New Craft Beer Means New Brew Kit Packaging

voyageur brewing_grand marais_craft beer

Craft beer is the way. It’s the truth. It’s the future.


I might consider myself a craft beer aficionado (read: snob) but I think at least one of those descriptors is true for everybody: Craft beer really is the future. Stats from 2014 show a lot of growth in the craft brewing industry, and not just on the sales side. But if you’re not a numbers person, just look at the tap selection of any restaurant. Chances are good that you’ll see more than just your usual Lites. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t see any of those–but that’s probably just my snobbery talking.

The craft beer movement has added a certain class to beer-drinking. It’s made beer something to sip, something to enjoy. Something to talk about. Beer isn’t just a thing to chug at a frat party anymore. It’s got tasting notes, unique ABV’s, aromas, colors, and ingredients. Talking points. Which have become selling points.

Craft breweries are opening left and right. Two opened nearly across the street from each other in the last town I lived in. A town with a population of only about 1300. Minnesota has a huge craft brew community, both in commercial- and home-brewing. You could spend a week touring the breweries just between Duluth and the Canadian border.

The growth of the craft brew industry suggests that everyone wants a seat on this train. As the demand for new, unique beers grows greater, more beer lovers are turning to brewing their own. If you thought choosing a wine was a tiring process, try picking out a craft beer. The graphics are top notch. The logos are epic. The names are hilariously punny. And with new breweries, comes new merch.

Yes, the retail world of craft beer is getting to be dog-eat-dog. Every man/woman for their shelf, as it were. Distributors are always trying to pick the next big brew. If you’re a distributor trying to get a beer into the wild that is pubs and restaurants–or maybe a brewer yourself–you might want to consider a high-end presentation piece. Let the stunning quality of a custom launch kit highlight your craft beers with crisp organization.

Imagine a custom box, sturdy as treasure chest, embossed with your brewery’s name.

A foil stamped logo shining on turned edge presentation packaging. A clasped handle box, complete with tuck tabs and a turned edge, hardwood-pattern custom print enticing you to open it. Inside is a precise-fitting die cut foam filling, cradling a sampling of your craft beers like the gems they are. In between, a custom cavity housing a personalized bottle opener, or perhaps a fancy tasting glass with your brewery’s name front and center. Or how about a t-shirt?  A pint glass? A flash drive? A thermoformed blister pack with a sample of hops?

All of this is possible with a custom marketing kit. Use it as promotional packaging for your distributor, a holiday gift pack, a Kickstarter incentive, or even a drawing for a raffle. Upscale presentation packaging adds big value to any item–even craft beer.

Or maybe you’re selling home brewing kits. Clean, organized packaging with instructions and tasting notes, and room for booklets and tools, goes a long way with to helping a first-time brewer choose a kit at a homebrew store.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of how launch kit boxes can work towards getting a new brew noticed.

300219-Clic_Clak_boxspotlight boxesIMG_5415

MillerCoors Changes Packaging After Rough Third Quarter

So what does a company do after the worst quarter in its history? Change the packaging. At least that’s what MillerCoors is doing to Miller Genuine Draft. The new “Black” packaging for MGD highlights the brand’s heritage as the original cold-filtered draft beer in a bottle. MGD has become the beer brand of choice for Millenial consumers (those born between 1980 and 1995) but it’s third-quarter sales have experienced a double-digit decline.

Along with some new ads, the packaging will hit retail shelves in the coming weeks. MillerCoors describes the new packaging as more “stylish” and “internationally-alluring”. At a time when Miller Genuine Draft sales have continued to slide, MillerCoors is expecting the packaging change so help get sales back on track.

Heineken Takes Minimal Approach to Green Packaging

Both Heineken and French design company, ORA-ÏTO, teamed up back in 2002 and created the Heineken aluminum bottle packaging which won a myriad of awards. Fast forward to 2010.

Back at it again, they’ve created the Icone Pure; a 100% sustainable aluminum bottle with a simple design. Heineken and ORA-ÏTO reinforce the notion that great custom packaging can be minimal and still maintain a stylish look. The bottle is covered with a white veneer and features Heineken’s iconic green logo with a minimal green dotted pattern. Truly unique- can’t say I’ve ever seen a beer bottle like this before- and it’s green.

The Heineken Pure green packaging is successful in branding the bottle as “pure” and “green” while still maintaining the aesthetic of the Heineken brand.

Roadkill Packaging?

Yes, this is disgusting, but it was too intriguing not to share. In the packaging world, we call this, I dunno, “Bizarre packaging”?

Scottish brewery, BrewDog, has pushed the boundaries for both brewing and packaging beer. This specific blonde Belgian ale is called “The End of History” and has 55% alcohol content. The crazy-high alcohol content easily makes it the strongest beer in the world. It’s infused with fresh juniper berries and nettles picked from the Scottish Highlands. Extreme freezing techniques were used to induce the insane levels of alcohol.

What would an extreme ale like this be without extreme packaging? Roadkill packaging to be exact. That’s right, an actual taxidermist took care of the packaging of this brew using salvaged roadkill that was tailored specifically for bottling purposes.

James Watt, one of BrewDog’s co-founders, said they were trying to push the boundaries of convention when it comes to beer. “For us, we’ve always been huge fans of art and taxidermy,” he said. “Since it’s our final installment in our series of high-alcohol beers, we wanted to do something special, completely different for the packaging and the response from the people who drink our beer has been fantastic.”

Only twelve bottles have been made from squirrel and stoat bodies holding a hefty price tag of $765 per 12oz bottle. Hmm, I am rendered speechless…..

Packaging is Stealing the Show

Packaging has long played a supporting role in advertising but in today’s world, it’s starting to steal the show. Brand marketers are increasingly bringing their product’s packaging to the forefront of brand communication both visually and by incorporating advertising strategies on the packaging itself.

So what’s with packaging’s growing significance as a branding tool? The increasing aesthetic sophistication that applies to packaging is too hard to ignore. There is one huge challenge for packaging however: the environment. Pressure has been placed on manufacturers to cut down on packaging and reduce waste to help sustain the environment. Packaging companies are trying to find creative ways to develop green packaging solutions as the need for marketers to communicate eco-friendliness to consumers is growing rampantly.

Finding a happy marriage between creative packaging and sustainability is not exactly easy- there are limitations.  But it’s an ambition manufacturers and marketers are relentlessly pursuing.

So lets check out the “Recyclage de Luxe” campaign rolled out by Stella Artois last year. While taking various measures to lessen their environmental impact, Stella Artois launched the campaign in the UK. They’re earning their eco-cred by making greener packaging and engaging consumers in recycling initiatives.

Since the start of the campaign, all Stella Artois’ cans have been made from at least 50% recycled aluminum, its bottles are above the industry standard of 75% recycled glass, and its corrugated Stella Artois boxes are made from 100% recyclable paper.

When it went live in July, Recyclage de Luxe comprised three executions across media, including TV and the press. Each focused on a different aspect of packaging – the corrugated packs, recycled bottles and recycled cans.

At the end of the month, the brewer launched its Hedge Fund on-pack promotion, a bid to boost sales with eco-incentives for consumers. Consumers buying some of the larger packs would be investing in an actual hedge, which would be grown to three times the size of the pack itself.

The campaign would help “replenish Britain’s depleted hedgerows, which are critical to the existence of many plants and animals”.The Hedge Fund promotion enables Stella Artois to help consumers take those small steps and together reduce the rate of climate change.

Stella Artois says that the campaign has so far “been very successful”, but is unable at this stage to divulge internal data proving this. It says that its marketing has been “very motivating for consumers”.

More info:
Stella Artois Hedge Fund