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Breweries That Rock at Branding Their Beer

By covering everything from unique label art to special events or contests, small and independent brewers are kicking things up a notch. So, which brands are leading the pack? Check out the list below to see who has what it takes to be heard above the noise.

When it comes to marketing and branding in the world of craft brewing, it’s hard to overemphasize its importance. Take this stat from the Brewers Association, for example: From 2015 to 2016, the number of operating U.S. breweries grew 16.6 percent, and small and independent breweries accounted for 99 percent of the operating breweries in the U.S.

Essentially, that means a boom in business is creating more competition and forcing brewery owners to step up their game and find ways to stand out from the crowd. By covering everything from unique label art to special events or contests, small and independent brewers are kicking things up a notch. So, which brands are leading the pack? Check out the list below to see who has what it takes to be heard above the noise.

Ballast Point

Straight out of San Diego, California comes Ballast Point, a brewery perhaps best known for its IPAs and fishing-themed label art. It makes sense given their philosophy of doing what they love and making what they love to drink. And, since so many love fishing almost as much as brewing, their labels serve as a reminder to always do what makes you happy.

That’s genius in and of itself, but they didn’t stop there. A local San Diego artist named Paul Elder realized he and some of the Ballast Point founding members had a similar interest in fishing, and the former had an incredible artistic talent, too. His sketches became paintings, and paintings became labels. To this day, Paul Elder creates all of the fish illustrations and nautical scenes that have come to be synonymous with the Ballast Point brand. Combining local talent with a local brewery? That’s a match made in beer label heaven.

The Land-Grant Brewing Company

Next up is Ohio’s Land-Grant Brewing Company, an incredibly popular brewery born from the minds of four like-minded friends and one basset hound. This crew does it all – sustainability efforts, community service initiatives, Euchre leagues, rotating selection of food by local food trucks and more. Their can art is cool, too. Even better, Land-Grant does an exceptional job at staying true to their roots while opening themselves up to new opportunities.

By offering four core beers (always available in the taproom), they have the flexibility to try new things without losing their most ardent fans. They’ve launched seasonal releases, limited releases, Space-Grant, Sea-Grant, Sun-Grant, Supporter Series, and Collaboration Beers, all of which enable them to declare who they are and what they stand for without sacrificing growth and opportunity. Can’t ask for much more than that.


We’re heading back out west now to feature Uinta Brewing, a quirky and adventurous establishment founded in 1993 in Utah. Visit their website and you’ll see the adventure theme everywhere you look – it’s part of everything they do. And, as any marketer worth his weight will tell you, knowing who you are and what you believe is step one to achieving any level of success in the business world. Luckily for Uinta Brewing, it seems they can go ahead and cross that off the list.
Not too long ago, Uinta underwent a major makeover, keeping its “Earth, wind, and beer” tagline while removing most everything else. Their logo, compass bottle and packaging all saw major changes, but the outcome was a defined beer brand that hits the mark. From the website design and photography to typography and visual identity, this group took a long hard look at themselves and fully declared who they are. They make you want to step out and try something new, if only for the sake of the adventure. That’s something we can raise a glass to.

Pipeworks Brewing

There’s a lot to love about Pipeworks Brewing. Since opening in 2012, this Chicago based craft brewery has seen tremendous growth. That’s thanks in most part to quality brewing, a varied offering, and team of passionate individuals. You get the vibe of the brand immediately after visiting their homepage. Instead of using typical top page navigation like, “Our Beers” or “Staff,” Pipeworks infuses some personality and unique copy and voice attributes with the labels, “Beerz” and “Squad.” It’s a simple content decision that sets the tone for the site and brand.

They’ve also received significant attention and admiration for their can art. Oftentimes, they’ll use artist Jeff Kuhnie to put his magic to the labels, and his work speaks for itself. Even when the art isn’t his, they make sure to credit the illustrator on each label. Again, that’s an easy add to a label and something that highlights their passion and commitment for quality craftsmanship. It builds brand loyalty and creates a positive buzz around the brand, and costs them little in time or management.

Tröegs Brewing Company

We’re rounding out the list of top brewery brands with Hershey, Pennsylvania Tröegs Brewing Company. Founded by brothers Chris and John Trogner, this brewery has a little bit of everything. Like Land-Grant, Tröegs doesn’t stop at brewing quality beers. They host trivia nights, participate in non-profit events, attend festivals, schedule release parties and more. By taking some time to look past the walls of their taproom, they’re able to extend their reach and connect with new and current customers alike. They also have an innovative annual event that helped put them on the map.

