Are you over 21?
May 2, 2022

The Story Behind Our Collaboration with Thunder Island

Reuben's Brews co-founder Grace Robbings, Thunder Island co-founder Caroline Lipps, Reuben's Brews business operations manager Liz Pfeiffer, Thunder Island head brewer Jen House, and Reuben's Brews breadth manager Thor Stoddard pose on collaboration day.

Who are Third Culture Kids? They are kids whose home life is rooted in one culture, which differs from the culture outside the front door. They are kids who grew up in a different country than their parents did, and find themselves explaining family customs, or food, to friends and neighbors. And they are kids who sometimes navigate multiple cultures gracefully, but other times stumble and feel like outsiders. They are the children of our globalized world. 

While Third Culture Kids each have their own experiences, there’s a common understanding that people with this mixed identity share. This is what brought Caroline Park Lipps, owner of Thunder Island Brewing Company, and our own Grace Kim Robbings, together. After connecting over their Korean heritage, the two found they have much in common. Both are brewery owners who built businesses with their spouses, expanded their breweries while raising a family, and adopted their Korean maiden name as a middle name when they married. 

Caroline and Grace admitted to each other that they sometimes feel like “bad Koreans” because they don’t quite fit the mold, but they take pride in their heritage nonetheless. Neither speaks Korean fluently, but as kids, they understood enough to know when they were in trouble. Or, in the case of Grace and her sister Liz (who also works here), only know choice words for things their parents didn’t want them saying in English. 

Third Culture Kids Cold IPA

A collaboration seemed meant to be. Although each brewery has worked with many others in the past, this partnership differed by putting the founding women front and center. Ultimately they decided to brew two different beers. Caroline wanted a true Pacific Northwest IPA to celebrate her father who helped instill a love of craft beer by sharing IPAs with her. Grace and Liz wanted a Cold IPA. They felt that this hybrid style—an IPA fermented on lager yeast—represented their experience as Hapa, people who are partially of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Their American mother met their Korean father while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea in the 1960s. 

As Caroline, Grace, and Liz were thinking of ways to tell the story of this partnership through beer, they realized that the element that felt most authentic was their shared third culture experience. Knowing what it’s like to walk in one world while being rooted in another, they let this perspective guide the label design process. Each 4-pack of Third Culture Kids should contain a mix of cans showing an individual walking in one world while living a mirrored existence in another, one more Korean in essence, the other more American.

We’re launching Third Culture Kids in May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. And because both Thunder Island Brewing and Reuben’s Brews have been staunch supporters of the communities they serve, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this Cold IPA will benefit Families of Color Seattle, a non-profit committed to racial and economic justice.

Subscribe to our newsletter to never miss an event or new beer release.