Pole Whacker IPA from New Image Brewing promotes avalanche safety

Each ‘Pole Whacker’ IPA can has a QR code that points people to a free avalanche awareness program.

ARVADA, Colo. — A business in Olde Town Arvada found a creative way to get people talking about avalanche safety. It starts with a nice, cold beer.

New Image Brewing released a new beer called ‘Pole Whacker’ that raises awareness about adventuring in the backcountry.  

Each can has a QR code on it that people scan with their phones. The code brings people to the Know Before You Go website. It’s a free program that educates people about avalanche safety.

“What I’m hoping is that if we can provide a more positive, more informative way to reach people outside of this community of awareness so that it’s not exclusively via people calling other people out on Facebook or an article about someone’s death,” said Brandon Capps, the owner and founder of New Image Brewing. “It would be cool if there was a catalyst other than tragedy to point people toward these resources to prevent that from happening.”

Capps, a longtime skier and snowboarder, partnered with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Neature Caps on the idea. Neature Caps is a Denver-based company that makes 80s and 90s style ski hats.

“We have this platform, beer’s fun, it’s approachable, it’s cool,” explained Capp. “Avalanche danger is not necessarily fun, approachable or cool. Backcountry skiing is. Retro, dope hats are cool. Can we combine these things that people want to talk about.”

The businesses came up with the collaboration in January. Four people had died in avalanches in Colorado at that time. Since then, seven more people have died in slides in Colorado. 11 deaths in a season is the most since 2012-2013.  

Capp said he hopes to bridge any disconnect between people who don’t know they need to be aware of backcountry safety and all the resources for education. He thinks the nature of his industry will help start that conversation and serve as a unique platform.

“The openness and candor of the beer industry tends to resonate with people,” said Capp. “People see craft beer as very relatable and human to begin with and they’re more candid with their personal experiences. It hits people a different way than just an influencer throwing something on Instagram.”

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