The Art of Tröegs contest encourages artists (both local and out-of-town) to “take a piece of Tröegs” – like a label, bottle cap, etc. – and use it to create a piece of art. They don’t put a parameter on art type, either, so paintings, sculptures, collages and more all count. They display the winning work in their Art of Tröegs gallery at their Hershey, PA brewery, host an opening party to help celebrate, and award the winning artist with $500 in cash. You don’t even have to use your winnings to buy Tröegs’ beer, though they would surely accept it. This creative thinking has helped them to draw attention from people who might not otherwise drink their beer, thereby extending their influence and generating more potential customers. Well done, Tröegs!

Like we said at the beginning, it’s impossible to place too much emphasis on your brewery’s brand. Very little is as important as your image and perception to customers. The good news is that you have the freedom to try as many tactics as you’d like. Once you’ve clearly defined who you are through design, copy and a logo, your vision, and creativity can take you anywhere you want to go. The brewing industry has proven time and time again that small can be mighty and ingenuity the difference maker. Put your ideas to the test, learn from your mistakes, and dream big – your brewery has the potential to be best in class. It’s just waiting for you to get it there.

09/27/2019No comments
Breweries Near Me: How to Seek Out and Find the Best Local Breweries When Traveling

With craft breweries now located practically everywhere, beer enthusiasts often choose to try out new ones whenever they travel away from their home cities. While checking out breweries on the road can be a lot of fun, it can also be a bit difficult to find the right one to visit in an unfamiliar city. Fortunately, it isn’t too hard for beer lovers to find a great brewery, provided they know what they’re looking for and do a little bit of basic research. Here are a few of the things all craft beer enthusiasts should know to help them find the best breweries and brewpubs in new locales.

Deciding on the Kind of Place to Visit

The first step in finding the best spot in a local beer scene is knowing what to look for. Some breweries offer only beers, while others operate full kitchens where visitors can get dinner or munch on appetizers. Likewise, some breweries are quiet, subtle environments where guests can sit and have a relaxed drink, while others will be more upbeat and geared toward the night life. Another factor worth considering is whether a given brewery offers games or activities, since many enthusiasts like to have some fun while they sip their beers. Every craft brewery has its own unique character and clientele, and choosing the right one is very much a matter of personal taste. Of course, another major factor when deciding which brewery to go to is the beer selection available at each one. While most breweries will offer several different styles of beer, enthusiasts should at least check out the beers made by a brewery before deciding to go to it. Needless to say, a dedicated IPA lover won’t be able to find many of his or her favorite beers at a brewery that specializes in stouts or Belgian quads.

Best Cities to Visit for Craft Beer

Today, you can find at least one brewery or brewpub in most cities of any size. With that said, some cities are definitely better than others when it comes to finding a great local brewery. Large cities today frequently have many breweries scattered throughout them, giving visitors a chance to choose the best one for them. Some of the top craft beer cities in the United States include:

To be clear, this list is not exhaustive. In fact, there are so many craft breweries in the United States today that almost all cities have at least one. Because of this, beer enthusiasts can find great craft beer spots practically anywhere they may be traveling.

In fact, the problem for traveling beer lovers is usually locating all of the breweries and brewpubs a given city has to offer. Luckily, BeerMaps offers a convenient solution. By simply plugging in the name of a city in the BeerMaps search tool, users can quickly access a complete list and map of all the craft beer spots in that city. From there, it’s easy to go through the listings for a bit of extra information on each brewery and select the best one to visit. Using BeerMaps, craft beer lovers can narrow down their search for breweries and spend more time enjoying great beer than looking for it.

How to Spot a Great Brewery Right Away

Going to a new brewery or brewpub for the first time is always exciting, but there are a few key hints beer lovers can look for that will help them know they’ve found a spot that is just right for them. The first of these things to look for is the general atmosphere of the place. For a beer lover to have a great time at a brewery, it’s character should match his or her own reasonably well. If a person doesn’t like the feel of a place right away, he or she may want to go to another nearby brewery for a better fit.

Another thing to look for is great customer service. Whether a brewery offers only a bar or includes a complete restaurant, the waitstaff should be friendly and knowledgeable. Ideally, servers or bartenders should be able to recommend specific beers based on a visitor’s tastes and style preferences. This level of knowledge is much more important in a craft brewery context than in an ordinary bar, since first-time visitors will likely never have tried any of the beers made by that brewery before.

Finally, it’s important to look for a few critical amenities that all good breweries should have. These include large tables, more casual sitting areas with padded chairs or couches and a spacious bar area. The best breweries will also usually have outdoor seating for dining and drinking on pleasant evenings. The more comfortable the accommodations are in a particular brewery, the better the overall experience will likely be.

