JACKSON, WYO. — The most popular beer from Wyoming’s oldest brewery is getting a makeover. Actually, the beer itself will stay the same—it’s the brand that’s getting a refresh. And the change is likely to be a huge boost for the most visited destination in Grand Teton National Park.
Snake River Brewing produces both a Snake River Lager and a Snake River Ale. After 20 years, the brewery figured it was time to rebrand the acclaimed lager as a way to avoid confusion between the two beers. This week, it will be relaunched as Jenny Lake Lager.
“We just thought it was time for a refresh,” said Derek Beardsley, sales director for Snake River Brewing.
One of the early names under consideration was Jenny Lake Lager, Beardsley said last week during a tour of the brewery, where pallets of empty cans with the new name and logo were stacked high, waiting to be filled with the Vienna style lager.
When first considering the rebrand, the brewery approached the National Park Service to make sure there were no conflicts with using the Jenny Lake name or imagery from an iconic Depression-era travel poster, Beardsley said.
That’s when a discussion with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation about the Inspiring Journeys campaign to raise $17 million for repairs and improvements at Jenny Lake led to the idea of tying the new beer brand to the fundraising effort.
The Foundation has raised more than $11 million already, and work is continuing through the next two years to transform Jenny Lake’s trails, bridges, key destinations and visitor complex in time for the National Park Service centennial in 2016.
And starting this summer, cracking open a can of Jenny Lake Lager will be a tasty and easy way for beer lovers to help fund the Inspiring Journeys campaign. Every case sold over the next two years will add roughly an extra dollar to the fundraising effort, Beardsley said.
Foundation President Leslie Mattson said that Jenny Lake Lager is “a great opportunity to partner with a local business that is also interested in enhancing the experience at Jenny Lake for visitors and locals alike.”
Beardsley said the rebrand is a “tribute to a popular spot in the park where locals love to go.”
The new label features an image of snow-capped peaks above Jenny Lake, a reimagining of a poster first produced in the 1930s under the the Federal Art Project, part of the Works Progress Administration.
That new image with a retro feel was created by Doug Leen, who worked for seven years as a ranger at Grand Teton during the 1970s. Leen calls himself the “Ranger of the Lost Art,” and has created dozens of similar new posters in the Art Deco style, promoting national parks across the country.
And while the label art is something special, Beardsley is even prouder of the beer inside the can. Jenny Lake Lager isn’t cheap or easy to brew, and uses imported German malts, which help give the beer a rich, caramel flavor that pairs well with pizza, burgers or steak—the perfect combination after a hike around Jenny Lake.
If you go…
Snake River Brewing will launch its new Jenny Lake Lager on Thursday, May 28 with a party from 5-8 p.m. at the brewpub, 265 S. Millward St. in Jackson. Visit snakeriverbrewing.com for details, and go to gtnpf.org for more on the Inspiring Journeys campaign.
Contact Ruffin Prevost at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].