Brewing an Effective Craft Beer Label

Whether you’re brewing beer as a hobby or business, you have to take into account what your drinkers see on the bottle as they sample your beer. Craft beer calls for a label design which is unique and stylish.

Instead of just slapping the word “light” on the beer bottle, think of a creative approach on how to introduce it to the beer drinking community. Mind you, these labels have a big influence on the perceived quality of your beer. Thus, explaining the need for breweries to create a distinct brand identity.

Understanding the history of craft beer

By learning how microbreweries have evolved, you can fully appreciate the craft beer industry and the people who have managed to make it thrive up to this day. It could also help you spark some ideas for creative direction like how you want the beer drinking community to remember your beer and your company.

Be remarkable to set yourself apart

One sure way of failing in this industry is by being boring. You have to be remarkable in order to be successful.

Craft beer consumers are receptive of designs that are different from the norms. Also, they choose their favorite beer according to its brand, not the beer process or brewing style.

Pay attention to details

If your beer isn’t seasonal, you can add in a bit of creativity by replacing the usual label with a holiday version. This simple move could help boost sales. Also, don’t forget to incorporate the beer’s distinguishing style into the new packaging.

The cap should also be part of your beer branding so don’t forget to include it in the conceptualization stage.

Make your design specific, brief and clear

When conceptualizing your beer label design, you have to tell the designer exactly what you’re looking to achieve. Here, it is important to provide details about your history, beer style, brewery location and your target audience.

You can also provide samples of label styles, color swatches and fonts that you like to give inspiration to the designer.

The Basics of Home Brewing

 

If you are a beer lover, you may have considered brewing beer at the comfort of your home. It’s not only economical; it’s also a great hobby that you could share with your friends. And by the end of your project, you’ll be welcomed with a cold glass of your very own beer.

Purchase a starter kit

As you begin to explore the art of brewing beer, getting a starting kit would be your best option. This kit contains all the supplies and equipments which are needed for home brewing, plus, detailed instructions also come with the package. This is especially recommended for beginners as you’ll be provided with everything you need for this project.

Prepare the ingredients

Surprisingly, beer involves a simple process. It’s basically just water with malt.

Most of the time, the ingredients needed in brewing are included in the home brew starter kit. As you master the art of brewing beer, you can start experimenting and add in hops, grains and malts. These could provide an added flavor to your beer.

Brewing the beer

Brewing beer is easy, especially if you’re using a starter kit. Follow these steps and start brewing your own beer.

Brewing – This process takes about 2 hours.

Start off by cleaning and sterilizing your equipments. Dissolve the brew in 2 to 4 liters of hot water then add in 1 Kg of dextrose or sugar. Then, put 10 liters of cold water in the fermenter, add the hot mixture and mix it well.

Top it up to 23 liters. When the temperature reaches below 30°, sprinkle it with brewer’s yeast.

Fermenting – This process takes about a week

This is where the magic happens! After adding the yeast, you can now seal the fermenter. Remember to partially fill the airlock with boiled, cooled water.

Allow the brew to ferment for a week, letting it stay at about 20 to 22°. Once you notice that the brew clears and the airlock stops bubbling, set aside for 48 hours. After this, you beer is ready for bottling.

Bottling

Make sure to sterilize all the caps and bottles. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to each bottle. Fill the bottles, leaving 40mm from the top.

Cover the bottles and tilt each bottle for a few times in order to dissolve the sugar. Keep them in a warm place for about 5 days, then transfer them to a cooler place and let it stay for another 5 days. Leave it alone for another week. After this, you are free to enjoy your very own beer.

The Basics of Beer Marketing

Craft beer is one of the most profitable and fastest growing segments of the beer industry. It’s also a very competitive and crowded market, so you’ll have to work hard and stand out among the competition if you wish to succeed in this industry.

In this business, success could be translated to being different. This article could help you in focusing on the key factors that would contribute to your business’ success.

