Before the financial crisis of 2008, Luke Bowen and Trevor Hayward were just typical college students who had a dream of pursuing a career in the beer industry. Luke and Trevor met while attending Villanova University. At the time, both young men were interested in craft beer but felt as though getting a degree, applying for jobs, and climbing the corporate ladder was the right thing to do. However, things changed in 2008 when employment was difficult to come by, and the duo were forced to consider their options strategically. Luckily for them, and us, the two men decided to follow their dreams and create a business of their own. In 2010, with the help of their family and friends, Evil Genius Beer company was born.
You can imagine that opening a brewery is not a small investment, especially for two young men fresh out of college. Instead of taking on the expense of buying equipment and physical space to create their product, Luke and Trevor bounced around the country, making partnerships with breweries in New York, Indiana, and Connecticut for the first six years of the business. The smart financial decision to delay buying a location paid off for Luke and Trevor in 2013, when they finally decided to settle in the city that brought them together, Philadelphia.
Before the brewery opened in 2016, Luke and Trevor wanted to be sure that they were giving their consumers a place that was enjoyable and would bring back some fond, nostaglic memories along the way.
Jon Defibaugh, current Head Brewer of Evil Genius, joined the team in 2013 to assist Luke and Trevor in opening the Philadelphia brewery. Jon’s brewing experience at Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, PA, as well as Earth Bread and Brewery in Mt. Airy, PA, provided him with a great background and extensive knowledge of various beer styles that have since been used to build Evil Genius’ creative brand. “The Lab,” is the name given to the Philadelphia brewery, aligns with the brand extremely well with its turn of the century theme. Classic board games are available as well as old school video game consoles, such as Atari and Nintendo 64. Even the menus, which are all printed on old VHS tape boxes, align with the theme.
Building a successful brand is not easy, especially in the crowded beer industry. Luke and Trevor wanted to be sure that in addition to brewing delicious beer, the brand that surrounds it needs to be equally as strong. There cannot be one without the other. They decided to craft their strategy around nostalgic, creative beer names that would hopefully resonate with their target market. Since most of their consumers were born in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the focus was centered around events, pop culture, products, and influencers of the time.
Evil Genius’ flagship beer, Stacy’s Mom, a single-hopped American IPA with Citra hops, was named after the hit song of the early 2000s. Purple Monkey Dishwasher, a porter brewed with chocolate and peanut butter, received its name after it was used in an episode of The Simpsons. Throughout the years, Evil Genius has named their beers accordingly based on current pop culture and events. Some current favorites of ours include I Love Lamp, a German Hefeweizen brewed with pineapple that got its name from the popular line in the hit movie Anchorman. #Adulting, guava infused IPA is a beer that is truly unique and enjoyable sip after sip.
Evil Genius has taken the traditional way of brewing beer and made their own little twist by adding quirky ingredients and names that pair perfectly with their brand identity. In the past, the Lab has featured some pretty outrageous beers that were extremely well thought out and surprisingly very balanced. Magically Delicious, a New England Style IPA is brewed with Lucky charms. Pick Me, Love Me, Choose Me is a strawberry rose glitter beer with added edible glitter. Slide Into The DM’s is a white chocolate mocha latte amber ale. All of their past creations, along with their clever names, can be found on their website.
Coming from experience, a visit to the Evil Genius Beer Company is highly recommended. The atmosphere, music, food, and overall feel of the place makes it very worthwhile. Not to mention the beers are out of this world, some of which are exclusive to The Lab. Head over in the warmer months to take advantage of the spacious outdoor beer garden. Evil Genius has used their clever marketing tactics to draw in consumers throughout the years, and it has worked to their benefit.
I am looking forward to the future of Evil Genius, more silly names, and more serious beers.
1727 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122 • http://evilgeniusbeer.com/
About Kramer Beverage
Kramer Beverage is South Jersey’s largest beer wholesaler, owned and operated by four generations of the Kramer family since 1924. Kramer Beverage is based out of Hammonton, Atlantic County, and services eight counties in southern New Jersey with top brands from MillerCoors, Constellation, Yuengling, Boston Beer, Heineken USA, Pabst, Diageo, FIFCO, and more. Kramer Beverage also distributes a wide variety of craft beers, from suppliers such as New Belgium and Sierra Nevada, to local favorites including Flying Fish, Double Nickel, Evil Genius, Glasstown, Sly Fox, and 2SP. For more information on Kramer Beverage, please visit www.kramerbev.com.