“Why don’t you live in Brooklyn?”
I can’t tell you the number of times people have asked me that.
While I may have chosen Pittsburgh because it’s a place where I can still carve out my own little world, Brooklyn still glimmers on the horizon, with all its restaurant offerings, boutique shops and designer trends. Every time I’m there, I feel like a kid in a candy shop and walk around with a stupid grin across my face, so I was thrilled when I had the chance to bring my work to Brooklyn.
After collaborating on the MASH Tour: Slow Supper Big Table in Pittsburgh, Brooklyn Brewery invited Thommy Conroy and me to design their International Distributor Dinner. Beer distributors from all over the globe had convened for a Brooklyn immersion. The purpose of the dinner was for the distributors to experience a cliff notes version of the MASH Tour.
The MASH Tour is a multi-city tour, in which Brooklyn Brewery’s team collaborates with local chefs, musicians and makers to host a pop-up dinner in unique, non-traditional locations. In the majority of cities, they work with a chapter of Dinner Lab, a company that connects talented, up-and-coming chefs with engaged and interested diners.
The venue for this dinner was a covetable space with a rich hisotry- Pioneer Works Center for Art & Innovation.
Built in 1866, the building was first occupied by Pioneer Iron Works, one of the largest machine manufacturers in the United States- constructing ships, boilers, tanks, sheet iron, detachable railroad tracks, grain elevators, and machinery for sugar plantations. The building was completely destroyed by a devastating fire in 1881 and rebuilt shortly thereafter. Pioneer Iron Works operated until the middle of the 20th century, after which the site became a storage facility for Time Moving Company. Pioneer Street was named after the Pioneer Iron Works building.
Event Design Concept: A Celebration of the Brand
Much like a stadium of cheering fans, Brooklyn Brewery has its fair share of loyal fans, and this dinner was meant to be a celebration of the brand. The vast, industrial space inspired swooping and streaming garlands featuring custom illustrated and silk-screened pennants. We also placed hand-held versions on each place setting, treating each dinner guest like one of the brand fans.
Loose pennants down the table became a colorful decor element without taking up excess table space, and we continued the theme to the outdoor area, where Brooklyn Brewery boxes served as vases.
Concept: A Celebration of MASH Tour Cities
To provide a MASH Tour recap, Brooklyn Brewery and Dinner Lab selected six cities from the tour to highlight. Each city was responsible for a regional dish and a beer pairing. Thommy and I brainstormed key associations with the city and channeled those concepts into six unique backdrops. Visiting each station provided a taste of the city.
For both the brewery and Dinner Lab, it was important to highlight the menu and featured beer at each station. I illustrated an ingredient and the featured beer label for each menu, and Thommy watercolored the final prints, which we framed for each station.
Brightly colored condos, beach shirts, muscle dudes, night clubs galore, sunglasses, spray-on tans, neon nightlife…
Cowboys, ranch life, “Keep Austin Weird” t-shirts, college football…
Deep-dish pizza, old Italian restaurants, old Italian men, red & white checkered table cloths (the plastic kind)…
Imperial elegance, spice trades, lavish theaters, old architecture, London’s famous Indian food scene…
Scandinavian folk patterns, lingonberries, country cottages, forest folklore…
Intricate iron work on balconies, ornate tombs, funeral dirges, pageantry & costumes, performance, historical details…
Client: Brooklyn Brewery in conjunction with Dinner Lab
Location: Pioneer Works, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Photography by Quelcy.
Illustrations by Quelcy.
Floral Arrangements & Paintings by Thommy Conroy.
Event Design & Custom Goods by Quelcy and Thommy Conroy.