On Designing A Brand That Is Worthy Of The Craft Brewery It Represents

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The Brewer’s Blog was launched last year by Dageraad Brewing founder Ben Coli as he prepared for opening. It’s now being picked up by Josh Vanderheide, who is on his way to opening Field House Brewing Co. in Abbotsford.

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by Josh Vanderheide | With build process nearing completion and our equipment being installed this week, we’re starting to wrap our heads around the day to day operations of running a craft brewery. Candidly, I have no idea how this will all play out, but I’m nervously excited to find out.

Our new focus is finishing all the little details that help create a Craft Beer Experience. I’m sure you have heard the phrase  “the devil is in the details” before. A quick wiki search arrives at this definition: “…a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details, and derives from the earlier phrase ‘God is in the detail’ expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e. details are important.”

We’ve taken that to heart and are working really hard to consider all the little things in creating a brand that represents our business and makes sense for our community. Why is a brand so important in the beer industry? It’s simple: a good beer with a crappy brand never gets picked up off the shelf; and vice versa – a crappy beer with a great brand gets bought once and then never again. It’s magic when you have both. Our focus has been on creating a brand that serves to compliment our beer, making it taste even better.

Branding in craft beer has really stepped up it’s game in the last few years. The market that was once dominated by ‘home brew’ looking labels with goofy names and clunky illustrations has now been elevated with great design. Locally, we see 33 Acres Brewing, Strange Fellows, Brassneck Brewing and Steel & Oak all complimenting their great beer with a well executed brand.

Rarely do you hear the backstory of what goes into creating a brand, so here’s some insight on ours…

The Name: Field House Brewing Co. | Our name was intended to recognize the hard working people who built the community of Abbotsford with long days working out in the fields. The idea of a hard day’s work has been lost in our culture of bigger, faster, cheaper; we wanted to recognize a time where people just worked hard and were nice to their neighbours. We like to think that after a hard day’s work, you can come down to the Field House for a well earned, quality beer.

The Fox Logo | We chose the fox to compliment the name, as foxes are common field animals and have some interesting characteristics. Foxes are small, nimble animals that rely on wit, quickness and creativity for survival rather than brute strength. The fox is really a metaphor for how we want to fit into the beer landscape. We know that as a small community brewery, we will not succeed based on size and strength; we will need to be creative and cunning if we’re to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

The Orange | We wanted an accent colour that would give us a punch of colour and would be easily recognizable. Many local craft breweries have made strong colour associations: White for 33 Acres, Blue for Four Winds, Yellow for Yellow Dog Brewing. So, drawing inspiration from my Dutch heritage, we selected orange – the national colour of The Netherlands, which we hoped would also appeal to large Dutch community out in the valley. Plus, if you haven’t heard…orange is the new black.

The Design | With each element we design or create, we are trying to ensure that we bring something new and different to the market that hasn’t been done before. For example, we printed our growlers with real copper ink baked into the glass; each growler comes with a stamped copper tag with the beer style embossed; and we sourced custom growlers from Italy that don’t exist in North America. There are a few more surprises in the works too. With every piece, we try to make sure we are creating a brand that our community can be proud of.

Having worked in branding and marketing for the last 10 years or so, it’s been an interesting and fun challenge to create a brand for our company and this community. It hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be, the biggest challenges being time and resources. Indeed, these days, as opening day nears, I’m really appreciating for the first time all of the things that entrepreneurs must face, and recognise fully that marketing is really just one small piece of what it takes.

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