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.

Top Winter Beers at Colorado’s Craft Breweries

One of the most glorious and distinct harbingers of winter in Colorado is the appearance of seasonal beers. Winter is the time to take advantage of flavors such as roasted malts, chocolate, pepper spice and caramel. Below are a few winter warmers from Colorado craft breweries to keep an eye out for, according to Colorado.com.

Left Hand Brewery in Longmont boasts two winter brews. Fade to Black, which was the 2010 Great American Beer Festival’s Gold Medal-winner (foreign stout category), has rich notes of licorice, espresso bean and molasses. Good Juju, the reincarnation of the former year-round offering Juju Ginger, is a bit lighter but has the seasonal spiciness that only comes from brewing with pungent ginger.

It’s said that the San Juan Mountain snowpack is responsible for the quality and freshness of the Winter Ale from Durango Brewing Co. Those who live in this southwestern town demand great après-ski beers, and this ale, with a lightly fruity taste and cocoa finish delivers. Plus, it’s available by the growler from the Main Ave. Tap Room, making it easy to enjoy by the fire at home or in your ski condo.

Boulder Beer Company calls its Never Summer Ale “assertively hopped” which sounds scary, but isn’t if you like beers with a ruby-red hue. Beloved by Boulderites as an après-ski standard, the ale was a gold-medal winner in the 2004 World Beer Cup.

New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins developed a cult-like following for its 2° Below Winter Ale from inception. It’s one of the brewery’s most beloved small batches, delivering a slightly hoppy beer with some pepper and spice that pair perfectly with Monterey Jack cheese, dark meats and desserts featuring pears or apples.

Once brewed only in small batches for employees of Coors, AC Golden Brewing Company’s (a subsidiary of MillerCoors in Golden) crisp Winterfest lager has gained a faithful following since they started brewing slightly larger batches. One of the most fun things about this one is its exclusivity — you can only get it in Colorado.

Though the Northstar Imperial Porter brewed each winter by Boulder’s Twisted Pine Brewing Company is extremely enjoyable at the time of purchase, it’s also brewed to last. Connoisseurs can stow a six pack away in a cool, dark spot to savor its deliciously aged, full-bodied malted flavors a few winters from now.

Great Divide Brewing Company’s richly malted Hibernation Ale should be sipped cautiously — with 8.7 percent alcohol by volume, it’s one of the strongest winter selections. What really takes center stage, however, are the ale’s chocolate and dark fruit flavors. Visit their Denver tap room’s monthly beer-and-cheese pairing to find out what goes best with this winter favorite.

Other Colorado Craft Brews to Try

Estes Park Brewery’s German-style High Altitude Alt
Kannah Creek Brewing Company
’s Rudolph’s Revenge malty red ale (Grand Junction)
Breckenridge Brewery
’s hearty chocolate and caramel Christmas Ale
Avery Brewing Company
’s hazelnutty Old Jubilation Ale (Boulder)
Odell Brewing Co.
’s subtly sweet Isolation Ale (Fort Collins)
Pagosa Brewing Company
’s chocolate-and-vanilla-tinged Pack-It-In Wassail Ale (Pagosa Springs)

Many of these breweries offer tours of their operations, a particularly festive way to get your taste on. For information on all of Colorado’s craft brewers, visit the Colorado Brewers Guild.

– See more at: http://www.colorado.com/articles/top-winter-beers-colorados-craft-breweries#sthash.gFGQKOZT.dpuf

The 5 Best Beers to Share for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner calls for some class. Wine is the obvious choice, but if your apron is selvedge and your turkey is heirloom, your tipple should be similarly trad. And that means beer. Here are a few great beer suggestions to bring to your Thanksgiving celebration.

