Every beer has a story. Often it’s as simple and mundane as a beefed-up version of a homebrew recipe. Or maybe it was a moment of magic with a spontaneously fermented beer. In the case of Voodoo Brewery, good vibes (stylized in lower case letters) was a clever solution to a problem.

good vibes, alongside Love Child, White Magick of the Sun, and others, is one of the core offerings from Meadville, PA’s Voodoo Brewery. And despite the wide distribution and regular availability in the Midwest of these flagship beers, Voodoo has accrued quite a passionate following through seasonal and limited releases like VB Treats, Lacto-Kooler, and Big Black Voodoo Daddy. Plus, the brewery’s Barrel Room Collection Series has won the hearts of many beer collectors and traders.

Voodoo Brewery has managed to function as both a sizeable and competitive regional brewery and a hype-worthy local joint. That success is owed in large part to the ownership team of Matteo and Curt Rachocki, as well as all of their employees, who have led with a sense of humor and authentic passion for craft beer.

The brewery now boasts eight locations that span multiple states. They’ve even launched a franchise program whereby independent owners can run and operate distinct Voodoo locations. But despite this small empire, Voodoo continues to feel like a hometown brewery focused on making solid beer and spreading good vibes.

What Is Voodoo Brewery?

Founded in 2005 in Meadville, PA., Voodoo Brewery became a cult-classic. But, the brewery looks very different today than it did fifteen years ago.

good vibes from vooodoo brewery poured into a glass

The current co-owners (and brothers) Matteo and Curt Rachocki joined the Voodoo team in 2010, with Curt helming the brewery. In 2012 the Rachocki brothers took over the ownership of the brewery.

A foundational element of Matteo and Curt’s ownership has been the introduction of an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). In fact, the brewery’s commitment to its employees is inextricably linked to Voodoo itself. “Employee ownership has a great deal to do with who we are,” Matteo explains. It demonstrates the value Voodoo places in its employees and, as Matteo explained to us, means the employees are motivated to improve the brewery at every step of the way.

Now, Voodoo is a powerhouse in the Midwest. In addition to its flagship location in Meadville, Voodoo has seven locations as well as a franchise program; They’ve launched a food truck, a cornerstone beer festival, and even a line of sauces and provisions. Voodoo distributes to over a dozen states and has fans all over the world. And despite all of this, or because of it, the brewery manages to maintain its small, hometown feel.

The Story of Voodoo’s good vibes IPA

voodoo brewery good vibe 6-pack of cans

good vibes is an integral part of Voodoo’s history. And it all began because Curt Rachocki loved West Coast IPAs.

“When Curt started brewing at Voodoo we had a beer called Four Seasons IPA,” explains Matteo. “The concept was it was a beer that changed with the seasons–the malt, the hops, etc. At the end of the day, the reason that existed was that the previous ownership never took the time to get contracts for hops. So it was just a different beer every time.”

So, Curt used this to his advantage and experimented with the series, dialing in the brewery’s water profile, malt bill, and fermentation processes. The only real variable was the hops. But, Curt knew he’d be seeking a final product with a bit more of a West Coast sensibility.

voodoo good vibes brewery

Once Voodoo started contracting their hops, Curt had more room to solidify his vision of an IPA. And retire that rotating Four Seasons IPA.

“The last batch of Four Seasons IPA that we put out was actually what is now Hoodoo,” explains Matteo. “So Hoodoo was this awesome West Coast beer, palatable amongst the masses. It didn’t have anything going too much one way or the other–earthy, piney, dank, citrusy, whatever. However, he wanted to make a big brother to Hoodoo. Essentially he kept that water chemistry and the grain bill but wanted to do something more with that dank, citrus, resin-y, weed flavor profile. At that point we had been contracting and working well enough with YCH and other hop contractors to obtain the hops to make good vibes. Apollo, Amarillo, Galaxy, and Mosaic are the four hops that make up good vibes. And its a good, dank version of what he wanted to create.”

With no real art department and a relatively simple beer and name, Matteo whipped up a simple graphic for this beer. But, as he explains, good vibes caught on right away.