Know the market

Every market is unique. Thus, you’ll have to understand what makes you area different in order to build a profitable business.

Here, you should be able to gather as much information about beer drinkers (your prospective clients) and your competitors. As you learn more about your prospects and competitors, you’ll be able to come up with an effective marketing plan that would set you apart from these existing establishments, reach your target audience and penetrate the market.

Create your brand

Your brand is more than just a logo. It’s how you present your business to your customers. A great brand provides its clients with an interesting story. As you introduce your brand to the market, you’ll want to capture their attention and connect with your customers.

Once you capture their attention, this becomes the core of your identity. If possible, try to incorporate it through your marketing plan in order to create a more powerful presence.

Improve your product

More than anything, your product will be the center of your business. So, it is important to provide your customers with a great product. Also, device a plan on how to carry your brand story through the product you offer.

Create excitement among your customers

Getting your customers excited is an important aspect of your marketing plan. Execute your plans early on and engage beer drinkers to follow you until your launching day. A lot of beer drinkers get thrilled with the introduction of new breweries. By going with the right approach, you could easily create a buzz among the beer drinking community even before you start selling.

By putting up your own site combined with the power of social media, you can easily reach your target audience and provide them with the necessary information as you prepare for the launch of your brewery.

 

5 Clues to Deciphering Craft Beer Styles

Understanding what a beer might taste like from its name alone can be a little daunting. Despite the craft beer community’s welcoming nature, it is easy to see why newcomers might feel lost when looking at a beer menu. Wheat, weizen and wit—each are different styles with specific histories and characteristics, but all are fairly similar in composition. It can be confusing!

While some beer styles require a bit of background to understand, one can often make reasonable assumptions about a beer’s character with a small amount of information. Here is a list of five clues that will help you quickly decipher what a beer might taste like before ordering that we wanted to share!

1. Origin/Region

A beer style’s country or region of origin goes a long way in providing clues to what the beer might taste like. The classic beer styles were developed over hundreds of years and were greatly impacted by regional and environmental variables like geography, climate and water chemistry.

Is it impossible to make a German lager outside of Germany? Of course not! As world travel became easier and the science of brewing was better understood, brewers began to mimic water qualities of specific regions and wrangle yeast cells to attain beer qualities once unique to certain ares of the world. Today, many American craft brewers have become skilled at brewing lagers similar to those originally crafted in Bavaria, hoppy IPAs reminiscent of the Burton-on-Trent region (Staffordshire, UK), roasty stouts indicative of Dublin, Ireland, and even the mysteriously tart and complex beers of Flanders, Belgium.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but these geographic-centric terms found in beer style names can offer clues about a beer’s character.

Origin Clues

  • German-style | lager with complex malt character and floral hops
  • Belgian-style | fruity, spicy ales or sour beers
  • English-style | pale ales, porters and stouts with earthy hop character
  • American-style | hop-forward beers with flavors of pine, citrus and resin
  • Belgo-American | fruity and spicy Belgian yeast flavor with American-style hop character

2. Color

You eat with your eyes, right? Well, you drink with them too. Colors play a factor in beer appreciation and have become popular for naming derivatives of classic styles (e.g., black IPA, white IPA). Classic beer styles include a fair number of beers named after their color, and you can often make a good guess of a beer’s malt flavor just by knowing its name and seeing it in a glass.

Color Clues

  • Light/Pale | Flavors: grainy, bread-like | Styles: blonde ale, helles, Belgian-style wit
  • Amber | Flavors: toasty, bread crust | Styles: amber ale, amber lager
  • Brown | Flavors: toast, roasted nuts, chocolate | Styles: brown ale, Marzen, dopplebock
  • Black | Flavors: burnt toast, dark chocolate, coffee, espresso | Styles: dry stout, robust porter, American black ale

3. Special Ingredients

There is no better clue when anticipating what a beer may taste like than having one or more of the star ingredients in the name. Some of these ingredients are so popular that they have become recognized with their own style categories. Special ingredients range in intensity, but there is usually an expectation that the brewer will aim to strike a balance, ensuring that the base style still prevails while the added notes sing.

