Ask Jason Potchen to describe McFly’s Gentlemen Shop, which he established with business partner Verrell Kerney in 2012, and he might just compare it to a cold one. As he explains it, “If the hair industry were beer, there are many different levels and they all have their fans. The huge chains are comparable to a Budweiser or a Miller Light: available everywhere, lower cost and cater to the general public. McFly’s is definitely comparable to a high-end craft beer: more exclusive, higher price point, knows its target audience and caters exclusively to it.”
The Crown Point, Indiana, business boasts a fraternity-like atmosphere with an eclectic and quirky staff. “Personality is king in our shop,” Potchen says. So perhaps it’s no surprise that McFly’s strong brand of personality has flavored even their beverage offering—the shop carries its own craft IPA (that’s India pale ale for you teetotalers), and is available on tap and free to customers.
Named ’Till Death Do Us Part, the custom brew is a collaboration with Crown Brewery, who approached them with the idea. “We sat down with the head rewmasters and came up with the style, look, smell and taste of the American IPA, as well as how strong we wanted it,” says Potchen, who describes the beer as “very aromatic and drinkable.” So drinkable, in fact, that the IPA has won over McFly’s most skeptical customers. “They expected it to taste like Barbicide and hair,” he laughs. “But when they try it, everyone has uttered the exact same phrase: ‘It’s actually really good!’”
As for the unforgettable name of their barbershop brew? The McFly’s partners vetoed naming the beer after the shop, since they wanted it to have wide appeal (the beer is also available in bombers or kegs—and soon in six-pack cans—at regional stores, bars and restaurants). “We came up with ’Till Death Do Us Part [as a play on words]. Death with a part, get it? And the logo has a skull with a side-parted haircut,” Potchen relates. Barber tools decorate the border, and the shop’s information is printed on every bottle. “Anyone who purchases the beer essentially has McFly’s business card attached to it.”
And craft beer drinkers make the perfect potential clients for McFly’s. “People who love craft beer tend to love us, because we don’t pretend to be anything other than what we are,” says Potchen. “Having our own craft beer taps into the target audience that we want in our establishment. If you’re a craft beer lover, you’ll ‘get’ McFly’s.”
–by Kelly Cison
[Images: Courtesy of Jason Potchen]