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Booze Branding

The average American spends 1 percent of their income on alcohol according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Considering that the designs on bottles and packaging has significant impact on what a consumer decides to purchase, would it not be fair for beer brewing companies to hire a team of designers to visually attract customers to their product?

Consider the success and survival of traditional beer companies – Miller, Budweiser, Pabst. Low purchase cost aside, what causes buyers to continuously pick up case after case of relatively mediocre tasting beer? Without a doubt, it’s through familiarity and tradition. Much like the visual power of the Campbell’s soup can, the Budweiser crown logo, or the red and blue color scheme on PBR’s unchanging design – despite the outdated look – is what keeps people coming back to their product. What’s unfortunate is that graphic designers looking to put their foot in the door in an industry like beer advertising design appear to only have access to small startup companies to design for – which is great, and allows the designer to flex their creative muscle – however, recognition can only go so far in a small business that hasn’t extended beyond its state, and new breweries clearly have stiff competition against major businesses that have established themselves since the 1800s.


What big beer branding should look like.

I think it should be stressed to big brewers that while logos should be preserved to maintain recognizability, the designs on cans, bottles, and cases have massive potential for redesign. Allowing this may be a chance risk for industry giants, however, it will more than likely boost sales from a clean new design, but additionally give designers an opportunity for employment and for recognition.


Wouldn’t you pay more to drink this, even if the quality isn’t reflected inside the bottle?

One Comment

  1. jbah wrote:

    I agree that for major companies, there is a potential for redesign, and some of them do from time to time, especially when they try to emphasize new brews. Sam Adams, has a very recognizable logo for their original recipe, but tends to play with it when it comes to their Summer, Winter, or other seasonal ales. I think consistency of brand recognition in beer isn’t such a bad thing considering a lot of alcohol isn’t just consumed at home, but also in restaurants and bars. Imagine if a company such as Anhauser-Busch changed its logo every 10 years or so, there would be consumer backlash. Not necessarily because of the logo itself, but vendors may have a harder time locating a bottle on their shelves (since beer bottles have very standardized shape). Additionally alcohol, like perfume, has a certain generational association with it. Beer is a drink for many different ages, whereas Scotch or wines are marketed to a very particular demographic. It would be nice to see designers work on logos in this industry, but I can also see the concerns that may arise in doing so.

    Monday, December 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink