It started out as a hobby.
Now it’s a multi-billion dollar operation. In fact, in 2016 the craft beer industry sold $23.5 billion in beer. This accounts for 22% of total beer sales in America.
The number of independent breweries tops the 5,300 mark. For craft brew makers the growth is exciting and promising. But that overflowing growth brews up one thing: competition.
The nation’s taste-buds are shifting. In a market constantly flooded with new brands, what can a new brewer do to get noticed?
The second thing to do is begin brainstorming your new craft beer logo. The first: understand your customer.
The Mind of the Beer Enthusiast
To stand out and rise a head above the competition, craft breweries are focusing on their branding. Yes, the beers must still speak for themselves, but beer enthusiasts want to be courted.
The surge in craft beer popularity reveals a lot about today’s beer drinker. They are turning away from Big Beer name brands to try newer, experimental flavors with an edge.
They seek out tastes from a limited small-batch offering pulled from a portable CO2 keg tap at a beer garden. Forget grabbing some cans from the corner liquor store.
In fact, recent trends show that millennials (the biggest lovers of craft beer) buy four or more different brands per month.
Are you looking to tap into the craft beer craze? Maybe you’re thinking of rebranding? After you brew your exceptional creation, you need to market it.
Check out what some breweries are doing to grab beer drinker’s attention (and keep it). Use their stories to inspire your own craft beer logo ideas.
We’ve chosen 5 different styles of branding used by successful breweries. Which style best fits your brew?
SIMPLE: New Belgium Brewing Company
We’ll start here because it’s a simple choice.
What comes to mind when someone says Fat Tire?
If you don’t immediately picture an old-style bike, then you most likely don’t drink beer. And you are reading the wrong blog post. (But keep reading. There’s a lot of great info!)
One of the cool things about this industry is the flexibility it allows. Unlike large beer companies, independent breweries aren’t stuck to a single label design. But beware: too much creativity may not be a good thing.
The rapid growth experienced by New Belgium Brewing Co. is a classic lesson in that old principle KISS (keep it simple stupid).
As the brewery grew, developing new beers and product series, the temptation to get more contemporary also grew. The artwork changed with every new release. Then, in 2013, New Belgium realized they had created a disconnect, not a recognizable flow.
The fix: take it back to the basics.
Spokesperson Bryan Simpson summed it up for Beer and Brewing magazine. “We took a long look at our portfolio and decided we wanted more consistency across the cold box. We needed to look like one family of brands. . .”
It took almost a year to complete. Did going back to simple work? According to Simpson 2014 was an excellent year with 19% growth.
That deserves a KISS of approval.
NATURE/OUTDOORS: Uinta Brewing Company
It’s not uncommon to find a craft beer logo and branding style that find inspiration from nature.
But, at Uinta Brewing nature is not only their brand, it’s the brewery culture. Their two passions: brewing great beer and protecting a great planet.
Since 2001 the brewery has run on 100% renewable energy (wind, and more recently, solar). And they even offer bins in the brewery parking lot for recycling brown glass.
Named after the tallest range in Utah, the Uinta Mountains, it’s no accident the brewery’s beer reflects an outdoorsy vibe. Their Golden Ale Par Series celebrates and raises awareness for our national parks.
From the website: GREAT beer is brewed with environmental stewardship, support for community and a whole lot of passion.
Wondering if this love for nature helps with brand awareness? Check out their Instagram to see photo after photo of Uinta beer. Staged with nature as a backdrop.
Their tagline: Earth, wind and beer.
It’s only natural they’re so popular.
HISTORICAL: 21st Amendment Brew
One thing is certain, craft beer drinkers are changing. As palates become more sophisticated so do the desires to know the “back stories” of the beers they drink.
For 21st Amendment Brewing, history is the cornerstone of their operation. While researching a name the founders immersed themselves in San Fransisco’s rich brew history.
They discovered there were 40 craft brew operations within SF city limits in the early 1900s. Then came Prohibition. It wiped out an entire culture. Then came the 21st Amendment. And a culture has been revitalizing ever since.
That story is the inspiration for the artwork that goes on the cans (yes! great artwork can exist on cans) of 21st Amendment Brewery.
MUSICAL: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Beer and jazz. Music and Beer. They just go together.
Maybe it’s because the sound of beer bubbling into a pilsner is like music to the ear.
With a name like Dogfish Head, you’d expect something out-of-the-box. The brewery’s commitment to music has not only inspired their craft beer logo and labels, it has inspired their beer.
They created an entire series of beers as a tribute to their love of music. Artists and bands include Miles Davis, Deltron 3030, Robert Johnson, and their American Beauty Imperial IPA, not only inspired by the music but also the members of the Grateful Dead.
And in 2011 the brewery really got its groove on when they released Faithfull — no that’s not a typo — which is a reference to the 1998 Pearl Jam song.
Full music immersion doesn’t stop at the suds. Dogfish Head actually hosts their very own music festival every fall, Analog-A-Go-Go. The two-day beer and music festival features food, an artisanal marketplace, a vinyl exchange, and plenty of Dogfish Head brew.
It seems they have certainly found their muse.
A Craft Beer Logo that Tells a Story: Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
Who doesn’t know the yarn-weaver bellied up to the bar every Friday night after quittin’ time? His stories are fanciful, adventurous and — although not believable — memorable.
So it is with beer. Minus the unbelievable part, of course.
What better way to tell stories than through the use of fairy tales? The scary ones, not the happily-ever-after type.
Enter Grimm Brothers.
But the brewery isn’t based on the name alone. The stories influence everything.
From the philosophy of brewing (old-style German) to the artwork on every can, the brewers (who aren’t brothers) have taken the art of storytelling to the next level. Their craft beer logo and label designs even mimic the fonts used in the original storybooks.
The website tells their story perfectly:
“Inspired by the stories collected By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, they have crafted their beers to tell not only the story of Craft Brewing, but the harrowing and dark tales handed down through the generations.”
Become a Part of a Culture
Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue infamy hits the nail on the head of foam when he said in a recent interview: “Craft beer has created a culture, not a trend. A trend grabs market share and then disappears and gives it back. A culture grabs market share and then keeps it. The craft-beer culture isn’t going anywhere in America.”
Are you ready to become a part of the culture?
Your craft beer logo is the physical, emotional, or philosophical expression of your brand. Not to mention the style of craft beer you brew.
Learn how you can create your own free craft beer logo today.