What Makes a Great Brewery Stand Out?

So you started a brewery – now what? You’ve invested a lot of time, sweat, hard work, and of course money. You’ve got a great name, a range of awesome beer, how do you combine these to create a winning brand image?

There are around 5,000 breweries in the US today from the household names like Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada to the lesser known Firestone Walker and Dogfish Head, and there are the local craft brewers that are popping up all over the place – including right here in Connecticut.

In 2012, there were a total of 22 local breweries in Connecticut, now in 2017 we have more than double that number. (Including the six breweries currently in planning set to open this year)

You can brew a great beer, but unless you give it eye catching branding and a memorable logo it will likely fade into the background. In such fierce competition with such a booming industry, it is imperative to stand out from the crowd.

Take a look at the labels for 21st Amendment Brewery, which were designed by the Oregon-based tbd branding agency. Or the outstanding labels for Evil Twin Brewing in Brooklyn NY, which combine unforgettable names like ‘Hipster Ale’ and ‘Bikini Beer’ with brilliant designs. Interesting labels and names draw the eye and stick in the mind.

Oregon Brewing Company has a lineup of Rogue ales, which use a range of characters on their labels. The names, ‘Chipotle Ale,’ ‘Yellow Snow Ale’ and ‘Voodoo Doughnut’ match the brewery’s distinctive image.

Take a look at the Imperial Stout Trooper label from the New England Brewing Company. When it was first launched it featured a stormtrooper’s face. The brewery was asked to change it and so added a Groucho Marx disguise, which made it even more popular.

Anheuser-Busch features a skull with cut-out eyes on its Occulto label, printed in thermochromic ink that’s temperature responsive. On a cold Occulto bottle, the logo turns fluorescent, and the empty eye sockets glow green.

California based Stone Brewing Company is famous for the gargoyle on its label for its Levitation Ale. Magic Hat Brewing Company in Vermont has a strong logo, as well as a series of beautifully designed labels for its range. It also features copy on the inside of its bottle caps, around which someone has created a tumblr blog.

Tree House Brewing in Monson, MA has a superb logo and a fine line up of artisan beer. Trillium, another Boston brewery also features a distinctive logo and series of labels.

A well designed logo is essential to building a distinctive brand image and audience recall, and this works in the brewery industry as well as any other. Interesting names also matter.  Generic labels that don’t catch the attention of customers will sink the brand.

The logo is the hook that gains customer recall, and a strong brand identity with beautiful labels adds to this. With so many breweries contending in the beer industry, it is important to make sure that your brand identity is unique.

An iconic logo adds to a brewery and its brands. This is as true for the big names as well as for the smaller artisan breweries. Nowadays breweries have online stores, with a range of products featuring their logos. If the logo is unique, if the brand has attention grabbing labels, customers will buy.

It’s not just in the beer, it seems.