KALAMAZOO — As a band, Motörhead turned up the volume on ’70s hard rock and the attitude of punk music in a manner that spawned a new genre of speed metal and thrash.
Although Motörhead’s iconic frontman Lemmy Kilmister passed away in 2015, the band hoped to help keep his legacy alive with a beer dubbed Röad Crew, an IPA inspired by the bassist’s no-holds-barred attitude that launched just after his death.
For the first time, that beer will now be available in the U.S. thanks to a licensing partnership with Kalamazoo-based Arcadia Brewing Co., a British-inspired brewery.
Arcadia CEO Tim Suprise said the project came about after nearly two years of discussions with the band, its management, U.K.-based brewer Camerons and Global Merchandising Group.
“Before Lemmy passed away, the legacy he cared about was that people ought to be able to go somewhere and get Motorhead beer,” Suprise told Revue. “This is keeping Lemmy’s legacy alive through a beer in the U.S., and we feel really privileged. This is celebrating what is the essence of the band.”
Arcadia will launch distribution of the Röad Crew brand via its distribution partners across the Great Lakes and Midwest, and the brewert looks to expand from there, according to Suprise.
Röad Crew, named after the band’s song, “(We Are) The Road Crew,” is an American-style IPA that features floral and citrusy hops with a touch of sweetness from the malts, according to the tasting notes. The beer, which clocks in at 6.2-percent alcohol by volume, will be sold in bottles and cans, as well as be distributed in kegs and casks.
While Camerons makes Röad Crew in other markets, the parties decided that rather than export that beer to the U.S., they should partner with an American brewer to ensure the beer was as fresh as possible.
“Similar kind of approach Motörhead took to music — they wanted to be the loudest band on the planet — the dial was all the way turned up with this beer,” Suprise said.
The project came about after Ian Jeffery at Naked Brands Ltd. — an alcohol production, sourcing and logistics company — introduced Arcadia to the U.K.-based J D Wetherspoon pub chain, for which the company brewed a collaboration beer. The collaboration brew also led to an introduction with Global Merchandising Group, Motörhead’s “exclusive merchandise partner.” According to Suprise, Jeffery was “extremely instrumental to create the opportunity for this relationship to evolve.”
Arcadia is starting out with conservative expectations for the project, which will help the company better utilize the brewing capacity it added with the opening of its Kalamazoo brewery in 2015. If it’s a success, the brewery could look to expand into more licensing partnerships in the years ahead, according to Suprise.
“We’re predominantly a Great Lakes and Midwest brewery,” he said. “But if this brand of beer gets a following and takes off, it could expand our geographic footprint.”