4 Hands’ City Wide Brew: Building St. Louis One Beer At A Time
The popular City Wide American Pale Ale by 4 Hands Brewery has stolen the hearts of St. Louis craft beer enthusiasts in less than a year since its debut, held in its becoming 16-ounce tallboy can emblazoned with the city’s flag. You likely saw the cans all summer at backyard hangs, South City bonfires or Downtown parades.
For 4 Hands president Kevin Lemp, City Wide is more than an ale. It’s a call to arms. The brewery donates a portion of the proceeds for each case sold to a different nonprofit organization every quarter. In doing so, it has become the new flagship beer for not only 4 Hands, but also the city at large. Lemp says, “It’s probably the one singular product that we’re most proud of in the past five years. We’re not even a year in yet to see what City Wide can become, which is really exciting.”
As with all of their products, the conception of City Wide began with their mission statement as a foundation. “There are plenty of companies brewing beer, but we wanted to figure out what we could do to become a pillar in the St. Louis community.” Lemp relied on his entrepreneurial spirit to create a product that would make St. Louis proud. “If you look at the can design from where we started to where we ended, and the change that occurred through conversation about what this brand means, it took us eight months to develop City Wide into what it is today,” he says. “That’s part of our mission. We don’t just want to be putting beer in bottles. This is very much a throwback to the old Miller Lite can that’s matte, flat and pretty text heavy, but with our beautiful flag front and center.”
But don’t judge a beer by its cover. Lemp says the surprise success of City Wide is all about the superior Pale Ale flavor. “It tastes amazing, its one of my favorite beers we make. I think people are gravitating towards it because when you hold that can with our flag on it, you feel really proud to be from St. Louis.”
If that’s not enough of an indicator, the City Wide APA currently makes up 21% of the brand’s sales in Missouri. With the introduction of a new City Wide pilsner, they foresee the City Wide brand increasing to represent 30% of their total Missouri sales. It’s an incredible feat, especially when you consider how limited-release it actually is. “It’s only sold in St. Louis, only in a 16-ounce can. We don’t offer draft, and we don’t sell it in Chicago, Philly or Baltimore.”
That dedication to the brand has influenced sales and paid off big for the nonprofits that 4 Hands partners with throughout the year, which include organizations like Big Brothers and Sisters, The International Institute, KDHX, Great Rivers Greenway and more. Funds go to support environment-preservation initiatives, the arts, neighborhood development and civic engagement.
Lemp says his real dream-come-true would be driving through the city in ten years and seeing improvements made from the sale of one of 4 Hands beers. “St. Louis is our home. It’s my home. I want it to be a better place tomorrow than it is today, and the only way we’re going to make that happen is if we’re focusing on our people and our community. That’s the opportunity we have at 4 Hands.”
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