Common Special Ingredients

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Fruit | raspberries, strawberries, peaches, cherries, etc.
  • Herb and Spices | cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, heather, etc.

4. Yeast

The type of yeast used in a style has a great impact on the final beer. The standard explanation is that beer is divided into two categories: ales and lagers. Of course, like with most things, a gray area exists. Today’s brewers are using nontraditional yeasts, blending different types of yeast and using traditional yeast in untraditional ways. It’s not quite as cut and dry as ale and lager, but some generalities do exist.

Ales

Ales ferment at warmer temperatures; because of this, they often present more yeast-derived flavors (fruity, sometimes spicy). Usually when you see the term ale, you can anticipate that yeast flavors provide some, if not much, of the flavor you will experience. When you enjoy a Belgian-style dubbel, you tend to taste a lot of fruit. Fruit flavors don’t necessarily mean that there is fruit in the beer, but rather that the yeast used has provided those flavors. We call fruity yeast flavors esters. A common example of esters is seen in German weizens, in the flavor perceived as banana.

Lagers

Lagers ferment at cooler temperatures and create a much “cleaner” beer, allowing you to taste the malt and hops more explicitly. As a test, try tasting an amber ale and amber lager side by side. Both will have generally the same ingredients, but the flavors will differ because of the yeast that was used.

5. Vessel/ Vintage/ Volume

Vessel

Beer that has been aged can pick up the flavors of the vessel it has spent time in. Barrels, are one of the most common aging vessels. If a barrel has never been used, the beer can present flavors of the wood itself, usually oak. Oak flavors can be spicy, woody or even vanilla-like, depending on how the barrel was prepared. If the barrel had been previously used for another beverage (wine or spirits), there may be some residual flavors from those present as well. So if you don’t like the taste of bourbon, beware of a bourbon barrel-aged beer.

Vintage

A vintage denotes the year a beer was produced. While in most cases beer should be enjoyed fresh, there are certain styles that can develop positively when aged. If you see that a beer has a vintage, you can assume it has a relatively high ABV, as alcohol has preservative qualities. Additionally, you might expect the flavors to be more complex when compared to a fresh example of the same beer.

Volume: “These go to 11.”

Volume usually denotes either flavor or strength. Words like “strong,” “sour” and “session” act as clues to what you might experience. These clues, when coupled with your basic understanding of the base style, should allow you to make a solid guess about the beer.

  • Strong ale | an ale of significant alcoholic strength
  • Sweet stout | very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty ale
  • Robust porter | substantial, malty dark ale with a complex and flavorful roasty character
  • Session IPA | characteristics of a traditional IPA, but with less alcoholic strength
  • Imperial stout | a stronger version of the original stout style

The Big Picture

Even in the best beer establishments, there won’t always be someone to answer questions about a draught list. Learning the basics about a few of the more common beer styles will go a long way in helping you order something you’ll enjoy!

http://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/5-clues-to-deciphering-craft-beer-styles

‘Tis the Season for Winter Craft Beers

We’ve made a list and checked it twice of some of this year’s most anticipated winter seasonals. The flavors and smells indicative of the winter months—cinnamon, spruce, allspice, gingerbread and smoke—are on display in these craft beers that will bring a new dimension to your holiday table. Here’s a list of some great beer to check out this holiday season:

1. Samichlaus

The king of Christmas beers, Samichlaus is the highlight of the holiday season for many beer enthusiasts. It is a rich, aged doppelbock brewed at the Austrian brewery Schloss Eggenberg.

2. Samuel Adams Winter Classics Mix Pack

This mix pack contains a variety of beers. This makes it a nice way to try some unusual beer for beer lovers who are just discovering craft beer. Though it can change from year to year the mix pack often contains Boston LagerOld Fezziwig AleWinter LagerHoliday PorterBlack Lager, andCranberry Lambic.

3. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

How do you say Merry Christmas to a hop-head? With a six pack of Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada. Besides have a pretty significant bitterness at 62 IBUs, this beer is also dry hopped which raises the hops in the aroma and flavor.

4. Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome is a traditional winter warmer and in many ways has served as the modern benchmark for the style. It is big in flavor and alcohol. Though maltiness dominates it does have a good bit of balancing hops as well as hints of apples and caramel.

5. Odell Brewing Co. Isolation Ale

Odell Brewing brews Isolation Ale as their winter seasonal. This beer is packed with hops character without a lot of the bitterness. It’s a bit unusual as a wintertime beer in that it does not carry the huge, dark malt flavors of many of the others.

6. Avery Brewing Old Jubilation

This is one of those examples of artful, adjunct free beers. Avery brews some pretty amazing beer using only the four traditional ingredients.

Old Jubilation certainly fits in the winter warmer category. With heaps of malt and 8% alcohol, this complex and tasty beer will make a welcome addition to your holiday bar.

7. Bush Noël (Scaldis Noël in the US)

This is how the Belgians make a winter warmer. This beer is rich with lots of malt. Though malt dominates, the complexity from the wilder yeasts Belgians tend to use plus the unusual practice of aging this beer with hops flowers in the vats for four to six weeks, gives this brew unique flavor and character.

8. Schlafly Christmas Ale

If you’re looking for a beer with all of the traditional yuletide flavors, this is it. Schlafly adds cloves and orange peel to this medium bodied ale. This beer says “Christmas” in a very straight forward way.

9. Young’s Winter Warmer

Young’s beers are always solid beers and generally excellent examples of style. Their Winter Warmer is a middle of the road warmer. This would be a good beer to have on hand if your some of guests might not be up to the challenge of some of the bigger beers that I’ve listed above.

10. Your Local Brewery

OK, so this is not a specific beer but I cannot let this opportunity pass on my personal mission to get more people to drink local beer. While I’ve listed some popular beers here that can help you celebrate the season – and there are many, many others – do not overlook that brewery that’s making great beer just a few miles or perhaps even just a few blocks from you. Personally I have two local breweries that make perfectly wonderful winter brews and stopping in for a fresh pint is always a treat. While you should head to the good beer store to stock up on some great seasonal brews you should also stop at the local brewery and see what they’ve whipped up.

(source: http://beer.about.com/od/beerrecommendations/tp/10WinterBeers.htm)

 

Carlsberg’s latest campaign gets you to share beers instead of links

Carlsberg can be quite creative when it comes to online advertisements such as this one but their latest drinks campaign in Belgium is another smart effort in promoting the brand. Creating an app called Tournée Digitale (Digital Tour), it encourages users to step away from their computers and meet their friends in person and share beers instead of links.

When you download the app, you are automatically entered into a competition where the winners get a free round of beer to share with their friends. When this happens, the app allows you to invite five of your friends to a Carlsberg event or party so you can share your drinks. You can give your Carlsburg drinks their very own name – so long as it ends with the suffix ‘sberg’ – when you’re sharing the free beers.

The final step of treating your friends is to share the news on your Facebook page about being treated by Carlsberg, thus promoting the brand to your other friends as well as a wider audience. The app is available for both iPhone and Android smartphones.

– See more at: http://www.simplyzesty.com/Blog/Article/August-2011/Carlsberg-s-latest-campaign-gets-you-to-share-beers-instead-of-links#sthash.pMU0HlNs.dpuf

New App: Beer Hunt

Beer Hunt wants to be the “go-to app” for people who like to try interesting and new beers. It’s a social game. When you’re drinking a beer, you log in to document your beer and earn points and badges that can lead to rewards in the form of free beer.

