So, in case you didn’t notice, there are a lot more craft breweries today than there were even three years ago. For you, professional craft brewer, this is both good and bad: The drinking public is hungry for beer and is supporting more and more breweries (good!); more and more options mean more and more competition for shelf space and share of wallet (kinda bad!).
What’s taking place right now, according to advertising agency SPARK, is the “wineification” of the market. Here is how Elliott Bedinghaus, VP of creative for SPARK, explained the double-edged sword of wineification:
“The philosophy of wineification has two sequential components,” he says. “The first relates to the elevation of beer to a more premium level. There is an air to wine and drinking wine that represents fulfillment and enjoyment. The aromas and food pairings create new experiences that people love. Craft beer is currently on a similar trajectory. It’s not just something you drink to get a buzz, but people are increasingly more cognizant of choosing different types of beer for different occasions.
“But the philosophy of wineification is a double-edged sword because the second phase involves overexpsoure. If craft beer continues to elevate, people will begin to order styles not brands – similar to how wine drinkers order a merlot instead of a ‘9 suns merlot.’ We’re already beginning to see it with IPAs even though the flavor profiles within that category are so vast.”
Luckily, the answer for your craft brewery isn’t “just sit back and let that double-edge sword decide my fate.” You can influence the wielding of this sword with some solid branding.
“A solid brand is the key to breaking through that behavior,” Bedinghaus says. “It builds preference and demand through connection.”
If you have a lot of time on your hands, I encourage you to dive into our archives for some top-notch branding advice, from logo creation to website building to gaining inspiration from your local market. But before that, let’s hear from SPARK on how they worked with Coppertail Brewing Co. in Tampa Bay, Fla., to stand out in its local market.
Take it, Bedinghaus:
“Coppertail came to us with their name and the idea that the Coppertail was a sea monster. Originally they had some ideas of what the sea monster might look like, and it was very different from where we ended up. Additionally, the original inclination was to use a variety of bright colors to attract people and bring life to the brand.
“After working with their team to define their core values and the beginnings of the Coppertail story, we decided it would be more engaging to have a sea monster that was never fully revealed. The logo today, affectionately called the C monster, is a direct reflection of that idea. Is it a diving mermaid? Or merman? Some type of fish or a tentacle from an octopus? The intrigue of the sea monster was the beginning of a brand built on imagination.
“And although it felt counter-intuitive, the backdrop for this imaginative brand was black,” he added.
(Lots of great photos of the design on Page 2)