Stories

Brewing Up A Brand for the Family Business

Posted by: Mellany Artmstrong

Getting the chance to use your talents in the real world before you’re even out of college is a big deal. But that’s just what Pamela Foulke ‘16 did in helping to brand and build her mom’s kombucha brewing company.

Pamela, who graduated in May with a degree in Fine Art and a minor in Graphic Design, said it began with a class assignment. Students in Dorothy Funderwhite’s Graphic Design class were to create a business and do the design work for it. It so happened that at that time, Pamela’s mother, Gayle Galbraith, was starting up The Federal Brewing Company in Federalsburg, Maryland.

“My mother needed to have her logo redone, and so I asked my teacher if I could use my mother’s business, and she said ‘Yes,’” Pamela recalled.

Gayle, a health coach, had named the company for the historic bank building on the banks of the Marshyhope River in Federalsburg that will house Federal Brewing. She plans to open the doors to begin serving kombucha, or ‘booch,’ in the summer of 2017. Kombucha is fermented, lightly effervescent sweet tea that has been around for more than 2,000 years. The drink is slightly sweet and a tad sour, and proponents say the bacteria in it aids in digestion.

Gayle was taking care of the brewing, but needed Pamela’s creative help to give the company an identity.

“I wanted to incorporate money into the designs because it’s in a bank building, but I didn’t want it to be corny,” she said. “Dorothy had the idea of us looking at money itself, the fundamental things on money, so that’s what we did,” she said.

Federal Brewing’s logo features a circle of gold stars on a dark red background. Gold-colored feathery quilled swirls found on currency bookend the company name.

“I came up with great signs, I did her website, business cards, fliers, posters, and a t-shirt design,” Pamela said. “Over the summer we got a lot of the stuff printed.”

She and her mom took magnetic logo buttons and the kombucha on the road in September to the Mother Earth News Fair in Donegal, Pennsylvania, a festival that showcases sustainable lifestyle products and services. Pamela’s design work stood out among the other kombucha makers in attendance.

“I love the fact that when we were at the fair, a lot of people thought we were a big company,” Pamela said. She said they also got great response on their kombucha.

Federal Brewing’s brand of kombucha is not as bubbly, and is smoother and sweeter, Pamela said.

“Some people say it tastes ‘softer,’” she said. “It’s not as sour. A lot of people are crazy for the sour.”

Federal Brewing is a family affair. Pamela’s mom comes up with the recipes and does the brewing; Pamela’s stepfather, Stan Nowak, is helping to renovate the building; and Pamela’s 8-year-old sister, Penelope, is the company’s professional taste-tester.

“Every recipe is approved by her,” Pamela said.

The family even celebrated Pamela’s graduation with a kombucha toast.

In addition to the graphic design work, Pamela has been helping to refurbish the company’s 1918 bank building home. She knows how to use hammers, chisels and carving tools – skills she learned while helping her dad with his house-flipping business.

“I worked with him over the summers putting in cabinets and countertops,” she said. “I have also hung windows and doors, and put in door knobs and trim, grouted, and all that jazz.”

While her family works on getting Federal Brewing up and running, Pamela has a job as a graphic designer with a company she interned with, Washington D.C.-based Capital Enterprise Business Group, which helps small businesses get started with funding, business plans, and design work. Pamela designs websites, brochures, business cards, fliers and PowerPoint presentations for client companies from her home in Fishtown.

“Some of the coolest ones are nonprofits,” she said, such as EcoPower Liberia, a Philadelphia-based company that helps provide inexpensive solar power to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Pamela plans on getting more involved with Federal Brewing, including learning to make kombucha.

“It takes a lot of patience, and I’m going to have to memorize my mom’s recipes and everything,” she said, “but I’m excited to learn.”

Seeing her artwork on the products and the building is very rewarding.

“I love the fact that all of her stuff is made by me,” she said.