Media Project About Beer, Technology and Tourism Ignites via Low-Fi Touch

Brewing Heritage Digital Team visits the lagering cellars of the former Kauffman Brewing Co in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The cutting-edge media and art installations are elbow-to-elbow in New York’s Spring Studios, the pop-up hub for the Tribeca Film Festival. The polished concrete floors, floor to ceiling windows and sleek, industrial vibe sync perfectly with projects involving game-changing, experiential storytelling.

Spring Studios feels a little better after experiencing media installations at cookie cutter conference hotels from Palm Desert to Las Vegas.

What I’ve learned from countless festivals and conferences is if you want to ignite audience excitement around exploding tech-head projects; the key is grounding the story with a Low-Fi touch.

Activating 1800’s Brewery Cellars for New Tourism

This summer I’ve been working alongside Jason Snell, artist, designer, musician and owner/operator of the creative agency We Have Become Vikings (WHBV), UX/UI designer Ryan Cayabyab and developer Sean C. Davis on a media and design project using VR/AR Prototypes. We’re using these digital components to activate historic brewery cellars for a cultural trail in Cincinnati, Ohio managed by the Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation and its Executive Director Steven Hampton.

Jennifer LeMasters Wirtz, lead architect at the engineering and design firm WSP | Parsons Brinkerhoff, is guiding the project with onsite, environmental design from architects at FRCH Design Worldwide.

Our project, Activating 1800’s Brewery Cellars for New Tourism, is up for public vote to become a 2017 SXSW presentation via Panel Picker.

The stories igniting the project involve the popular subjects of Beer, Technology and Tourism. So far, when sharing our digital activations with small groups of business professionals in marketing, design and branding; technologists in software development; venture capitalists as well as beer drinkers, they’ve pushed past talk about content management systems, GPS software and design specifications and embraced the maker spirit; open source workflows and brewing history driving our trailblazing, tourism project.

To be fair, people enjoy the chance to experience 360-degree virtual reality components that bring to life the 19th-century brewery cellars dug deep beneath the streets of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. They’re also excited to learn about future phases involving murals ignited by augmented reality tools and historic bottling plants transformed by beacon software.

Yet, after numerous conversations, it’s the Low-Fi touches that continue to resonate with people.

Ignite Your Tech Stories with a Maker Spirit

One of the things I like about contributing strategy and writing at WHBV, the creative agency on Activating Brewery Cellars for New Tourism, is how Snell and agency partner Brandon Hickle design websites, audio and visual apps, VR/AR and digital tour assets with an embrace of the Maker Spirit.

Beyond the brand campaigns and digital design work, Snell and Hickle are craftsmen and artists who simply build things.

Take a look at their public art installations including large-scale street murals as well as their craft merchandise including limited edition prints and fashion wear. To them, craft has a major role to play in our Digital Era.

Digital Activations need something you can also touch to help on-ramp audiences, customers, clients and partners to the virtual experiences, especially those users new to experiential storytelling projects.

While Google Cardboard and 360-degree photography of the brewery cellars help make historic structures like the former Crown Brewing Co. available and accessible to global audiences; it’s the silk screen Suds Sacks for holding cold brews and silk-screen prints of long-ago Crown Brewing Co. workers that powerfully connect people with Cincinnati’s brewing history.

Find the Sweep Spot between Tech and Art

The Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation is an emerging non-profit organization and, yes, our Activating Brewery Cellars for New Tourism budget has strict parameters when it comes to time and resources.

What’s important to remember is that experiential storytelling projects based in lean, rapid and agile design can still be game changing.

In the case of Activating 1800’s Brewery Cellars for New Tourism, inexpensive digital tools like GPS platforms and hybrid apps enable us to design, build and implement a VR/AR project for a fledgling non-profit with limited resources.

That’s how a Low-Fi spirit helps creative teams help their clients. That’s why finding the sweet spot between art and tech can provide these same clients with new ideas and storytelling concepts.

We creative professionals too often focus on the newest gadgets.

Our Cincinnati lesson is that standout activation campaigns aren’t solely about the latest VR headset. They’re about the quality of our stories and the talented artists creating them.

Playing lean and low-fi forces you to be innovative with your resources. The results — at least with Activating 1800’s Brewery Cellars for New Tourism — are design assets both innovative and surprising.

It may not be listed as a deliverable but one of our initial goals is identifying the Brewing History storytelling niche. Uncovering this niche, the Brewing Heritage spirit and storytelling tone, helps us build a community of trail fans, advocates patrons and supporters.

You may say our project is ‘Rated T For Tang,’ the name of a Prohibition Era drink by the Crown Brewing Co, and ‘T for Trailblazing Trail.’

Perhaps, what we’re ultimately building is a Frothy Tech Binge via Suds Sacks and Brewing History Poster Art.

After all, once you remove the Google Cardboard, there’s nothing like a frothy beer to connect you with amazing history.

Work on Activating 1800’s Brewery Cellars for New Tourism continues with beta tests scheduled for Fall 2016 and additional phases projected for 2017.

Contact Us @steveramosmedia for Beta Test inquiries.

Vote for Activating 1800’s Brewery Cellars for New Tourism via the 2017 SXSW Panel Picker