep sea abyss,” Simms says. “There’s a lot of mystery when it comes to the dark depths of the ocean, and we bring that spirit of adventure and mystery to life with this release.”
For the Deep Sea release, Lazy Dog Beer Club teamed with Able Baker Brewing Company in Las Vegas; East Brother Beer Co. in Richmond, California; Oswego Brewing Company in Oswego, Illinois, and Thorn Brewing Co. in San Diego.
Club members received a related zine, restaurant discounts, other perks and cans of Able Baker’s Deep Sea Deco, a West Coast double IPA with grapefruit; Oswego’s Beyond the Shadow, a golden ale with hibiscus; East Brother’s The Monster Itself, an English brown ale, and Thorn’s Dark Abyss, a black kölsch.
The Lazy Dog Beer Club’s previous release was entitled Hophead Supercade, a salute to retro arcade games of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“This theme was meant to transcend generations and connect with all our members, whether they grew up hanging out at a local arcade with a roll of quarters or only know about 8-bit design from NFT avatars,” Simms says.
The breweries involved in the Lazy Dog releases work with a design team or agency to develop can artwork that suits their brands and adheres to the quarterly theme. Artists design the 8-pack bottle holders, and Lazy Dog’s “in-house creative team guides the full process and creates the zine that brings the full story together,” Simms says.
The first Lazy Dog Resaurant and Bar was opened by Simms and his father in 2003 in Huntington Beach, California. They aimed “to create a unique experience for guests that delivers innovative twists on American dishes served in a setting inspired by a warm, contemporary mountain lodge,” Simms says.
“I’m a third-generation restaurateur, and Lazy Dog was inspired by my memories of spending time at my family’s ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming,” he adds. “The mountains are my favorite place to get away and connect with the most important things in life. With Lazy Dog, I wanted to create that same experience for our guests and create that warmth and care you find in a small mountain town.”