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“The design of beer hunt is meant to be simple and fun,” said CEO Shaan Puri on stage. “It is beer after all!”

Upon signing up, you answer a brief beer quiz about beers you have tried and/or like. You can then earn points for trying different beers and rise up on a leaderboard. The application also features a “drink-o-graph” with information like your beer preferences and the time since your last beer. Puri said that while Beer Hunt is a fun game, in their case, “free beer is serious business.” Craft beer is booming right now and beer is the most popular drink in the world after water and tea. The team plans to make money by providing beer brands a channel to reach customers, based on what they like and what they have had in the past.

Make sure to check it out here: http://beerhunt.com/

Hopstories

Every bottle of craft beer you take off the shelf has a story. It’s written by individuals with the passion to start a brewery and the dedication to master the craft. We share their story, and the stories behind your favorite brews, in Hopstories.

Here’s a craft beer video documentary series I think you folks might like:

 

3 Game Changers in Online Marketing

There are a lot of tools that promise to help, but the better approach may be to focus on the following three areas that every marketer needs to address if they want to succeed online

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1. Speed

Many websites are still under performing when it comes to speed, and there’s a measurable financial cost associated to this. Every second added to a website’s load decreases conversions by a massive 2% to 7% and reduces page views by 1% to 2%. Just as importantly, Google makes no secret of the fact that speed is part of its ranking process, meaning that a slow loading site is going to suffer in search results.

A fast website is, therefore, the first thing you need to ensure if you’re going to win in the increasingly competitive online retail world. There are basic, technical things you can do. For example, ensure your site is technically optimized.Also, check out your hosting and bandwidth providers and make sure that you’re not unnecessarily forcing users to download massive videos or images.

Another route to faster site speeds that’s being adopted by major players in web retail is the tag management system. Website tags are used by third-party technologies to track and control activity on a page. Many sites can have twenty or even thirty different tags per page, and each one of these will slow down a page’s loading speed. A tag management system can manage this process, speed up your site, and improve performance.

That said, speed isn’t just about the rate at which your pages load. The best companies are constantly evaluating and rolling out new approaches. To succeed, your marketing team needs to be working with your technical team to ensure that you can move quickly and make the most of the technologies and approaches that exist.

2. Customer View

Online shopping behavior is becoming more complex. Three quarters of customers use more than two points of contact to make a purchase, whether that is multiple visits to a single site or using different online and offline access methods. As a result, 25% of sales cycles take more than a month to complete from consideration to purchase.

During these extended purchase processes, there are hundreds of different influences, offers, social messaging, and other touch points that can influence a consumer decision. A user might visit your website initially, but then they might friend your Facebook page, see a display ad, visit through a search link, or head into your physical store. Retailers need to stay on top of this journey throughout its life cycle. You need to know what led to a customer buying something from your site and, more importantly, what led to them not buying.

The answer is to take a customer-centric view of your analytics, rather than a web-centric view. Traditionally, analyzing website traffic has been all about tracking individual visits to your website, but instead you need to think more broadly about what customers are doing that leads into their on-site experience.

Amazon does a great job of this, using all the information they have on you to ensure that their recommendations are almost always spot on. Similarly, Apple does a great job of integrating the in-store and online experience. They’ve taken the pain away from in-store lines with their remote iPhone-style checkouts. Would you like them to email you your receipt? Of course! And in doing so, you’ve just handed them valuable information about your purchase that they can use on their website.

 3. Personalization

Once you have a distinct understanding of your customer the next step is to see how you can personalize their experience. Personalization isn’t the same as recommendation. It’s not saying ‘you bought that so you might like this.’ It’s about building an online experience that’s truly personal and unique.

Imagine a store owner who knows you by your name, your size, your preferences, and hang ups. Imagine if you’re hesitating to buy a pricey shirt and they offer you quality reassurance or even a special offer if you’re about to walk away? What about if they can help you curate an outfit or even try it on? What if the store layout was adapted to your liking? What if you always walked into the Hugo Boss section? (Assuming that’s your cup of tea?).

