Collaboration Among Competitors – Cats and Dogs Driving Hope Not Bottom-Line


Michael Adorno, VP of Communications at Hot Paper Lantern 

Coronavirus has turned everything on its head, even collaboration. Collaboration typically is for like-minded teams to drive optimal results to impact the bottom line, however in the age of COVID-19 collaboration is bringing even competitors together. This week my friend from The Welcome Conference forwarded me their new “Weekly Specials” video series highlighting amazing things happening in the hospitality industry during the pandemic and pointed me toward a piece in the Deep Dive section on Other Half Brewing. As a beer nerd, I was interested to see what they were up to and how they, as a business, were weathering the virus. 

Brooklyn’s Other Half created the project. An open-source collaboration to help raise money for the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation. The brewers created the website, provided a base recipe for the collaborating brewery to then make unique, shared a template for label branding, graphic design and the tools to help promote their involvement in the creation of this beer. Other Half’s only request is that a portion of the profits go to support that brewery’s local hospitality industry. As of this writing more than 700 breweries in 51 countries and 48 states are making their own variant of this beer. Breweries from Resident Brewing in San Diego to Resident Culture in Charlotte and international spots as far as Indonesia, France and Brazil are making variants. No two beers will taste the same, no two labels will look the same, but all 700 variants of that beer will tell the same story. 

Other Half is a destination beer for beer nerds. They have incredible brand recognition and at the end of the day, it’s just great beer. On Untappd, their beer ranks at a 4.24 out of 5, which places them as one of the top breweries in the world. It is incredible that they would give away intellectual property (i.e. revenue) and allow any competitor in the world to collaborate with them, all in the name of helping others. This is even more unfathomable when you think about how hard hit the food and beverage industry is in the wake of the pandemic, and the fact that any positive revenue can help keep people on staff, the lights on and doors open. 

Given their brand, Other Half could have made this beer on their own and  raised a lot of money. But to go against the grain to include any brewery is novel and provides the blueprint for other companies in other industries that this type of collaboration among competitors can have a true global impact. 

At the end of the day, the good press and reputational growth created by this project may offset any losses in the manufacturing of this beer. As soon as I finished watching the segment I checked where I could buy the beer close to me in New Jersey. And as a beer nerd, I’m planning to go to other breweries to try their variation of the beer, all the while feeling good about the fact that I’m helping support a great cause. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced all of us to reevaluate our business processes and procedures. It’s also shown us that every company, no matter the industry, is in the business of helping people. If the way you do that is creative and unique, even better. I hope that executives and leaders can look to the All Together project and see that while collaboration is effective for the bottom-line, collaboration with your competitors can be an incredible strategy moving forward to build goodwill and create a more sustainable future.

Collaboration Among Competitors - Cats and Dogs Driving Hope Not Bottom-LineAbout the Author: Mike Adorno is a VP of Communications at Hot Paper Lantern, specializing in driving innovative media relations campaigns. 

A seasoned communications professional with more than a decade of in-house and agency experience. Mike oversees clients like The Chartis Group, EY, and others, and also leads HPL Digital Sport, a specialty group within HPL focused on customer acquisition and digital communication strategies for fantasy and sports betting companies. 

Mike earned a Bachelors of Science from Ithaca College majoring in public relations/advertising.