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 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.

 

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

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

15 Beer and Wine Facts That May Surprise You

Did you know?

1) One glass of wine is drunk for every three bottles of beer.

 

2) Wine is nearly 50 percent stronger than beer.

 

3) The global beer industry is forecast to have a value of $496.6 billion in 2014. The global wine industry is expected to reach $327.8 billion in 2016.

 

4) Snow Beer in China is the most popular beer, with 74.8 million barrels sold in 2012.

 

5) The four key ingredients in beer are water, yeast, malt and hops. The key ingredient in wine? Grapes.

 

6) In Czech Republic, the average person drinks 346 12-ounce bottles of beer per year — the most of any other country.

 

7) Vatican City consumes more wine than any other country at 365 glasses per year, per person.

 

8) The world’s most expensive wine costs $168,000 per bottle. It is Penfolds Limited Edition Ampoule from Australia. Only 12 bottles exist worldwide.

 

9) Pale lagers and pilsners account for the top 10 most popular beer brands in the world.

 

10) At 65 percent alcohol by volume, Armageddon from Brewmaster in Scotland is the world’s strongest beer.

 

11) Sherry wine has the highest alcohol content by volume at 22 percent, followed by Port Wine at 20 percent.

 

12) At 15 percent per volume, Barley Wine has the highest alcohol content among beer.

 

13) Barley Wine is called ‘wine’ because of its high alcohol content but is actually a style of ale.

 

14) Beer contains high levels of silicon, which have been found to increase mineral density in bones, according to researchers.

 

15) Beer is easiest on the kidneys among alcoholic beverages because it has the highest water content.

 

 

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:

 

Oskar Blues Goes Big in NC Debut

Hey, if you open up a new brewery, you might as well open it up big, right? That’s what is happening at Oskar Blues, where they’re planning to take a run of Ten FIDY Imperial Stout — the first batch made at its new Brevard, N.C. facility,  as far as it can go.

Arguably the most complex brew in the brewery’s seasonal lineup, the Ten FIDY Imperial Stout will be made available in all 32 states where Oskar Blues is distributed thanks to the increased capacity.

And apparently there is room for more. On top of their consistent growth and plans to potentially push into three more states, the announcement includes a mention that a new late winter/early spring seasonal is in the works. Hey, if the space is there, use it.

Release is below.

BREVARD, NC – Oskar Blues is pumped to announce the release of the first batch of the award-winning Ten FIDY Imperial Stout from the East Coast brewery. This much-anticipated seasonal brew is now fermenting in the tanks at both the ColoRADo and NC locations. It’ll be released at parties at both Tasty Weasel Tap Rooms and distributed to all 32 states where Oskar Blues is sold.

Less than nine months after the first North Carolina brew bubbled, the brewers have recreated all seven of Oskar Blues’ regular line-up of beers, finishing with the much-anticipated, highly-coveted Ten FIDY (10.5 percent ABV).

This supremely full-bodied seasonal, that has bulldozed beer connoisseurs, will be available at your favorite watering hole or retailer earlier than ever  this year—in September—thanks, in part, to the new(ish) brewery. Following the successful release of our spring seasonal, GUBNA, the FIDY will be available until February 2014 (or until it sells out), making it a perfect holiday gift beer. Stay tuned, as Oskar Blues plans to brew up a brand new seasonal in 2014 to be sold between the GUBNA and Ten FIDY releases!

The Brevard Ten FIDY release party takes place on Thursday, August 29, 2013, at the NC Tasty Weasel. Come taste the first NC FIDY, plus another special Ten FIDY tap. The night includes a chili cook-off with brewery judges (bring extra chili to share), music from This Mountain, a rockin’ folk band from East Tennessee, Ten FIDY corn hole, and special T-shirts featuring the “First in FIDY” license plate.

Western North Carolinians who visit the brewery will be among the lucky first tasters of this uniquely crafted brew, with its inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee that hide the hefty 98 IBUs underneath a smooth blanket of malt.

The Longmont Ten FIDY release party will happen on Friday, August 30, 2013, at the ColoRADo Tasty Weasel Tap Room. The night’s offerings will feature a vertical tasting of FIDY from years past, plus a barrel-aged FIDY, a firkin of FIDY Pale, and a Nitro Smidy. Because if its hefty ABV, FIDY is uniquely cellarable and gets bought up and stored by beer geeks nationwide. The nectar becomes even more smooth with age.

An Asheville Ten FIDY release party will take place at Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. Keep an eye out for other bars and restaurants celebrating the return of this boundary-busting brew.

Oskar Blues’ Ten FIDY has been showered with accolades that almost stand up to the size of this behemoth-in-a-can, including:

  • “The biggest, baddest, boldest beer in a can” from Celebrator Beer News
  • “2008 Beer of the Year” The Denver Post
  • “100 Rating” – Ratebeer.com
  • “A-Rating” – Beeradvocate.com
  • Gold Medal – 2010 and 2012 World Beer Championships
  • “Top 51 Beers” – 2011 Beer Magazine

Ten FIDY is a super-strong beer that takes strength to make. This brew is made with an enormous amount of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY’s nearly 5000-pound grain bill is just short of 50 percent specialty malts, which are packaged in 55-lb bags and loaded into the mills by hand. The many bags of oats are poured directly into the mash tuns. The oats and rice hulls have to be lugged up 20-odd stairs to the top of the brew-decks.

“Brewing Ten FIDY is unlike any of the other beers we make. We have to mash-in two batches just to get one kettle filled because we only take the most concentrated wort from each mash. It’s a very time consuming and labor intensive process. This is part of how we make Ten FIDY so unique, rich, and complex,” says Brevard head brewer Noah Tuttle.

Ten FIDY is packaged in 12-ounce CANS and sold in 4-pack carriers, as well as on draft at craft beer retailers, growler fill shops, restaurant, bars and more.

About Oskar Blues Brewery

Founded by Dale Katechis in 1997 as a brewpub and grill, Oskar Blues Brewery launched its craft-brewed beer canning operations in 2002 in Lyons, Colo. It was the first American craft brewery to brew and hand-can its beer. Today there are more than 200 craft breweries canning beer. The original crew used a hand-canning line on a tabletop machine that sealed one can at a time. Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont packaged 59,000 in 2011 and grew to 85,750 in 2012 while opening an additional brewery in Brevard, NC, in late 2012.

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.”

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