Instagram-worthy beer design
There I was. A Friday afternoon in the supermarket. With some delicacies already in my shopping basket, I ended up in the ‘beer’ aisle. In the Netherlands, this aisle is also known as the 'special beer' aisle. Okay, you can still find some ‘regular’ lager. But let's face it, the craft special beers are much more interesting. I walk past the many rows of brightly coloured cans and illustrated bottles, which look like they have come straight from a fashion factory. An entire aisle full.
Choices, choices, choices
And then you have to choose. This battle over the choice of beer is a relatively new phenomenon. It used to be a lot easier to choose. Sure, there was always choice, but it simply came down to choosing between a green (Heineken) or a red (Amstel) crate of beer. The beer companies were big. Strong brands. Huge marketing budgets. But craft beer brewing is booming. Small and independent breweries are popping up everywhere. I think this is good news for beer lovers, but it makes choosing a beer increasingly complex. It is the challenge we face today. A modern and luxurious challenge. Which one do we choose? With so much choice at our disposal, the importance of a well-designed can or label has become more important than ever.
Beer magazine Cana wrote: “Beer cans are officially the new record covers”. While the big beer brands are concerned with brand recognition and consistency, craft breweries have embraced a more experimental approach. Looking at the shelves, they stand out with labels designed to stand out. Alongside the quality of the beer itself, the design of the product has become almost as important (if not more so). A good label makes all the difference. Especially when you consider that many beer lovers make their choice while standing in the shop. A choice based on design rather than brand preference. That is how I choose my beer these days. And when I look at the people shopping for beer, I see and hear that I am certainly not the only one.
Design has become so important that creative agencies have been set up that specialise in designing identities for breweries. What a great niche! Where the label used to be just for recognition, it has now become a strategic brand component. A representation of the ideas that hold the beer brand together. The concept behind it. The story the brewery wants to tell. A strong and eye-catching label or can as part of the strategy. An appeal to people to buy Instagram-worthy beer designs instead of expensive marketing campaigns. From now on, we drink with our eyes.