Let’s recap some of our recent marketing ideas of the weekTM: Gilmore Girls Day (still time to attend!); the Ohio Fresh Hop campaign; augment reality beer cans; that giant cornfield QR code; and (who can forget?) a bag of trash for a beer (brilliant!). Well here comes this week’s winner — Whetstone Beer Co. — for its cool keepsake peel-off stickers on its cans.
The custom labels were imagined by Whetstone Beer Co-owner Tim Brady, who developed the idea over a year-long process with a USA label manufacturer. The company notes (in the press release) that these “are the first ever to incorporate a built-in, removable sticker within a fully recyclable beer can label.”
“We spend a lot on printing custom can labels, which nearly always just end up in a recycle bin,” said Brady. “I thought, there has got to be a way to make the label useful beyond simply showcasing the beer on the shelf. Now when you purchase any of our Whetstone Beer Co. cans, you get a unique sticker for free.”
The stickers are timely for the brand too. This past summer, Whetstone Beer announced a revamped look for its 10th anniversary, utilizing a train motif that pays homage to the brewery’s building and its role in Brattleboro’s bustling railroad industry. The labels have that iconic “travel by rail” poster look that was popular during the golden age of train travel, which makes them super attractive for sticker nerds like myself. I am personally a big fan of sticker walls or, in my case, a sticker door.
The stickers have an added benefit for Whetstone Beer sales to restaurants and retailers, reminding them to order Whetstone. According to Whetstone Beer Co. Director of Sales, Brayton Brown, “When I brought a sample to a new customer near Mount Snow, the manager peeled off the sticker and pasted in the middle of his beer cooler and said, ‘It’s official. I need to order something from you now.’”
Collecting brewery stickers is so popular that a Facebook group called Brewery Stickers and Beer Stickers Collectors & Traders has more than 1,100 members swapping and trading stickers across the country. Stickers are also hotly sought at well-attended breweriana events and conventions. Whetstone Beer can be found a fine retail and restaurant establishments in New England, so go check out these reusable labels if you live in the area.
What’s the story behind Whetstone Beer?
A common love of beer, travel, art, and the great outdoors brought together three partners — Tim Brady, Amy Brady, and David Hiler — who conceived Whetstone Station in Brattleboro in 2012. When doors opened and brewing began, the spirit of exploration and discovery through rail travel underpinned the concept behind the Station. Now, a decade later, the trio has rebranded to Whetstone Beer Co. and reimagined its packaging to celebrate their love of adventure and respect for the environment with fully recyclable cans and labels with a surprise inside.
The peel-off sticker concept leans into long-held sticker culture in the brewery world where beer and brewery stickers are collected, traded, and often used as artwork on a sticker wall at stores, restaurants, breweries, ski chalets, and construction shops, to name a few.
“People reach out all the time requesting stickers,” said Whetstone Brewer Derek Hall. “We send ours, and they send some of their favorites in return.”