Behind New Balance’s Real Ale Pack – An Interview with the Team Behind New Balance’s Real Ale Pack – An Interview with the Team

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Eins steht fest – das “Real Ale” Pack ist besonders und erzählt eine Geschichte, die nur von New Balance kommen kann. Aus dem Grund wollten wir noch mehr darüber wissen und haben die drei Leute von NB befragt, die es wissen müssen: Designer Marc Godfre, Footwear Developer Chris Hodgson und Factory Manager Andy Okolowicz. Zehn Fragen, zehn Antworten – here we go.

What was the original inspiration for the Real Ale Pack?
Marc Godfre: The idea of a pack is well established now, but several years ago, before it went mainstream, we started doing them. And we always tried to tap into quintessential English culture. Probably five years ago we did the Pub pack and we see the Real Ale as a move on from it.

Why pub culture?
Marc Godfre: Well, we could associate what we do here at New Balance in terms of craftsmanship and how long it takes to learn a process like that. What it takes to perfect a process like shoemaking as we do, and what it takes to make real ale. We see them as two things that really take a lifetime to learn how to really do. And do them well.

How are the ales translated in this pack?
Marc Godfre: So as you can see the CT300 here is sort of a golden pale ale. And the 576 is based on a darker almost stout-like ale. And the 1500 is a red amber ale. So there’s a direct color direction from there.

The pack was made in Flimby – why?
Chris Hodgson: The reason for us being here is that we have access to the best materials available in the world. The best leathers, the best suedes are all made in Europe. It’s our one unique proposition. In addition to the fact that the guys out there are 20 times better than anybody else in the world.

How different is the production process in Flimby from the factories that New Balance has in the US?

Marc: I think the Skowhegan factory up in Maine was also originated back in 1982. The same year we started manufacturing here. So in terms of age, the factories are very similar as well.
Andy Okolowicz: Our factories are very similar actually. But each factory throughout the New Balance organization has got its own footprint, its own look. I think that in Flimby we have developed a look of the shoes that is rather unique.
Chris Hodgson: I do think we tend to use slightly softer materials in general and we have a lot of guys here with lots of experience in making shoes. Our people have been in the industry for 40 years, long before they came to New Balance.

What came out best in the Real Ale Pack, in your opinion?
Marc Godfre: I think the colors are really, really strong. And the pigskin we used is grade A stuff, really luxurious pigskin. The quality is great and the story ties in nicely with the colors.

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to producing shoes in England?
Marc Godfre: We try to source as many materials as we can from the UK and Europe. So that’s always a big challenge, trying to find what we want within the region. A lot of people would go to Asia to find what they need.

Group interview

Chris Andy and Marc

Andy Okolowicz

Andy and Marc

Group interview2

material

Pub pack

Real Ale 1500

Real Ale CT300

Real Ale576By now, it’s established – “Real Ale” is a unique pack with a story that only New Balance can tell. We wanted to know more about it from an insider perspective, which is why we talked to the team responsible for it. We interviewed Designer Marc Godfre, Footwear Developer Chris Hodgson and Factory Manager Andy Okolowicz. Here’s what they had to say.

Real Ale 1500The 1500 “Cumbrian Red” – the star of the pack for many

What was the original inspiration for the Real Ale Pack?
Marc Godfre: The idea of a pack is well established now, but several years ago, before it went mainstream, we started doing them. And we always tried to tap into quintessential English culture. Probably five years ago we did the Pub pack and we see the Real Ale as a move on from it.

Why pub culture?
Marc Godfre: Well, we could associate what we do here at New Balance in terms of craftsmanship and how long it takes to learn a process like that. What it takes to perfect a process like shoemaking as we do, and what it takes to make real ale. We see them as two things that really take a lifetime to learn how to really do. And do them well.

Pub packThe 2010 Pub pack, which is referenced by the Real Ale Pack

How are the ales translated in this pack?
Marc Godfre: So as you can see the CT300 here is sort of a golden pale ale. And the 576 is based on a darker almost stout-like ale. And the 1500 is a red amber ale. So there’s a direct color direction from there.

The pack was made in Flimby – why?
Chris Hodgson: The reason for us being here is that we have access to the best materials available in the world. The best leathers, the best suedes are all made in Europe. It’s our one unique proposition. In addition to the fact that the guys out there are 20 times better than anybody else in the world.

Real Ale576Brewed in England – the 576

How different is the production process in Flimby from the factories that New Balance has in the US?
Marc: I think the Skowhegan factory up in Maine was also originated back in 1982. The same year we started manufacturing here. So in terms of age, the factories are very similar as well.
Andy Okolowicz: Our factories are very similar actually. But each factory throughout the New Balance organization has got its own footprint, its own look. I think that in Flimby we have developed a look of the shoes that is rather unique.

Chris Hodgson: I do think we tend to use slightly softer materials in general and we have a lot of guys here with lots of experience in making shoes. Our people have been in the industry for 40 years, long before they came to New Balance.

material

What came out best in the Real Ale Pack, in your opinion?
Marc Godfre: I think the colors are really, really strong. And the pigskin we used is grade A stuff, really luxurious pigskin. The quality is great and the story ties in nicely with the colors.

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to producing shoes in England?
Marc Godfre: We try to source as many materials as we can from the UK and Europe. So that’s always a big challenge, trying to find what we want within the region. A lot of people would go to Asia to find what they need.

Real Ale CT300Rarely seen in packs but definitely a highlight – CT300 “Chicken Foot IPA”

Group interview2The Real Ale team from left to right: designer Marc Godfre, Footwear developer Chris Hodgson & Factory Manager Andy Okolowicz

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

CREATORS

CULTURE

Quiz