Logsdon Seizoen Bretta, 8.0%

This true-to-the-name farmhouse brewery makes one kind of beer: saison. And they make it well. Run by the mad, yeast-wrangling genius behind Wyeast, Logsdon isn’t afraid to play with untraditional fermentations. This particular brew is spiked with brettanomyces, a wild yeast that gives it an extra-dry kick and a boisterous boost of carbonation — my bottle gushed like something possessed; keep a towel handy. When the head dies down, you’ll taste hay, horses, and funk with a prickling, appetite-whetting finish. Start your meal here.

Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies, 7.2% 
Ring in the harvest with this fresh-hopped IPA, dosed with just-picked Amarillos straight from the Washington farm that first discovered the now-classic strain. But don’t  fear: this is no palate-wrecking, resinously bitter boozer like other big IPAs. The orange-blossomy hops are kept well in check, their citrussy oils turning more refreshing than overpowering, making the beer a great spritzy intermezzo.

North Coast Old Stock 2011 Reserve, 15.2%
Classically British, with rich Maris Otter barley and flowery Fuggle and Golding hops, this winter warmer is as close to port as beer can safely get, packed with  chewy, butter-toffee sweetness. Used to be, stock ales like this were brewed on a first son’s birth and not cracked until the heir turned 18. Strong enough to stand a year or more in the cellar, save a bottle for later — if you can.

Firestone Anniversary Ale XVII, 13.3%
Firestone is a barreled-beer specialist, its cellar masters keeping watch over some 1,500 casks at a newly-built satellite brewery focusing just on wood-aging. Their Anniversary releases put that archive to use. This year’s is a blend of seven of Firestone’s barrel-aged beers, including classics like Double DBA and some unexpected twists like a blonde barley wine with tropical El Dorado hops called Helldorado, all mixed by a team of local winemakers. It’s dark and rich and dizzying strong, nutty sweet and glazed with caramel. Have your rum cake, and drink it too.

The Bruery Oude Tart, 7.5%
A Flemish-style red ale, aged in wine barrels for a year and a half, Oude Tart is sweetly sour, like high-octane balsamic vinegar drizzled on cherries. It’s a perfect cleansing dessert when the gravy boat runs dry — a near-repentant tangy slap to smack the grease off your palate.

Read More http://www.gq.com/life/food/201311/the-5-best-large-format-beers-for-thanksgiving-dinner#ixzz2llwwAlTT

Colorado beer festival event calendar: Fall and winter

The madness that is  Week is in the rear-view mirror, and what better way to recover than to load up your calendar with more beer-soaked events around Colorado.

 

Chef N Brew
Thurs., Nov. 14
EXDO Event Center, 1399 35th St, Denver

The food and beer pairing event returns for a second year with 15 chefs and 15 brewers teaming up and attendees voting on their favorite combinations. The cramped quarters and long lines at last year’s venue, the Oriental Theater, drew complaints so the move is good news. See the participating chefs and brewers confirmed so far and get tickets here for $49 and $59.

Parade of Darks
Sat., Dec. 7, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Wynkoop Brewing, 1634 18th St, Denver, CO 80202

Liquid courage before the annual Parade of Lights downtown. The Wynkoop’s Fourth Annual Parade of Darks promises winter seasonal beers from more than 35 breweries. Benefits MetroCare Ring, the local hunger relief organization. Advance tickets are $35 and day-of-event tickets are $42, and all attendees receive a commemorative glass and unlimited sampling. Buy tickets and check out last year’s impressive pour list here.

Denver Beer Festivus
Sat., Dec. 14, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, Denver

Here’s a way to drink beer from just about every single Denver brewery in one setting. The 2nd Denver Beer Festivus – borrowing the name of the faux “Seinfeld” holiday with feats of strength and airings of grievances – will feature at least 24 breweries from within our fair city limits. Nineteen breweries poured last year. Among the anticipated new arrivals: Factofum BrewhouseJagged Mountain Craft Brewery and Station 26 Brewing. Presented by Denver Off the Wagon and Imbibe Denver. Tickets are $40 and available here.

Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywine
Jan. 9-11, 2014
Vail Cascade Resort and Spa, Vail

The 14th annual installment of one of the state’s best beer festivals, featuring high-alcohol beers (7 percent is the minimum) and high altitude (8,150 feet). The main attraction is the Saturday afternoon tasting session featuring Colorado and national breweries, but the educational aspects make Big Beers different from a lot of fests. This year features seminars and workshops on saisons, cooking with beer, brewing with Brettanomyces and more. The bitter taste of the Broncos’ playoff loss to the Ravens lingers for those who attended last year’s event. Here is a link to the lineup and tickets sales for the commercial tasting and seminars. Tickets to the dinners and the special packages are sold out.

 

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:

 

Craft Beer Continues to Outpace Expectations

Craft beer industry posts double-digit growth, Boulder’s Brewers Association reports

Contribution by Alicia Wallace

Lindsay Kleinsasser enjoys a pint at Oskar Blues’ Tasty Weasel Tap Room in Longmont this past March. (Jonathan Castner / Camera file photo)

The craft brewing industry is sustaining its torrid growth pace by notching double-digit gains in sales and volume for the first six months of 2013, according to a report released Monday by the Boulder-based Brewers Association.

Dollar sales and volume for craft brewers — defined as “small, independent and traditional” — were up 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively, through June, according to the nonprofit trade association. During the same period last year, sales and volume were up 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

If the pace continues, it would be the fourth consecutive year of double-digit sales and volume growth for the industry, which has seen volume sales increase every year since 1969 and dollar sales grow since 1997, officials for the Brewers Association said.

“To sustain double-digit growth year after year is not to be taken for granted,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association. “But the craft beer revolution is on.”

The sales growth comes amid a continued swelling of the craft brewing ranks.

Through the first half of 2013, there were 2,483 craft breweries in operation in the United States, a more than 20 percent increase from the first half of last year. Additionally, there were 1,605 breweries in planning at the end of June.

The brewery boom has been felt locally, with new operations popping up throughout Boulder County.

Four weeks in operation, Louisville’s Twelve Degree Brewing has been four-and-a-half years in the making.

“Craft beer fans like to sample and experiment, so I think the idea of lots of small breweries — each with its own personality and style — is a very good thing,” Jon Howland, Twelve Degree’s founder, said in an e-mail. “I’m a big fan of Belgium’s beer culture and that’s the situation over there. Almost every little town has its own brewery and, in many cases, more than one.

“It’s really exciting to see this happen in the U.S.”

Craft breweries account for 98 percent of U.S. breweries, officials for the association said.

“More breweries are currently operating in the U.S. than at any time since the 1870s,” Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, said in a statement. “With each new brewery opening, American craft brewers are reinforcing the (United States’) position as the world’s most diverse brewing nation.”

Overall beer sales fell 2 percent through the first six months of the year, according to the Brewers Association report.

Leading the craft segment’s charges are the continued growth among established brewers within the industry, Herz said.

“The majority of new brewers are not at the volume yet,” she said.

Longmont’s Oskar Blues Brewery, the largest brewer in Boulder County, on Monday reported a 38 percent growth in volume for the first half of 2013, outpacing the craft industry by 25 percentage points.

Fueling the growth was the opening of a Tasty Weasel Taproom and brewery in Brevard, N.C., said Chad Melis, an Oskar Blues spokesman. Oskar Blues opened the additional brewery to increase capacity and to more easily supply the East Coast.

The boom in new craft brewers can help all within the industry, Melis said.

“I think there’s increased competition, but for us I think we’re still a pretty small industry,” Melis said. “As more and more people are opening up breweries, we’re able to tell our story through other people … I think it’s continuing to draw attention to quality beer.”

Big Franchise Taps Into Marketing Opportunity with Craft Beer

Better Burger, Better Brew

Smashburger’s beer pairings continue to differentiate the brand.

