Two of the Magic City’s most innovative forces are coming together to create the ultimate brew. The Shure Shot, known for their uniquely catchy playlists and ability to rock a party, are releasing a beer with the kind-hearted folks at Birmingham District Brewing Company. The musicians and beer-makers have been co-hosting a Rhythm & Brews event once a month since June of 2021, and this special release further strengthens their relationship. The beer will be sold in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans, and unlike a normal beer can will include a QR code that lets the customer listen to a playlist while enjoying the beverage. The Shure Shot duo will also be at Birmingham District this Saturday, March 12th, beginning at 5pm to bring music to the festivities.
The Zoom talk for this interview consisted of AP (Suaze) and DJ Rahdu of Shure Shot, and Jimmy Sumpter and Cale Sellers with Birmingham District Brewing Company. From the very first moments of the interview you could pick up on the camaraderie of everyone in attendance. These aren’t just partners on a beer project–these are strong relationships with bountiful results. Everyone has known each other for a while now. Cale and Rahdu’s wives worked together, and Jimmy knows both DJs through events and then “found out AP cuts hair and I needed a new barber so we had a connection through that.”
The relationship grew even more with the first Rhythm & Blues event that The Shure Shot put together at Birmingham District last summer. “We just want it to feel like home,” the District crew shares of their company’s ambitions, “AP and Rahdu from day one have both really hit on that.” The first event was a success, and the series grew with each new month. “It just felt like family. It felt like a backyard party, when you have a grill out with all your friends,” the DJs detail, “It just has that vibe to it.”
The Shure Shot DJs had this atmosphere in mind during their monthly meeting in December. Consistency was their theme in 2021, and the duo knew they wanted to go big to start off the new year. Suaze laughs while saying Rahdu usually throws him a lob to start off the meetings by asking “so what are we gonna do this month” and Suaze just goes down rabbit holes of ideas. But Rahdu heard gold while sifting through his music collaborator’s stream of thoughts that month–a Shure Shot beer.
The first brewery they envisioned for this partnership was understandably the one that hosted their monthly celebrations–Birmingham District. “I thought it was a long shot really, I thought it was a shot in the dark,” Suaze remembers asking Jimmy and Cale, “When they said yes I was like ‘Oh snap, that’s really gonna happen.’ For Birmingham District, it was never a doubt. “He actually asked me while he was cutting my hair one day, and I fell in love with the idea,” Jimmy shares. He took it back to Cale and the rest of the Sellers family and they got back to the DJs with a resounding yes in just a couple hours. Who knew the recipe for a great beer was good friendship and years of perfecting your craft?
The beer collaboration was officially planned in January, brewed in February, and will be released in March–talk about efficiency! And the entire process has been a group effort. “Once Cale and Jimmy said yes, we didn’t know what to expect, or what that looked like–the process of brewing. So they welcomed us into District to help with the beginning part of it. That was the best part in my opinion. It was just cool. It’s an in-depth process, but to see it yourself,” Suaze shared, going on to laugh while telling Jimmy, “those are some heavy ass bags man that you’re loading into the grinder and all that, and it was just fun. It was a cool process to see, to be a part of.”
The brewing collective was able to take each individual members’ wishes for the beer and turn it into the ideal medley for all pallets. The final product is an Imperial Dry Hopped Honey Pilsner titled The Shure Shot. “The pilsner aspect is going to hit that kinda dry, crisp area that AP is looking for. The imperial aspect with the honey is the higher ABV plus the sweetness the Rahdu was hitting on,” the BD team shares, going on to say they added a little bit of hop and a light floral note for the ideal balance. “We all had different beers that we wanted. We all had these different ideas that we were thinking, and it organically turned into this really beautiful beer and we’re excited to put it out.”