The Legacy of good vibes

“It immediately caught fire in the taprooms,” Matteo says. “It was an immediate success. We’d have people ask ‘What fruit is in there?’ We got a lot of people drinking IPAs despite the fact that there wasn’t any fruit in it. Just really good quality, well-sourced hops. People really liked the liquid.”

The fact that good vibes was such a cross-over success made it a prime candidate as Voodoo’s flagship product. In fact, it was the first beer Voodoo had packaged for distribution. But it didn’t stick around.

“We decided to package it in limited runs,” says Matteo. “We did it in 12 oz bottles intermittently throughout the year. We’d just fit it in when we could. We didn’t have a ton of contract hops for it or anything. And it always sold out. Between the taprooms and the little bit of wholesale we were doing, it was selling out.”

a good vibes box from voodoo

As Voodoo Brewery itself grew, good vibes grew alongside it. Curt took trips to Yakima and hand-select top quality hops, which improved the good vibes recipe. Voodoo also committed itself to a full rebrand and took the time to invest in dedicated good vibes branding. Voodoo developed a festival in Meadville, named for this flagship West Coast IPA. And, at the end of the day, “We continued to make the beer that we set out to make: our favorite IPA.” explains Matteo. “That was the whole premise. We want to make a beer that we want to drink.”

The Artwork of good vibes

A key part of the Voodoo experience is the brewery’s eye-catching artwork, created by artist Tom Ness. Ness had been working at the brewery in a few capacities, from packaging to front-of-house. Eventually, Voodoo was able to bring him on as its full-time artist. One of Ness’ first tasks was redesigning good vibes. “That was a challenge when I came in to redesign [good vibes] so it’s new and fresh, but also holds true to the classic design with the same font and that sort of feel,” says Ness.

Additionally, unlike some of Voodoo’s limited, taproom-only releases, good vibes is a widely distributed and well-established beer. “Usually, Curt and I work on the names and the artwork [for the beer] together,” says Ness. “Something eye-catching or funny. Often its an inside joke or something from a movie.”

But, Ness channels a different energy for the brewery’s flagship beers. “Things like good vibes, Love Child, White Magick, I don’t make them as specifically odd. I try not to scare people with this,” Ness shares with a laugh.

“good vibes has become the lifestyle of Voodoo,” says Ness. “It was one of the first different styles that really caught on. It evolved into what the company is really all about it.”

The Bottom Line on good vibes

a can of voodoo brewery good vibes

The equation is simple. good vibes = Voodoo Brewery.

The Rachocki brothers and everyone at Voodoo has maintained a positive atmosphere that prioritizes its workers and makes quality beer. And, good vibes is a quality beer that built a community around the brewery.

“[good vibes is] the absolute perfect product to sell in every way shape and form,” says Head of Business Development Jarred Sper. “We can’t keep it in stock. It’s absolutely exploded.”

Alongside Love Child, good vibes is Voodoo’s best selling beer. And it began as a relatively simple idea: “How do we make an IPA without guaranteed hops?” You innovate until you can hand-select the best hops and make the West Coast IPA of your dreams.

“You start with a core concept, you know the liquid is great, good branding, and it just really all came together because it resonates who we are and what we do,” shares Matteo. “The festival is just a further extension of that. We’ve got a lot of plans for it but it transcends brewing and beer and the culture behind it becomes a lifestyle brand. With everything going on right now, we need just a little bit of good vibes.”

And with the transition into a more accessible 12 oz. can format, Voodoo aims to spread the good vibes to everyone.

“I would hope that good vibes becomes a staple for drinkers,” shares Ness. “I would hope it would encourage them to try something else from Voodoo, it would open up a door to try something more. But I think good vibes would always be the go-to. Especially now that we started to move it to 12 ounces. It’s a little bit more easy, a little more versatile.”

“I think [good vibes is] quintessentially everything that craft beer is about,” maintains Sper. “It’s going to be a cornerstone of the brewery that’ll stick around for a long time to come. There’s no reason that that beer can’t be everywhere.”

This is a paid, sponsored article presented by Voodoo Brewery.

good vibes is now available in 12 oz. cans in 6-, 12-, and 24-packs.

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