Smashburger cofounder explains craft beer and burger pairing at Chicago event.
Smashburger cofounder Tom Ryan explains a craft beer and burger pairing at a recent Chicago event. Daniel P. Smith.
Inside Smashburger’s newest Chicago-area restaurant, a hip-looking joint in the city’s trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood, company founder and chief concept officer Tom Ryan holds up the brand’s Windy City Burger as if it’s Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Packed with layers of melted Cheddar cheese, haystack onions, lettuce, tomato, and spicy mustard on a pretzel bun, the Windy City Burger is the fast-casual chain’s exclusive offering for the Chicago market and continues Smashburger’s six-year run of creating local burgers across its 209-store national footprint.

“This burger,” Ryan says, “represents the heartiness and boldness that is Chicago.”

In quick time, Ryan turns the floor over to his company’s newest partners from Chicago-based Goose Island, among the nation’s most celebrated breweries. Goose Island’s brewmaster, Brett Porter, and head of education, Suzanne Wolcott, detail how the toasty, caramel malt flavors in Goose Island’s Honker’s Ale complement the Windy City Burger.

The June 20 beer-and-burger pairing launched Smashburger’s 10th relationship with a craft brewer and helped spotlight craft brews’ continued emergence in the limited-service world.

Once reserved for bars and full-service restaurants, craft beers have pushed into fast-casual eateries around the country, available at spots such as Chipotle, Noodles & Company, and Shake Shack. For most craft brewers, growing entry into the quick-service world is a welcome trend that provides expanded market reach and diversification.

“Craft beer is a 30-year-old overnight success story, and there’s no turning back. Localization of the beer market is in every nook of the U.S.,” says Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association.

“By tapping into craft brewing, one of the most energetic and innovative industries out there, we’re able to offer our guests something that is special, high quality, and distinctive.”

According to the Brewers Association, the craft category, which the Association defines as “small and independent” (wording that excludes the Anheuser-Busch InBev–owned Goose Island enterprise), captured 15 percent volume growth and 17 percent dollar growth in 2012. Craft brewing’s total sales share in 2012 was 6.5 percent by volume and 10.2 percent by dollars.

“This tells us there’s a growing segment of customers looking for craft beer and they’ll go where they can to get it and spend more at the places that offer it,” Herz says.

That surging momentum has motivated and inspired quick-service folks like Ryan to bring craft beer into the fold.

Over the last two years, Denver-based Smashburger has created local burger and craft-brew pairings in markets throughout the U.S., including partnerships with Summit Brewing in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Christian Moerlein in Cincinnati, Sixpoint in New York City, New Belgium in Denver, and Deep Ellum in Dallas. Ryan teases future pairings in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Sacramento, California.

“The idea is that once we have enough stores in a given market, we’ll pursue these partnerships and write the next chapter of our localization,” Ryan says. “We want to cater to local tastes as part of our brand mantra, and local craft beer is something people are gravitating toward.”

The partnerships, Ryan says, are also an effort to differentiate Smashburger in the ultra-competitive better-burger space. Same goes for the pairing suggestions from beverage and culinary experts, which are listed on the menuboard.

“I believe differentiation is the key to success in a highly competitive marketplace,” he says. “By tapping into craft brewing, one of the most energetic and innovative industries out there, we’re able to offer our guests something that is special, high quality, and distinctive.”

Though beer represents less than 4 percent of Smashburger’s total sales, Ryan expects the continued allure of craft beer to elevate that number. In fact, beer sales have jumped 20–50 percent in markets where Smashburger has introduced its craft-beer pairings.

Smashburger, which now has 11 Chicago-area stores, approached Goose Island about a potential partnership in mid-2012. Wolcott says Goose Island leadership appreciated Smashburger’s work to localize its menu and store environments, as well as the chain’s focus on quality.

“We’re a Chicago craft brewer that doesn’t take shortcuts, so we embraced what Smashburger was trying to do because it very much matches our work,” Wolcott says.

Over the course of nearly one year, Ryan, Porter, and Wolcott held numerous tastings to define which of Goose Island’s nearly 20 beers best complemented Smashburger’s signature entrées.

