The explosion of craft breweries in recent years have been the beer connoisseur’s dream come true, with a new brewery opening every 16 hours in the US. Not surprisingly, the Bay Area is home to many successful breweries who have crafted memorable beer brands. Beyond the beer itself, we’re taking a look at four local breweries that can teach a thing or two about smart branding.
An eye-catching style is a big strength, and 21st Amendment made sure that their style stayed consistent as much as it stood out. They got in touch with an advertising group and worked with a few illustrators, including Joe Wilson, the man behind many of their patriotic-themed labels.
When paired with the clever naming conventions of their beers, the artwork creates a distinct branding that any craft beer company would strive for. By using the same artists, they achieved a consistency that sticks with their consumers.
Located in SOMA, San Francisco, CA
Bear Republic’s name somewhat screams out “conventional California brewery”, but they’ve had a bonafide hit for years with their stellar Racer 5 IPA. They kept achieving success by sticking to a guideline of releasing beers with a racing theme, since it carried the connotations of Racer 5’s high quality taste.
There’s Hop Rod Rye, Grand Am, Pace Car Racer, Mach 10, and more that emphasize speed and racing. Creating that connection was a smart guideline that’s since been emulated by other up and coming breweries.
Located in Cloverdale, CA. (Not quite the Bay Area, but close enough)
Cellarmaker is tiny compared to the previous two breweries; their stuff is tough to find outside of the Bay Area and nearly impossible outside of Northern California. For being small, they’ve garnered a good reputation for the tone that shines through their marketing.
Beer names like Coffee & Cigarettes stout, Maltster of the Puppets, and Hoppily Ever After show Cellarmaker’s savviness for pop culture influences. Their light-hearted yet clever attitude is conscious of what performs well on social media, and judging by their 12,400 followers on Instagram, it’s working quite well for their small beer label.
Located in SOMA, San Francisco, CA. Check out Cellarmaker’s Instagram here.
A lot of brands will spend a long time trying to discover their brand voice, but Fieldwork seemed to nail it right from the start. Not by accident, of course: the head brewer was already well-regarded for the recipes he developed at the incredibly successful Ballast Point brewery. If he already knew a thing or two about what works for a craft beer brand, Fieldwork is his proof.
Fieldwork’s brand voice is a careful mix of classy and casual; the logo toes the line between rustic and modern, and their messaging is smart instead of snarky. Their voice is present in the beers too; their usual offerings are the kind that would normally be construed as expensive special releases, like a tart cherry saison and a coconut milk porter. Not many beer brands can succeed with a unique voice like Fieldwork’s, but they have the quality and complexity to back it up.
Located in Berkeley, CA.