Are you a craft brewing enthusiast who dreams about going pro? Does the idea of starting up your own brewery and creating your craft beer packaging excite you almost as much as it scares you? Are you curious about what launching a craft beer brand might look like?
We know a lot of people just like you. In fact, we’ve worked with many craft beer companies over the years. If you are wondering what craft beer packaging looks like when starting up a business like this, we’ve got plenty to share. That’s why we created the series we’re about to roll out, starting with this post.
This is the (fictional but very typical) story of a partnership based on brewing, branding, and selling incredible craft beer. It’s about David Miller, a brewer, and Sarah Thompson, a chef, and the brewery they create. We’ll cover everything from starting up to retailing to expansion—all through the lens of that all-important facet of branding: labels and packaging.
It’s our way of demystifying at least one aspect of creating a craft beer business. Our hope is that reading about David and Sarah’s experiences can inform and encourage you on your own journey of entrepreneurship.
Introducing David and Sarah, Co-Founders
David Miller is a 32-year-old homebrewer with an ace up his sleeve: a degree in Business Administration and 5 years of marketing experience. If he could have his way, he’d be brewing full-time. The only thing is that he doesn’t have any experience in running the legal or operational aspects of a business.
Sarah Thompson is a 40-year-old former chef, passionate about pairing beers with food. She’s been learning as much as she can about brewing and feels that with her culinary expertise, she could create some unique flavour profiles. Her dream would be to create a beer brand that’s based on food pairing recommendations.
David and Sarah have been acquaintances for a few years because they both attend the same brewing events. One day they sat beside each other at a pairing event and realized that they are each other’s missing pieces. Together, there’s enough brewing, marketing, and operations know-how between the two of them to get something special off the ground.
The Big Idea
When David and Sarah compare notes, they realize how aligned their visions are. As a marketing specialist and a hardcore beer lover, David understands just how important a distinctive identity in the world of craft beer is. And Sarah’s concept of a beer brand that’s built on food pairings fits the bill. Imagine all the fun of wine and food pairings translated to the word of craft beer—it’s a no-brainer. They already know which demographics to target: foodies, beer lovers, and restaurants.
Could they create this craft beer brand together? Their mutual excitement tells them “heck yes”, and they get cracking.
David starts with business planning and market research. Sarah focuses on recipe development and ingredient sourcing. She starts wrapping her mind around which flavours and dishes she could link with particular batches. Both of the founders spend an unbelievable amount of time experimenting with David’s homebrewing equipment in Sarah’s kitchen.
Eventually, they have enough successful batches under their belts to get their brewery up and running. It’s a long slog of a year, but when all is said and done, they have their own space—where they’re selling kegs. They reach a point where they’re ready to sell canned product.
That’s where we’ll pick up the story, in Part Two.
In the meantime, are you dreaming about starting up your own craft beer brand? Want to have a conversation with packaging professionals with a lot of experience in this industry? Please reach out! We’d love to answer your questions.