“The only challenge is to do this from an authentic perspective and commit the time to creating the pairings and rolling this out,” Ryan says. “Once in the restaurant, bottled beer isn’t hard to do.”

Ryan says the simultaneous innovation that has occurred in the burger and beer worlds affords his brand the opportunity to evolve America’s favorite food—the burger—and its favorite adult beverage for the next generation.

“With relationships like these, we can show people that burgers and beer are different than they used to be,” Ryan says.

A Glorious Map Of Craft Beer Across The U.S.

Infographic of the Day as Seen on FastCoDesign.com

Selected as the Infographic of the Day on Fast Company’s web site, this wonderfully created info graphic shows how craft beer has continued to flourish state-by-state. Enjoy this visual map of breweries, consumers and growth across our beer-boasting country.

[button link=”http://craftbrew.cirqlemedia.com/the-invasion-of-craft-breweries-in-the-u-s/” color=”orange”] The Invasion of Craft Breweries in the U.S. – Interactive Map[/button]

Which state makes the most craft beer? California. But that’s only part of the story. Lagunitas makes more than one amazing beer, as does Stone Brewing Co. Today, both of these once-tiny California breweries have blossomed into household names that you can spot on almost any decent tap. But they’re only two of the 316 craft breweries found in the monster state of California, which can boast almost double the craft breweries of the next mightiest beer state, Washington.

It’s one of many factoids you’ll pick up in The New Yorker’s interactive infographic that we have included here Mapping the Rise of Craft Beer. It employs a relatively simple interface–a few toggles and mouseovers–to convey an incredible amount of information, a brown, tan, and yellow state of the union of frothy fuzzyheadedness.

The new craft breweries in 2012.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I guess I’ve gotta move to California now.” Untrue! A more studied approach to consumption would be to weigh not just how many breweries are in a given state, but how many breweries are in a given state per person. In this regard, Vermont takes the crown. They may only have 25 craft breweries across the state, but with a population of only 626,201 people, that’s the best ratio of man to brewery in the U.S. Or if all-around performance is more your speed, Oregon should probably be your pick. It ranks fourth in variety, fifth in production, and second in breweries per capita.

It’s all enough to make a man wary of the sustainability of the craft beer movement. That is, until he cracks another cold one in the name of supporting the underdog.

[button link=”http://craftbrew.cirqlemedia.com/the-invasion-of-craft-breweries-in-the-u-s/” color=”orange”] The Invasion of Craft Breweries in the U.S. – Interactive Map[/button]

Craft Breweries Top a Record Milestone

U.S. Brewery Count Passes 2500.

A wonderful story from the Brewers Association this week highlights the continued growth, and consumer support of the Craft Beer industry in America.

The number of U.S. breweries continues to climb rapidly. Brewery Detective and Membership Coordinator Erin Glass reported the May 31 U.S. brewery count as 2514. This count is up 422 from the May 31, 2012 count of 2092. The count on May 31, 2011 was 1747. So we are at 767 more breweries in just two years. The annual increase in brewery count from May to May looks like:

2013–2514, an increase of 422 in the past year.

2012–2092, an increase of 345 in the year.

2011–1747, an increase of 132 in the year.

2010–1615, an increase of 93 in the year.

2009–1522, an increase of 63 in the year.

The list includes 24 breweries we code as “large” in our database for A-B, Miller-Coors and breweries named for brands of Goose Island (packaging brewery), Leinenkugel’s and Blue Moon. In addition there are 109 regional breweries, 1214 microbreweries, and 1167 brewpubs.

The number of microbreweries passed the number of brewpubs in February 2013 for the first time since 1987.

Our count of breweries-in-planning is at 1559, up from 1228 a year ago. (But we did purge a couple hundred from the roles last fall and winter.)

It makes me thirsty just to think about our current pace of openings. I wouldn’t expect the rate of opening to continue at over two new breweries per day on average, but it sure looks like I’ll be posting about passing 3000 breweries sometime in 2014. When will this trend crest?

Contributor – Paul Gatza, Brewers Association