Back Forty Beer Company
The Start of Something Special
In 2008, after several years in the corporate world and with over 150 brewery tours under his belt, founder Jason Wilson reached out to renowned Brewmaster Jamie Ray and asked for his help in developing the recipes for Back Forty Beer Company. The goal for the liquid was simple—to expose Southerners to the same craft beer culture that Wilson had been a part of for the last ten years. This meant starting out with classic beer styles and evolving with customers along the way. Jamie agreed and in January of 2009 he would become Back Forty’s first employee.
The next challenge to overcome was raising the money necessary to build a brewery. Resources were limited, and at one point it looked like the project may have to be put on hold due to lack of funding. As a last resort, Wilson reached out to a microbrewery in the neighboring state of Mississippi and asked them if it would be possible to use their space to help get Back Forty’s beers to the market and hopefully build some momentum that would assist in securing the funds needed to build Back Forty’s own facility.
Another challenge was developing an identity to give this new company a voice and brand presence it could build and grow with. In February of 2009, Mindvolt met with Jason at the Cracker Barrel in Gadsden, Alabama for a quick study on the vision of his new company.
Mindvolt would work with Jason over the next 2 months to name the company, name the first 2 beers (Naked Pig & Truck Stop Honey), and develop initial designs for the company logo and packaging.
What’s in a Name?
Ultimately the name Jason would end up selecting would be Back Forty Beer. The name is inspired by an old agricultural term referring to the 40 acres of land situated furthest from the barn. The back 40 acres are historically the most challenging land to maintain and are often overlooked due to their remote location. Likewise, Alabama is widely seen as the wasteland for craft beer in America. With mass produced light beer being the drink of choice for many Southerners, the craft beer market here has been largely ignored. However, if you dig a little deeper into the story of the back 40 you will see that because the soil is rarely used, it’s very fertile and is actually capable of producing a tremendous yield. And just like the farm, the Deep South’s craft beer culture is fertile and primed for harvest.
Bringing a Brand to Life
Mindvolt presented Back Forty with a new brand identity and design that has since gone on to win numerous national awards, ranked second in BuzzFeed’s “30 Beers for the design lover in you,” and being published in PRINT’S “Coolest Beer Labels” book. Not mention, creating a brand identity that would quickly become recognizable and iconic not only in the Southeast, but also across the country and into Canada and Mexico.
Back Forty Today
Since January 2012 capacity has tripled at the brewery, with another 2X expansion being completed now (late 2015). Back Forty is also extending its reach into Canada and Mexico. Last year (2014) Back Forty donated over $20,000 to local charities while strengthening the network of artists and dreamers who are changing the cultural landscape in The Deep South.