The best idea Scott Griffiths ever had first struck him as a good joke.

A year ago this owner of a $15-million Los Angeles ad agency pulled together a team for the local softball league and called it the Rhino Chasers -- a sobriquet for the boards used in daredevil surfing. Griffiths designed a colorful Rhino Chaser logo and plastered it on hats, T-shirts, and eventually even the postgame case of tony beer. What began in the name of fun blossomed into a fad, as people asked where they could buy this "new" beer. Embarrassed, Griffiths explained the beer was an import he'd simply jazzed up with his logo. The questions inspired more than a confession, however. They also sent the adman hunting for a microbrewery. Last fall, Griffiths hooked up with a local brewer and now produces, markets, and ships 800 cases of Rhino Chasers Amber Ale a month. Who says packaging isn't everything?

-- Elizabeth Conlin