It takes more than just great beer to stand out in today’s craft scene. With over 150 breweries in the Hoosier state alone, selling those savory suds can be stiff competition. Whether you’re the beer-casual type or a hype-chasing haze fiend, the first thing you see before ever trying a beer is the label. Even if you’re just stopping in to a brewpub, the breweries’ branding is on t-shirts, mugs, and plastered on the walls.
Craft beer is getting a lot of attention in 2019, and with Roundpeg’s Beer:30 coming up, I figured it was as good a time as any to write about beer. I’m going to take a look at some Indiana breweries that I think are doing the most to sell their brews.
(Disclaimer: Brewery links are ages 21+).
Brewlink Brewing Company
This Plainfield brewery has been churning out sugary suds since 2016. While they do brew more “traditional” beer (like their Insert Hop Reference and Ronaldo’s Hefewizen), their artwork and their quippy names lend themselves excellently to sweet, pastry-filled beers like the Hole in One donut sour and the Double-O Oreo stout.
Each beer series has their own character doodles, which are often the personified ingredients for the beer. Although their website could use a bit of a facelift, the assets for a great brand are all there. From the product photography to the icons, this is a brand that makes you want to try their beer.
Like Brewlink, this Columbus, Indiana brewery capitalizes on making some absurdly sweet beers. Their Slushy series is a nice Berliner with fruit puree added, making for a smoothie-like experience. What can you do to market such an insane product? Sell it for what it is: candy in a can. Their pastry stout line usually features some breakfast item or dessert confection.
They know a case could be made that what they’re brewing borderline isn’t beer – and they’re banking on it. The 450 brand is undergoing a huge change: their more traditional farmhouse straight-out-a-cornfield look is heading out the door to make room for the new, sweeter take. The hundreds of devoted people lining up every other Friday for their beer releases says something about the efficacy of this switch.
Indiana City Brewing
Indiana City’s brewpub, located in downtown Indianapolis, is housed in the former location of Indiana’s largest pre-prohibition brewery. The building isn’t just great for brewing, but it makes for a classy, patinaed photo opportunity. Indiana City’s branding is just that: home-grown and worn-in.
The logo itself features the state’s emblem of a burning torch, wearing it’s hometown love on the sleeve. Indiana City has posh flagship labels, but love having local talent collaborate on new designs. Few things give you as good a taste of the city as stopping in for a pint at Indiana City Brewing.
This brewery hasn’t been around for too long, but they’ve got some of the best branding and consistency I’ve seen out of the circle city. They’ve only just started distributing, but you can tell a Big Lug beer when you see it.
Their bold, animated style and not-so-serious approach to beer is a fresh take – especially from more of a hard-line brewery that churns out traditional styles.
All art and images owned by the respective brewery.
Working at Roundpeg has given me a keen eye for design and branding. We know the level of difficulty behind good food marketing, so we can certainly appreciate the challenge these breweries face when trying to put themselves out there. We’ve put together some really great branding and websites for several local restaurants and venues.
See something you’d like to try? Interested in starting your own food brand? I love to talk beer, be it with a new friend or potential client. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can continue the conversation!