Crumpler: Beer for Bags? Grab a (Back)Pack!


If you were walking through New York City’s fashionable Meatpacking District and spotted a steady stream of people staggering toward an Eighth Ave. storefront laden with beer, don’t worry. You’re weren’t missing out on a heck of party. At least not yet. You had just witnessed a unique bit of product promotion.

From June 3 to 11, Crumpler, an Australian manufacturer of stylish backpacks, computer and gadget bags and related accessories, is allowing customers to trade booze for bags. The beer-to-bag exchange rate is sorted out with the help of a cardboard wheel.

For example, the Moderate Embarrassment case (yep, that’s the name of the model pictured above), which can hold a 12-inch notebook, including Apple Computer Inc.’s 12-inch iBook, sells on the Crumpler Web site for $80. However, during the 2006 Beer for Bags promotion you could walk into one of its two New York stores with a case of Sapporo beer and a bottle of soy sauce and walk out with this bag.

On the lower end of the scale, you could get a Winkler L, a $14 bag sized for one of the larger Apple iPod digital music players, for just four cans of Boddington’s beer, which often sells for less than $10. What happens to the beer? It is consumed at special events sponsored by the company. During a June 5 press event at the 49 Eighth Ave. store in Manhattan (see below), some of the brew ended up in the hands of thirsty journalists. The store featured an on-site factory where special orders could be designed on a computer and delivered within days.

The company, founded in 1995 by three bicycle messengers, clearly marches to the beat of a different drummer. Its clever but edgy Web site seems almost drug induced. At the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Crumpler showed up with a low-tech but distinctive booth consisting mainly of oil drums and chalkboards.

While the bags are colorful and seem to exude attitude, inside they offer the same type of padding, pockets and pouches one would expect to find in a computer or gadget bag.

So, would you trade in your beer to put a Crump in your style?

Top photo courtesy of Crumpler
Other photos © 2006 Stadium Circle Features

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