Enjoy a pint at craft beer bars all over town or have a swig at one of their regular community events

What’s better than enjoying a pint of your favourite craft brew? Enjoying it with a bunch of people who like it as much as you do, all while sharing in other common interests as well. At least, that’s what the folks behind the newly launched Off Day Beer Company believe in.

Five fellas—Casey Choo, Daryl Yeap, Jasmin Wong, Kasster Soh and Kevin Ngan—have gathered together to co-found this new craft brewery. If their names sound familiar, that’s because they are all common faces in the beer scene. Under them are businesses ranging from bars to breweries, distributors to bottle shops; and they are putting that combined smorgasboard of experience to good use.

“Everybody has a very different, nuanced role in the company. It’s made up of people who have been around in the industry for many years,” says Choo, who is also the founder of local beer label That Singapore Beer Project. “Our roles are not cut distinctly. When we do things we always ask each other and bounce ideas off each other.”

But what ties them together under the new Off Day banner is the common belief that craft brews are meant to be enjoyed by everyday people, not just beer geeks. In fact, they have taken that a step further by introducing at launch Off Day Sessions, a series of events that reach out to people with interests as varied as pottery and cycling.

That doesn’t mean the beers are an afterthought, by no means. With their launch, they have introduced to the market four beers—an eponymous Off Day Beer (an IPA), the Off Day Pale, Off Day Haze, and the Off Day Double. And from our initial impressions, we must say they don’t pale in comparison to other craft beers in the market.

To find out how this all really ties together, we sat down with Choo, over a couple of Off Day beers of course, and found out what’s brewing when he’s not having an off day.

Casey Choo

Tell me about your role at Off Day Beer Company.

I’m more involved in the conceptualisation and how we intend to reach out to our consumers. I work very closely with Jasmin on the look and feel of the brand, the visual imagery of the product. From the experience I got from That Singapore Beer Project, I do give input on how certain styles should be, although it still boils down to how Daryl our brewmaster operationalises it in the brewery. But my experience helps me understand where the consumers come from. If I can know their preferences, I can design something I think they will like. That’s how we came up with our first four core beers. Everyone has a hand in it.

All the co-founders are from the industry and in different businesses. What made you guys come together to start this?

We all know and like each other, and we know we work well together. The vibes are right and the approach towards craft beer is correct. We are not fond of trying too hard. We just want to do an honest business together. There was always talk on how we can work together rather than see each other as competing brands, even though others may see it as that. Each of us bring to the table different skills, from brewing to distribution all the way to retail and bar.

With so many differing inputs, how did you guys arrive at the final end products?

The end-consumer of Off Day Beer is the everyday guy. I keep saying it’s the beer people wanna drink on their off day, because that was the original idea of it. It’s something to celebrate our everyday moments with. We the founders have the same goal in mind, and our combined experience helps us get there. The best example will be our flagship Off Day Beer. It’s bright, tropical and crisp and it lets people who are into the stereotypical beer get that same familiarity. We also designed the hoppiness to be a little bit fruity so that even non beer drinkers might fancy it.

Why the focus on IPAs and pale ales for your initial four core beers?

It’s hop-driven. I think it’s just a matter of consumption patterns. Personally, when we work behind a bar or when we’re at events, we find that the beer that most people like is something that is hoppy. Of course we notice other styles like stouts and sour beers moving, and that’s definitely something on our mind, but we need to start somewhere and hoppiness is something we can play around with in terms of drinkability and alcohol levels. The Haze for example is something craft beer geeks can take to, yet it’s low in alcohol and so fruity that it can still be a lunchtime beer. But we also got the Double, cause we just gotta have one with a real punch. So they’re designed with the consumers in mind. It’s easy access, but also something the craft beer community will want.

You mentioned more core beers are coming in the pipeline?

We are firm believers in the concept of right place and time. The time will come for seasonals, collabs, one-offs, and some of these might even earn their place in our core range.

What kind of flavours can we expect?

We want to see how the trends go first. But what we notice so far is that people are drinking less, so we want to offer something that people can more easily take to.

And when can we expect them?

We don’t really have a set timeline, but it definitely won’t be within the first three months of Off Day Beer launching. The reason for that is because we really want to develop the four core beers, to really give them a presence in the market first, instead of just launching more beers that we also have to push. These beers are really the fruits of our labour, so we want to make sure we give them the right attention. It’ll be a calculated decision when we do release the next ones, and not just because of trends. We’ll eventually release 10 in the core range but simultaneously release seasonals.

What’s the thought process behind the seasonals?

It’s a little too early to say to be honest, but when we come to that, you’ll be the first to know. Right now what we intend to do is to push out the first four beers to as many venues as possible. We want to spend enough time developing the Off Day brand as well, and so we’re doing things that are a little different from the others out there. We want to focus a lot on the flavours, but also on the brand identity.

Off Day beers and merch

Yes I notice you guys have the Off Day Sessions events. How did that come about?

That is really part of the brand association part of things, to get people to relate to Off Day. As a brand, we wanted it to relate to things that people enjoy, and which can be enjoyed with a beer. We want it to be associated with your life. Let’s say you enjoy reading. It’s usually difficult to connect reading with beer, but we want to start building that association through Off Day Sessions. More importantly, over the long term, we want to build a community. Beer may not even be the center of it all, but that’s what we want to get into with this.

It sounds to me like people come first and the beer is secondary.

The liquid is very important and we spend a lot of time on that, but at the same time it’s more than that. It’s about the people who drink it as well. The beer is complementary.

What can I expect at an Off Day Session?

It’s really a blank canvas. But it needs to be fun and it has to be about the community. Anything from dog walking to group cycling to yoga. These sessions are just about gathering people together, and it doesn’t need to be held at a bar or a club.

You are also the one behind That Singapore Beer Project. How different is this from that?

The intention behind the beers is very different. For example, with Hawkers’ Dream Ale, that’s a beer where I asked hawkers what they would like, found out how they interacted with beer, then we made the beer according to that. With Off Day, it’s both a bottom-up and top-down approach with all the co-founders because we all have experiences in the industry. The process is very different.

Which one of the four core beers is your current favourite?

The Off Day Beer. If you’re from the beer industry, sometimes you have to go to the brewery early in the morning and drink from the tank. You won’t even have had your coffee yet. Then you go to the bar and keg a new beer and you drink again. There’s a lot of drinking involved and often with big flavours. Off Day Beer is designed in such a way that it is light and refreshing, yet has all the flavours I look out for. It has a long finish yet not as bitter or as strong. It is an everyday beer, and I hope others see it that way too.

How did the label of the beer come about?

We scoured online for an artist and interviewed quite a number of them. We were looking for someone who lives and breathes what the brand is about, and not just someone who is there to churn out artwork. So we asked them things like “What do you normally do?”, “Where do you usually hang out?” and “What do you do on your off day?”, rather than about technical skills. We are finding out if we vibe with each other. Eventually we chose Jacelyn because she’s really chill and someone we know we can hang out with.

Off Day Beer is available on tap or in bottles at Almost Famous, Freehouse, Good Luck Beerhouse, Orh Gao Taproom and Temple Cellars, among many others. More info here.