By the end of 2016, there will be 169 craft breweries in San Diego alone.
It’s safe to say that this close-knit, craft-focused industry has officially exploded. It’s also safe to say that the need for a strong brand has become more apparent. Breweries are now asking themselves: How can we stand out?
How can a brand in a saturated market rise above all the noise?
The easy answer: Eye-catching design.
The real answer: Meaningful positioning.
Today, exceptional design is the price of entry. It’s an important part of any brand’s success, but it’s not the whole equation. It’s critical that brands establish a strong foundation with meaningful, authentic, and relevant positioning. Once that foundation is set, every touch point from the brand begins to work harder—the packaging, the website, and the beer names.
We’ve worked for several years with Coronado Brewing Company, an award-winning West Coast brewery. In preparation for their national expansion and introduction of cans to their product line, Coronado recognized a need to not only stand out on the shelf, but to create a more meaningful connection with consumers. As we dug into their brand, their beer, and their restaurants, we learned a lot about the company, employees, and customers. It became clear that Coronado represents a coastal lifestyle. This positioning was both authentic and powerful for them. This is where we focused our efforts, and it drove every element of the rebrand, including a new tagline and beer names.
Coronado Brewing Company
Tagline: Stay Coastal
The coastal vibe at Coronado’s restaurants or tasting room is undeniable. Our challenge was to find a way to bottle that sense of place, and ship it all across the country, so anyone, anywhere, could get a taste of Coronado’s lifestyle. This led us to Stay Coastal, a simple, powerful tagline that connects consumers—coast to coast—to Coronado. The new tagline, along with our coastally inspired brand positioning, set a clear path forward for our brand redesign, packaging, product design, and beer naming.
Beer Naming: Easy Up Pale Ale, Pierless Imperial Brown Ale, Unhitched Imperial Brown, Waylaid Blonde
After we developed the tagline, we began our beer-naming process. Naming can be fun, but it’s also a critical component to building a brand. As the front line in building perception, names set the stage for how a consumer will perceive the brand. With Coronado, each name was carefully crafted to appeal to a specific type of beer drinker—ranging from enthusiasts to craft newbies. The style of beer dictated whether the names were more outgoing or approachable, but they all imparted a sense of Coronado’s coastal lifestyle. So, whether someone is relaxing with a Waylaid Blonde Ale on Coronado Island, or drinking an Easy Up in Boston after a long day, the coastal vibe that’s central to the Coronado brand is always there.
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
Tagline: Dedicated to the Craft
Ballast Point came to us as a brand primed for takeoff, with their high-quality beer and a small but avid fan base. What they were lacking was a unified story and a refined sense of style. The challenge for us was finding something to unite their four separate components: beer, spirits, restaurants, and home brewing. We needed a rallying cry—something authentic and meaningful for both the brand and their consumers.
Dedicated to the Craft was inspired by Ballast Point’s passion—for the brewing process, high-quality beer and food, and a nautical lifestyle. The positioning and tagline established the foundation that Ballast Point needed in order to take their brand to the next level. It not only differentiated them from a sea of competitors, but it really did become a kind of hometown rallying cry—one that helped create one of the most passionate fan bases in all of craft beer. Three years and a $1 billion purchase later, we can’t help but be proud of this authentic and effective tagline.
Product Naming: PurePitch
When we met with White Labs, a leading packaged yeast provider for brewers, we were tasked with helping to package and name their new breakthrough yeast technology. The subjectivity of the naming process can make for a real challenge, but we focused our thinking and positioned the brand as innovators and leaders with the purest yeast product ever packaged.
The result was PurePitch: simple, recognizable, and meaningful. The name references the absolute purity of the product, the innovative nature of the package, and the pitching process involved. Gaining an understanding of how White Labs’ product worked and what the consumer needed allowed us to create a name that has helped their brand thrive. PurePitch has become a standard in the industry—something we don’t take lightly.
We’re proud of the design work we’ve done for Coronado, Ballast and White Labs. But none of it could have happened until we understood each brand’s positioning in the market. If you don’t get to know the product, the brand, and the consumer, you can miss those meaningful connections. By making positioning a priority, you not only build a brand that stands out, but one with meaning.