This is personalization: The combination of bespoke design, layout, stock, and messaging. Some websites out there are starting to do this, but only a few so far. However, many websites still work on a site-wide change basis, changing everything for everyone. Research by Jim Manzi , has shown that only 10% of site-wide changes actually drive business change. True personalization relies on being able to serve the right content to the right segment at a specific time, nearly guaranteeing that your changes are going to drive results.

Of course, personalization isn’t a simple process, and it requires what could be the fourth game changer: automation. If you’re going to personalize for individual users effectively without killing your backstage team then you need to be able to customize on the fly based on the data you hold.

 

Why Are IPAs so Popular?

Four Reasons Why IPAs Are so Popular

  1. They taste good.
  2. They’re “advanced.”
  3. They have lots of flavor.
  4. Science!

IPAs Taste Good

It is important that Conley has separate entries for taste and flavor. It might interest you to know that they are not quite the same thing. Along with sight, smell, touch and hearing, taste is one of our five senses. Our taste buds recognize sweet, salty, sour, umami and bitter.

Bitter is certainly a major factor when tasting an IPA, as the style employs an increased amount of hops which can add what is often described as evident, bracing and even aggressive bitterness. Since everyone has slightly different tastes, what may be evident bitterness to one craft beer drinker may be bracing to another.

IPAs Are “Advanced”

While bitterness of an IPA has a lot to do with a person’s individual perception, we also know that tastes can change over time. You may not have enjoyed the first highly-hopped IPA you tried, but over time, perhaps you grew to really enjoy a bracingly bitter IPA—or not, that’s ok too!

Human taste is pre-wired from the time we’re born. For example, innately we like the taste of sweet things as children, but perhaps do not take to sour or bitter flavors right away. But as we grow up and try new things, our brain figures out that not all sour and bitter flavors are bad, such is the case with IPAs.

Experts believe that our sense of taste helped ancient humans choose what types of things were good to eat. To the human mind, a sweet taste translates to calories and energy, which is good for a hungry little hunter-gatherer. However, sour tastes may mean that the food has become rancid or is potentially poisonous.

IPA beer quote

Bitterness in beer is not bad, and actually often provides a refreshing balance. Wouldn’t beer be boring if it was just sugary sweet? So perhaps enjoying an IPA does signify a state of advanced beer appreciation. Being able to sense not just the bitterness of an IPA, but the more nuanced contributions hops add to a beer, such as aroma and flavor happens over time.

In a nut shell, beer drinkers are not pre-wired to like IPAs, you learn to like them, so in a weird way it can be a craft beer badge of honor to order one.

IPAs Have Lots of Flavor

While taste is one of our five senses, flavor is considered a synthetic sense, where a mix of stimuli come together and our brain works to recognize, record and recount a certain flavor. Taste plays a role in flavor, but all of the other senses work in cooperation to create flavor too.

When you drink an IPA, you experience a lot of different components, but your taste buds can really only tell you if what you are experiencing is sweet, bitter, sour, salty or umami. In this case, there might be some sweet and bitter, but when the taste of an IPA is paired with the aroma and golden color, you sense flavors like grapefruit, pine, roses, etc.

Science!

Each drinker’s personal taste is as unique as the fingerprints on their condensation-covered glass—it’s totally subjective. What one may like about the flavor of an IPA may be different from what another may or may not like about the style. I love IPAs, but do I love every IPA I try, not necessarily. Science is certainly a major player in the IPA discussion, from hop variety development, all the way to personal flavor perception.

Appropriately, Conley finishes with the obvious answer of, “They’re popular because damn, they’re tasty.” Does that mean that all examples of the style are tasty to everyone—no. Each of us has a unique set of tastes, both inherited and learned. Some will never like the bitterness of an IPA, and some will decide they do. Luckily, there are plenty of IPAs out there to test and train your taste buds.