SweetWater - The Road Trip
In episode 26 of the Beneath the Surface Podcast: SweetWater - The Road Trip, Corey and Sean give us a breakdown of their three-day visit to Atlanta, Georgia, while filming a campaign video with SweetWater Brewery and Waterkeeper Alliance.
You need fresh water to make beer. And you need fresh water to paddle board on. So the partnership between SweetWater, BOTE, and Waterkeeper Alliance to raise awareness for healthy fresh and saltwater ecosystems make complete sense. What doesn’t make complete sense is all the crazy shit that happened during the filmmaking, and that’s what Corey and Sean cover here.
If you’re looking to learn about clean water, check out the Anything But Mainstream video link in the Links from the Episode. If you’re looking to hear about a mystery bottle of urine in the company van, press play.
COMING AT YOU DIRECT, FROM THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, TO THE CENTER OF EVERYWHERE.
Who's In The Episode
Lead Designer, Co-Founder, and CEO at BOTE, Corey Cooper is a licensed engineer hailing from Auburn University. Corey is the pioneer of the DarkRoom, assisting with the design of the machinery, concepting the layout and ultimately developing the workflow used in DarkRoom production. Corey’s passion for this project is so strong that on any given day, regardless of how busy things are at BOTE, you will often find Corey working in the DarkRoom.
Sean Murphy is the Director of Photography at BOTE and a world-renowned photographer based in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. After spending most of his career based in Los Angeles, shooting for brands like Adidas, Red Bull, and Toyota, just to name a few, Sean moved back to the Redneck Riviera. You can find Sean capturing gritty America and spontaneous moments that translate into visually stunning photography.
Corey Cooper: “We were driving up from here (Fort Walton Beach, Florida) to Atlanta and we stopped at this drinking water reservoir in Opp, AL and it had all the trees kinda growing up from it.”
Sean Murphy: “Oh yeah, and we were driving and I was like ‘STOP THE VAN! THAT LOOKS COOL. We need to shoot there. Now.’ It was freezing, if you had fallen in, you would’ve died.”
Links From The Episode
- The beer that launched the 3-day trip, SweetWater Brewery.
- Castaway Customs can deck out your BOTE and your boat.
- Waterkeeper Alliance, a pretty rad group that helps protect our waterways.
- After listening to Regular John by Queens of the Stoneage, Corey and Sean’s late-night shenanigans makes so much sense.
- Watch the Anything But Mainstream video to learn more about water conservation.
Let’s talk about SweetWater Brewery, a place near and dear to Corey but not to Sean, since Sean doesn’t drink nor like hippies. He’s only half kidding though, so he must like hippies.
00:01:20 Corey’s Illegal Love For SweetWater
Going back to the late ’90s, Corey is in high school in Atlanta, where the one and only craft brewery was SweetWater. He remembers drinking their SweetWater 420 well before drinking age (earmuffs, kids!) and absolutely loving it, but when he started school at Auburn University, SweetWater was nowhere in sight.
Corey said to himself, “Damn man, I’m never gonna get that shit again,” and it wasn’t until 2005, when he and his wife, Magda, moved to Destin, Florida, and found it at the Mellow Mushroom, a pizza joint that threads throughout the Southeast.
Flash forward to 2013, several years into the BOTE brand, Corey hooks up with SweetWater to create a handful of custom boards. At the time, Castaway Customs did all their CNC machining (short for Computer Numerical Control, like that means anything to us), and did some super sick wood-grained deck pad engraving of the SweetWater brand.
00:05:03 Deepening the Relationship
Over the next year, Corey and the team deepened their relationship with SweetWater, linking up with their marketing team to create some truly kickass boards with a purpose behind them.
“I want to say 2014/2015, we developed a little more holistic relationship with SweetWater. We started working with them on a project where we made a lot of boards and really put some energy into branding them with the SweetWater DNA. We had the tie-dye deck pad, the wood inlays. Man, it was one of my favorite boards, it’s definitely one of the wildest boards we’ve ever done.” ― Corey Cooper / CEO and Co-Founder
00:06:29 Aligning With Waterkeeper Alliance
SweetWater Brewery had a pretty big and ongoing relationship with Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization committed to saving our fresh and saltwater ecosystems. It made sense, you need good water to make beer. You also need good water to paddle board on. So BOTE and SweetWater conjured up a campaign around the custom SweetWater boards, and all the proceeds went to the Waterkeeper Alliance.
Corey and the BOTE team couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the campaign than by doing a 3-day trip to SweetWater in Atlanta. This sounds like it’s going to go exactly to plan… not.
00:09:59 STOP THE VAN! - A Quick Detour
Driving a big ass van from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia, they pass a water reservoir in Alabama. Despite it being cold as shit, with Corey dressed in head-to-toe winter apparel to prove it, Sean had to stop there. “STOP THE VAN, THAT LOOKS COOL. We need to shoot there. Now.”
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the secret to Sean Murphy’s photo magic.
00:11:02 Day 1 - A Brewery Tour Turned City Tour
Arriving at SweetWater Brewery sometime in the afternoon, the BOTE crew takes a tour of the whole facility, and it’s huge. Corey and Sean pop across the street to where the beer is stored in old whiskey barrels and promptly weird out all the brewmasters by turning off the lights and photographing Corey drinking beer while Sean paints a lightning rod of light with his cell phone flashlight. We know, it sounds weird to us, too, but it happened to create one of the most iconic shots from the campaign.
While getting the full tour of the brewery, the beer was flowing for everyone at BOTE but Sean, and he recalls the shift in coherency by the team. What was supposed to be an early turn in ended up being an all-night ‘get weird’ party, where they painted the town with a SweetWater and BOTE photo op. Corey and Sean said they listened to Regular John by Queens of the Stoneage about 300 times that night. Apparently, that song has a very strong effect on them.
00:16:36 Day 2 - Getting On the Water With Waterkeeper Alliance
Waking up the next day, the crew is somehow all accounted for and in one piece. It’s freezing outside, with snow and sleet on the ground, as everyone travels to Roswell, Georgia to film with Waterkeeper Alliance and SweetWater Brewery. As planned, things go off script. Starting out mild, their buddy Doug is being filmed drinking a SweetWater beer while on a paddle board, but before you know it, Sean is having him pour beer on his lens for some badass shots.
It may be off the wall, but off the wall is completely on brand for BOTE.
00:21:35 Day 3 - SweetWater Turns 18
It’s day three and by this point, they have been literally floating in beer. The crew turns up for SweetWater’s 18th birthday party, an awesome event that features beer taps on vans and some live music from The Revivalists. You heard us, The Revivalists!
Corey may not have picked up a beer since the day he returned from this trip, but it’s some of his favorite memories.
00:23:53 Raising Awareness on the Importance of Clean Water
Corey and Sean realize they did a horrible job explaining the purpose of this video shoot. Thankfully, it’s all captured in the video, so you should check it out.
“Big shout out to the guys at Sweetwater and Waterkeeper Alliance. Check out what those guys are up to, they do a lot of great stuff to protect our waterways. Obviously, without healthy freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, we couldn’t use our products.” ― Corey Cooper / CEO and Co-Founder
We appreciate you guys tuning into our random rants. Alright bye!