I love everything about craft brewing, from the quality beers birthed with heart and unrivaled attention to detail and to the individuals behind some of the greatest business success stories ever told.
Need some examples? Both Brooklyn Brewery and Dogfish Head have fantastic stories. But there is one thing that seems to get overshadowed by the beer itself: Image. Craft brewing relies heavily on public perception and brand messaging. “How do I make my brewery stand out?” Craft brewers are faced with that every day. The challenge is what works today often doesn’t work 5 years from now. A great example of what happens when a brewery faces these challenges head-on can be found with our friends at the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville, Washington.
Change is hard for a business. Change after 30 years is even harder. According to Redhook’s Brand Manager, Robert Rentsch, “We realized we weren’t celebrating the big personality that Redhook is in the way it deserved to be celebrated.” It takes courage for a company to admit this. It takes even more courage to do something about it. As part of their 30-year anniversary, Redhook Brewery is giving their beer a facelift. In other words, it’s time the carpet matched the drapes. Check out the image (after the jump) below of how Redhook has changed its bottles throughout the years. It’s a great visual study of a business working to find its identity.
The new look for Redhook Brewery has it all: new bottles, redesigned labels and packaging, and, to top things off, new caps.
The labels, specific to each beer style, will also feature unique color schemes and Redhook’s simple beer-o-meter, a kind of beer for dummies guide that gently guides you through the basic flavor profiles of refreshing, smooth, bold and dark. As if that weren’t enough, they’ve also switched to a unique custom-designed bottle that will make it even easier to identify Redhook’s beers on the shelf. The new caps combine two great tastes that go great together, learning and drinking. Each cap will feature iconic images and a little bit of Redhook history. Kind of a memory lane trip with a craft brewed kicker.
In an industry where it seems to be all about how insane your beers can be, and how non-mainstream your image is, there’s something to be said about recalibrating. So whether you like the changes or hate them, you have to admire and respect the effort and the motivation behind it. I applaud Redhook for their introspection and hope that other breweries will take note. In the meantime, I’ll be unscrewing one of those new caps…