On March 26, Atlanta-based marketing veteran Craig Stroud II and craft beer pioneer Ale Sharpton came together to craft the perfect mashup experience. The two brought together the craft beer and sneaker community to celebrate the iconic Nike Air Max. March 26, known as Nike Air Max Day, celebrates 30-plus years of style, culture, design and innovation.
With their friends at Inner Voice Brewing in Decatur, Georgia, Stroud and Sharpton released the Air Max-inspired “ALE MAX 1” beer. Stroud and Sharpton spoke with rolling out about Ale Max Day and bringing the community together.
What inspired you guys to do this?
Ale Sharpton: This event is about people coming together in downtown Decatur. They’ve never seen anything like this, but we made it happen. We came to one of the best breweries that make the best IPAs. That’s what we went with, and everybody loves it. It’s been a brilliant engagement.
Craig Stroud III: The mantra of this is all about sneakers and beer culture. There are so many similarities and it’s been happening already, but no one put it together and created an amazing mashup. That’s what this was, to say that this is what was already happening regularly, but we’re going to put a spotlight on that. We made it super inclusive and aspirational in the sense that everybody’s like, “we should be doing more of this.” That’s all we’ve heard today. It’s great that we have family and friends and we know a brewery that sells pizza. I brought my kids, and we have friends who brought their kids and it felt overly inclusive, the fact that you can bring your kids to an event [like this] and feel comfortable with that.
What beers should Atlantans be drinking?
AS: The beautiful thing about Atlanta is there are so many different beers to choose from, so we can’t name three. A lot of breweries support what’s going on in Atlanta right now, but Inner Voice hosted us and made one of the best beers that are out. From beer nerds to people who don’t know about beer, they’re like “Wow, I really love this.” So it’s not hoppy. It’s very well-balanced, and it all comes together. I love this.
CS: I would say, as [Ale] would tell me all the time, support your local brewery. It’s just like sneaker culture. There are parallels between sneaker culture and local brewers. Every grocery store sells beer and Foot Locker sells every sneaker, but if you want to get a pulse of what’s going on in either of those cultures, you have to go local. We talk about the southeast region, and even more, nationally, Ale is that guy. I trusted him with a vision. After all of the marketing stuff was in place, we said this is what we should do, and it made us come together and collaborate.