From Core Values to Cartons: How to Brand Your Craft Beer Brewery, Part Three

June 23, 2020

At Great Little Box Company, we’re packaging people who do a lot of work for craft beer clients. That means we translate their brands into the materials that just might create their customers’ first impressions. When someone walks past our client’s six-pack and sees a label broadcasting what makes that beer special in an instant, we’ve done our job properly.

We know that our craft beer clients are entering an increasingly competitive space. That’s why we’ve written a three-part series about building better craft beer brands. We have a lot of insights and strategies to share about getting ahead of the competition. Helping our clients start off on the right foot branding-wise can make an essential difference, so we’re happy to share!

In our first post, we discussed defining your brand essence. In our second post, we wrote about brand positioning. In this final post of the series, we’ll talk about branding and packaging.

Getting you up to speed

Brand essence is the identity that directs how your company expresses itself. It guides everything, from your logo, to the style of beer you brew, to the way your staff serves customers. Brand positioning answers the three critical questions of what you do, how you do it differently, and who you do it for.

To define brand essence, we suggest:

  1. Figuring out your “why”, the reason you want to open this brewery
  2. Listing the core values that guide how you run your business, no matter what
  3. Putting your brand essence into words with help from all of your key stakeholders

You can get more insights and tips by reading the original post here.

To define brand positioning, we suggest:

  1. Creating a brand positioning matrix that visually shows you where there are opportunities to create a unique business in your community/market
  2. Getting clear about who exactly you want drinking your beer
  3. Writing a brand story and/or a positioning statement that clearly states what you do, how you do it differently, and who you do it for

You can get more insights and tips by reading the original post here.

Now, it’s time to talk about branding considerations around packaging, which is of course only one of the many aspects of your visual (and functional) branding.

Branding and packaging

When our clients have strong, well-defined, unique brands, coming up with packaging solutions that express them is pure joy. When you’re at the stage of translating your brand into visual components like packaging, here’s what to keep in mind:

1. It’s all about personality

Every brand has a personality, just like a living person. In order for your customers to form a relationship with your brand, they need for its personality to be clear and consistent.

When you review the writing you did around brand essence and positioning, what kind of a “person” is your brand revealing itself to be? Is your brand playful, jokey, irreverent? Or is it serious, inspiring, significant?

Think about your desired customers and the type of person they would like to form a relationship with. Then write down some words that describe that personality. Try to come up with about 3 to 5. When you create your visual brand, which includes packaging components like labels and cartons, this personality should be totally obvious.

For example, our client Container Brewing’s brand reflects the neighbourhood it is situated in. This area is an industrial zone in Vancouver that connects to the port, and a lot of Container’s customers have ties to industry and shipping. So, it makes sense that Container’s visual brand exudes both toughness and warmth.

Container Brewing – Labels, Packaging, and Beer Trays Manufactured by the Great Little Box Company. To read their Customer Story on our blog, click here.

2. It’s not just about visuals

Sure, on-brand packaging is about the “look”, but don’t forget that other aspects of your packaging are just as powerful when it comes to communicating your brand.

For example, our client Alley Kat Brewing holds “sustainability” as a core value. That’s why they only sell their beer in bottles made from recycled glass, and GLBC manufactures their packaging to reduce breakage while using minimal materials. Could they be any clearer about what they stand for?

Alley Kat Brewing – Packaging Manufactured by Great Little Box Company.

A strong brand is never an afterthought

When our craft beer clients succeed, so do we. That’s why we love it when they have well-developed, compelling, unique brand essences and positioning. It always helps when we’re putting our heads together and figuring out how that translates into the packaging.

We hope this three-part series has given you plenty of food for thought, and actionable approaches for building or strengthening your craft brewery’s brand. It’s so worth it to do it right, given how much competition there is in your industry.

So, cheers to your health…and maybe to our productive partnership in the future!