January 12, 2020| Branding

Beer Branding

According to the American Brewers Association total US beer sales were 1% down in 2018, nevertheless craft beer sales have shown an increase of 4% – claiming 13,2% of the beer market.

Despite the slight decrease in total sales it is inevitable to say that the beer industry is however a significant market defined by $114.2 billion sales, hence offering huge economic potential.

Craft brewing

The trendy word of ‘Craft Brewery’ has come to spread thanks to the popularity of rather smaller, and independent commercial breweries with the goal of making stronger and more variable flavours of beer. The exact definitions for that may be tricky to recognize, especially for a casual beer lover; so simply seek the certified independent craft seal to identify a U.S. craft brewer.

Brewers Association

The growing number of US breweries provides business opportunities and at the same time inflames a battle of successful (long-term) market establishment and market dominance.

Therefore, it is ever more important to not only win over your customers with a deliciously refreshing beer, but taking it a step further than the competition and creating an over all brand appearance that will distinguish yours from the rest.
1. Developing a game plan for a tasty beer

I better leave this part to you – the brewmaster!!
Definitely offering my services as a taster.


2. Define & position your brewery

The most important question you have to ask yourself when defining your brewery’s brand position is ‘Why?’. Understanding what makes your brewery unique to identify the differentiation to your competition. What are your core values, who is your ideal customer and why should someone be interested in your brewery, let alone buy your beer? What emotions should your brewery provoke?
What is your brewery’s story/history, where is it located and what end game do you pursue regarding distribution.

Getting aware of all this might even be a helpful tool to discover your tagline, think about ‘Born in the rockies’ (Coors), ‘One Life, Right? Don’t’ blow it.’ (Kona Brewing), ‘Beer for punks’ (BrewDog) or ‘Dam Good Beer’ (10 Barrel Brewing).


3. Define your brewery through branding
  • Name
  • Brand System (logo, colors, typography, visual elements…)
  • Label, Packaging Design
  • Print Assets
  • Website
  • Environmental Design, Signage

As with most brand names there are few aspects you should consider when deciding on a brewery name. Reflect on your brand history, niche and values to find a name that is relatable.It should be easy to remember. In addition, check that there aren’t any cultural misconceptions!
For brewery names, specifically, evaluate whether additional product lines can be integrated.
Last, but not least, make sure the name hasn’t already been claimed. To be 100% certain you can also contact a (trademark) lawyer.

Brand System

Of course, your logo (and tagline) will be an essential asset of your brand system and will find application in print assets, labels, packaging, merchandising etc. Apart from the main logo you might want to develop additional elements like icons and patterns. When creating those remember that typography and color have a huge impact on how your brand is being perceived in the very first seconds, eg. bold, vintage, modern etc.
It is also important to have your designer develop a brand guideline to define its usage.


Print Assets
You will need various print assets when for advertising, flyers, menu cards etc. Your designer should be able to create a cohesive look based on your brand system.

Label, Packaging Design

Make sure to use durable, waterproof labels
Keep in mind! Packaging/Labels need to have all required information and be approved e.g. by TTB (US) or according to EU’s provisions on food labelling.


Investing in a website is essential to give your (prospective) customer the nitty-gritty information like products, location(s), opening hours, brewery tours, and in the long-run you might even expand and include events and a shop.
Be sure to develop a responsive website, which basically means that the layout adapts to different sizes of devices, like mobile and tablet and consider investing in SEO (so your website is ranked high on search engines).

While your website might be under construction, I suggest that you make use of an online presentation by teasing or giving most necessary information with a microsite. Meanwhile, it is also a good idea to think about your social media presence and include it in your marketing plan. Those platforms are more or less free tools to promote your beer/brewery. With frequent updates you can attract, inform, connect with new customers and/or visitors easily.


Environmental Design, Signage
With an environmental design you have the possibilities to turn your brand story into a brand experience. When customers visit your brewery you want to captivate them and live your brand values in a ‘3D space’. The way your brewery space will be designed, use of materials, atmosphere, music, signage etc. will give them a well rounded, cohesive experience.

Are you a brewmaster who needs a hand with brand strategy & design?