“To not have any idea what we were doing, to brewing a beer a couple weeks later, to the final product coming out a couple weeks (after that)–it’s just been a real fun process,” shares Cale. Things got even more fun when Suaze suggested Rahdu do the can’s illustration, which District brews was all for. The result is the perfect capturing of the fun vibes the DJs and brewery provide. The illustration (and its accompanying animation announcement) isn’t the only fun addition though–this beer comes with a way for Birminghamians to listen to four hours of Shure Shot glory from the comfort of their own home.
“Suaze and I have been doing this for 9 months at this point, and we really enjoy being able to go to Birmingham District and play the tunes that we love,” Rahdu shares, “so one thing we did is add a QR code to the can. The QR code is linked to a Spotify playlist that Suaze and I curated. You can take the music home with you, sit out on your porch, drink you one of those cold Shure Shot/Birmingham District collaborations, and scan that code. Play some great tunes man, and have a ball.”
“Me and Rahdu have this thing where whoever booked the gig has to start the show, so Rahdu always starts at District. So the first 30 minutes of the playlist are his selections, the next 30 are mine, and so on and so forth for the next four hours,” Suaze breaks it down further, “so we want to kind of stay true to that, and offer a pairing so when you’re sitting there drinking your beer you feel like you’re at a Shure Shot party.”
An important aspect that sets a Shure Shot playlist apart is the type of music you’ll hear at the show. “We’re down to play Brazilian psych music. We’re down to play Spanish punk. We’re down to play everything that a lot of people in the city listen to, but sometimes won’t hear at parties,” Suaze shares, “We’re always trying to push those boundaries, and play it a lot of the time on vinyl as well.” Rahdu agrees while throwing in genres like jazz, funk, soul, house, and African music into the conversation. “The beautiful thing for me is to see people actually enjoying what we’re doing knowing that unless they’re music seekers, they’re not getting this anywhere else,” he reflects, “To see that we’re creating a following, Suaze and I, just by doing what we enjoy doing and have people enjoy what we’re doing while we’re enjoying what we’re doing–it really makes my heart full.”
Both The Shure Shot DJs and the family at Birmingham District Brewing place a huge focus on creating a strong community, and both felt the love during this process. “One thing I want to emphasize is we are a family-owned business, it’s very family–oriented,” Cale shares, “And with these guys coming in–to me everybody that comes in and collabs with us, they’re a part of our family. It means the world to us that they even want to do it, so we certainly appreciate it.” Suaze shared that the musicians felt the same way, before mentioning that Rahdu would read a poem at Saturday’s event to much laughter from the four friends. “Suaze and I have DJed a lot of places,” Rahdu shares, “and like Cale says–it feels like a family. It never feels pretentious, I always feel welcome. I always have a great time. The staff is great, ownership is great, management is great, know what I’m saying–Jimmy’s great.”
One thing for sure is Saturday is going to be a culmination of years of hard work for both musicians and brewers, and a celebration of the community that was built in the process–and the Magic City residents who show up to support each month are a big reason for the party. Jimmy worded it well by saying, “The fact that people want to be here, and they want to spend their Saturdays (here) when it's 30 degrees outside. They want to be a part of this, drink our beer, and have good times. It’s a really cool culture. It’s stuff I saw in small samples in New Orleans, but I wasn’t really expecting it out of Birmingham but I was pleasantly surprised and I’m happier here than I’ve ever been.”
“It blows my mind to walk in the back in the brewhouse area, when there’s a busy Saturday and those two guys are spinning records, and you look at Jimmy and you just kinda soak it in. Like Rahdu was saying, you are working but it is a passion and you got to remember that,” shares Cale, “and those two guys help me remember that every time you walk in the door and you hear their playlist or they’re outside. It’s pretty awesome to realize you could start from home-brewing or you can start from brewing in a different state and come here and see Birmingham reach out and open up to you and allow you to do what you love.”
We can’t wait to celebrate the delicious results of these great Magic City culture makers collaborating to make a great beer. According to Suaze, Jimmy and Cale will be in tank tops Saturday night to celebrate! We can’t wait to cheers to continued creative innovation in Birmingham.