The worldwide craft beer boom has brought us some very exciting and innovative beers and breweries. Sweden’s Omnipollo (meaning “Omnipotent Chicken”) is no different. These gypsy brewers started in 2011 and have been combining art and beer to “recontextualize” what craft beer is, in the hopes of broadening tastes.
They have some wild and crazy adjuncts ranging from polenta, pineapple, spearmint and beyond. Their creative use of ingredients push the boundaries of what is traditionally defined as craft beer.
They brew all over the world, from US the Sweden. Ratebeer ranked them one of the Top 100 Brewers in the world in 2014.
Bloomberg highlighted in the in a recent article.
Consisting of Henok Fentie (the liquid half, a longtime home brewer-turned pro) and Karl Grandin (the aesthetic half, co-founder of the popular Cheap Monday clothing brand), the like-minded duo has, in its short life, shaken up the craft market on both taste and visual fronts.
“Me and Karl work independently,” says Fentie. “I write recipes[and] brew and Karl creates art, yet we’re in constant conversation about what influences us at a specific time.”
The two crossed paths and began discussing the insular craft beer scene in Sweden and abroad. They both felt it needed to be recontextualized; in a sense, it needed to be made more fashionable in order to appeal to more people. A partnership, then, between a brewer and a designer made perfect sense.
Fentie’s eclectic recipes have been key in Omnipollo’s success and its insistence on moving from niche to niche. Fan of bitter? Crisp? Fruity? Rich? Sour? They’ve got you covered. Then there’s the high-concept packaging, courtesy of Grandin, which includes such out-there efforts as Yellow Belly, an imperial stout produced in collaboration with U.K.’s Buxton Brewery. Modeled after peanut butter biscuits but brewed without biscuits, butter, or peanuts, the bottle comes wrapped in white paper with nothing but two black dots above the beer’s name. It resembles, not unintentionally, a Ku Klux Klansman—a bold visual statement for a simple bottle of beer. The brewers offered the following in the commercial description: “Taste, enjoy, and don’t be prejudiced.”
“Karl [is] the most talented graphic mind in Sweden and, in my mind, the world,” says Fentie. “I think that [his] mind-bending artwork gave us extra lives whenever I went too far out on the experimental limb.”
Fentie and Grandin recently parlayed their momentum as gypsy brewers into a brick-and-mortar venture (an uncommon move), in the form of Omnipollos hatt (116 46, Hökens gata 3, 116 46 Stockholm). It’s a homey pizza bar in Stockholm forged in collaboration with Swedish outfit Pizzahatt. Offering “new-school” pies and an array of Omnipollo taps, the space itself almost resembles a Being John Malkovich-esque portal into the brain-space of its creators, featuring Grandin’s colorfully illustrative touches. “The idea is to put all our effort into the small stuff around these 10 taps, cleanliness, temperature, gas blend, pouring technique, glass care, etc. Ultimately providing an uncluttered and memorable beer experience,” says Fentie.