Pennsylvania’s Hop Hedz Official Gear, designed stylish apparel for craft beer enthusiasts. Hop Hedz president and founder, Bart Kaminski chatted with The Guy Corner about the PA craft beer scene, favorite brews and of course Hop Hedz!
What inspired to you create Hop Hedz?
Kaminski: I have a graphic design business called Kollision Media. I was always a huge craft beer enthusiast and after picking up my first brewery client designing beer cans, and labels, etc. I wanted to get more brewery clients because I love designing their products and the people in the craft beer industry are super cool to work with. Very down to earth and small business minded like myself. As the craft beer scene became more popular I began to see more and more beer shirts out there and frankly wasn’t impressed by very many. I began to form some concepts for t-shirts and with the help of family and friends I got together some cool ideas that I thought would sell very well at brew festivals. At the same time I thought by getting behind the scenes at these festivals I would be able to rub shoulders with more brewery owners and I would be able to pick up more clients in the industry. Then to put it quite simply, the t-shirts took off!
What is your favorite type and style of beer?
Kaminski: I am pretty simple when it comes to craft beer. I LOVE IPA’s! My second favorite is the Stout! Depending on my mood, I will gravitate to either one of those. I will also occasionally drink a Belgian, tripel or dubbel, usually around the holidays, but to me, nothing beats the taste of straight hops, which is why the IPA will always be my favorite.
How you do feel about the growing beer industry in PA and which breweries are your favorite to visit?
Kaminski: The beer industry in Pennsylvania is absolutely amazing! I really believe that many of the breweries across the state can easily compare to some of the top dogs in the country. It doesn’t hurt that two giants, Troeg’s Independent Brewing Co. and Victory Brewing Co are right in our back yard! The local scene in Harrisburg is also quite impressive. You can visit over a dozen different breweries within a 20-mile radius and makes for a great beer destination. Not to mention the great cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have many spots as well. We actually just wrapped up Philly Beer Week in June and Harrisburg Beer Week in April. Both were truly awesome!
The beer industry in PA is so relevant that a local production company, GK Visual has set out to tell the story of brewing in PA with their latest documentary ‘Poured in PA.’ Hop Hedz is selling exclusive shirts that benefit the documentary at shows and on our website. We have been working with GK Visual in the beer scene for years. Two years ago they released ‘Brewed in the Burg,’ a documentary profiling the beer scene in the Harrisburg Area. I even have a couple of cameos in the video. If you are looking for a great state to explore many incredible breweries, I highly recommend putting Pennsylvania on your list!
There are so many hidden gems in PA and I hate to leave anyone out but a few of my favorite spots are Pizza Boy Brewing Co, Tired Hands Brewing Co, and Free Will Brewing Co.
Hop Hedz has apparel for both men and women, how has women in the beer industry responded to your brand?
Kaminski: I can’t say enough about the women in the craft beer industry. I have met so many women that are very intelligent beer drinkers, especially here locally. Some very good lady friends of mine even run a beer blog called Stouts and Stilettos. So I knew going into this I was going to have women’s apparel. I have gotten such a great response from the ladies in the craft beer community that I often have more styles and colors available for women then men. Cheers to the lady beer drinkers out there!
Your Craft Kegs & Eggs event was a great success; do you have any other charity events coming up?
Kaminski: Craft Kegs and Eggs is our big charity event that we do every year. It supports Elliott’s CP Journey. Elliott’s CP Journey is a charity that is helping to raise funds for a young man that was born with Cerebral Palsy and blindness. I met his mother, Lisa a few years ago when she approached me about helping to design some posters for her fundraiser. I immediately became involved and have been helping ever since. Lisa also holds a Beer, Bacon, and BBQ every summer for Elliott that we help with as well. We also do a variety of other smaller charity events where we sling some tees and donate a percentage of our sales to the cause. One of the others that we help with is Relay for Life for cancer research.
What’s next for Hop Headz?
Kaminski: The next step for Hop Hedz is the retail market. We are currently putting together a sales team and package to present our brand to breweries, bottle shops, bars, clothing stores, etc. so that they can purchase and resell our gear. I have gained a ton of interest for this since the start and this year we are going to launch that part of our business. This is going to take us to the next level of craft beer apparel.
I share the same passion about my originally designed craft beer apparel company as the craft brewer and the craft beer enthusiast. We are all one in the same, so show off your pride in our nation’s craft beer with Hop Hedz Official Gear!
Check out Hop Hedz Official Gear here https://hophedzgear.com/