By deciding on the kind of place to go, using the BeerMaps search tool to do some preliminary research and knowing how to spot a great brewery right away, beer lovers can easily find great spots in cities they’ve never even visited before. Of course, a bit of a sense of adventure is also needed when trying new breweries. Even if a given city doesn’t seem to have an ideal brewery, it’s often worth taking a chance on one of the local hot spots in the interest of trying something entirely new.

02/25/2019No comments
3 Best Cities to Visit Breweries

Opportunities abound when checking out a new city. The sights and sounds assault your senses – so much to see and do, but where to start? There are only so many tourist attractions you can take in before they all begin to look the same and the lustre wears off. After you hit up all the usual attractions, museums, and architectural marvels, there’s only one thing left to do – check out the local breweries, of course!

But unless your vacation was planned around hops and ale, where do you start? Planning a microbrewery tour on your next vacation begins with one question: what cities have the best breweries? If your trip is a bit spontaneous, it can be a bit challenging to decide which brewery to visit first, since new ones pop up every day. In fact, according to the Brewers Association, around 100 new microbreweries opened in the United States in 2010 – and that number skyrocketed to nearly 800 new microbreweries by 2017. The number of breweries overall was just shy of 4,000 in 2014 and is now hovering near 7,500.

So, how do you decide if a brewery is a must-visit? Well, there are a few prerequisites:

  • Excellent beer, of course!
  • How much fun is the tap room?
  • Do they offer tours?
  • Is it centrally located?

The following list of must-visit breweries includes two not-to-miss cities in the US, and one in a country whose name conjures images of tall frosty mugs upon mention – see if you agree…

3. Denver, Colorado

It’s no secret that Colorado is a beer state. Coors, Odell, and Oskar Blues call the state home. Just outside Denver, Fort Collins is a Colorado city obsessed with the frothy stuff. But Denver has become not just a local Coloradan’s beer destination, but one that people from around the country visit. The Great American Beer Festival has been held here since 1984. This festival is all about celebrating a great American pastime – beer drinking – and the people who make craft brewing possible. While the festival is officially held in the Colorado Convention Center, the whole city joins in the celebration with beer-themed events taking place throughout the city. And while most think of snow when they think of Colorado, Denver enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine every year, promising sunny weather for the festival and allowing many of the local breweries to sport outdoor taprooms.

Some of the best breweries to come out of Colorado include Blue Moon and Wynkoop, the latter of which was the first microbrewery in Denver. In fact, the man who started Wynkoop became the Mayor of Denver and went on the be the Governor of Colorado – bit of a weird path to take, but such are Denver’s deep roots of beerdom.

2. Seattle, Washington

If you’ve ever considered a good old-fashioned beer pilgrimage, one of your stops has to be in Seattle. This Pacific Northwest city was one of the first in the nation to begin crafting brews, probably before some self-proclaimed marketing guru ever even coined the term “craft brewed”.

Pike Brewing Company is definitely one of the first spots in the city you have to hit as soon as you arrive. In putting together your brewery itinerary, next stops will include Fremont and Georgetown. Afterwards, Holy Brewing. If you’re up for it, after that head to Optimism or Urban Family. And the list goes on. There aren’t any bad breweries in Seattle, so if you have the time, check out Perihelion, too.

Aside from breweries, Seattle is chock-full of fantastic, no-name dive bars and gastropubs. Burgers and fries take on a whole new meaning when paired with some of Seattle’s best microbrews.

And our no. 1 brewery city?

1. Bamberg, Germany

It’s definitely no secret that Germany is a country built on beer. In fact, if you know brewers or journalists with a beer section in the local paper, your conversations have most likely included Bamberg at some point. The Kellerwald is located in a Franconian forest – the setting is likened to legendary myths, but it does exist. Think moss-covered hills, chestnut and large oak trees surrounding you, complete with the best lagers in the world. When breweries in Germany look to make a dent in the craft brewing scene, their inspiration comes from Bamberg and Kellerwald.

Munich’s Oktoberfest can only hope to be what Kellerwald’s Annafest has become. These festival grounds tout beer gardens, carnival rides, and food trucks spattered throughout the Kellerwald – a true paradise of craft brewing. On a whirlwind, worldwide beer-scapade, Annafest in the Kellerwald in the pinnacle – the mark all other craft brewing regions hope to be.

In downtown Bamberg, check out breweries Greifenklau, Torchuster, Knoblach, and Holzlein. One of the only smoked beers in the world, Schlenkerla, should not be missed.

So whether you pair your beer with a pair of skis in Denver, some oysters at Pike Place Market in Seattle, or in an enchanted forest in Germany, you’re sure to make some lasting friendships – with the brewery owners, of course!

01/04/2019No comments