Ideas and inspiration covering creative processes, collaboration and stand out campaigns from Finlay Hogg (aka Definitive Studio)

Craft Beer Partnerships – The Smart Way To Tell Brand Stories

The growth of the craft beer sector over the past few years has been phenomenal. It’s an exciting time for beer lovers, with a new craft brewery opening every 2 days, the nation has more choice of hoppy beverages than ever.

Craft brewers experiment with new processes, flavours and packaging to create a final product which can speak directly to the individual. However, all these new and exciting products in the market mean competition is fierce both on and off trade.

For breweries to increase distribution and secure space on-shelf they must craft compelling brand stories. Today’s beer drinker wants to understand where their product comes from, how it was made and what it’s quality credentials are. This means craft breweries have to find smart ways to communicate.

Many craft breweries have realised the benefits of partnership marketing. By aligning with brands who share their values and who people already know and trust, they can gain exposure and promote their character to a relevant audience. In return the partner brand can tap into a vibrant, rapidly expanding market.

New Belgium x Ben & Jerry’s

New Belgium and Ben & Jerry’s is a great example of brand aligning through a common goal. The companies put their heads together to develop a delicious idea in an effort to combat climate change; co-creating a ‘Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale’ and an ice cream companion. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the limited edition products went to Protect Our Winters (POW), a non-profit founded by snowboarder Jeremy Jones to fight climate change on behalf of the winter sports world. It’s a partnership for good which helps both brands highlight their B Corporation credentials and engage new audiences.

Meantime Brewing x Brompton Bikes

Our friends at Meantime challenged Brompton Bikes, the makers of the iconic folding bike, to create a product which honoured the Brewer. The Greenwich-based Brewery identified Brompton as the perfect brand to partner with as they both have London origins and a similar emphasis on craftsmanship. In return, Brompton worked with Meantime Brewers to create their very own Brompton Lager. The partnership resulted in authentic content which helped drive engagement amongst their audiences as well as successfully communicating the quality aspects of both brands.

Beavertown x Jameson

For St Patrick’s day Beavertown, an exciting micro-brewery based in East London collaborated with Jameson, an Irish whisky distillery founded in 1780. They worked together to develop an imperial stout which was aged in rare Jameson casks. The partnership was born from a shared ethos and ideology and these principles shaped the collaborative process. Beavertown founder Logan Plant (son of Robert Plant) visited the Jameson Brewery, in Cork, to select the perfect casks for the project and in the spirit of co-creation, the stout was named Ger’onimo in honour of Ger Buckley, the Master Cooper, who the helped Beavertown select the right casks. As well as being the unofficial cry of paratroopers used to express fearlessness or bravery as they leap, as one, to their designated destination; which is fitting for a brand partnership! Each element of the campaign was designed to communicate bravery, passion and pride, which is something central to both brands way of life.

BrewDog x Deliveroo

Whether or not this is true ‘collaboration’, Brewdog used a partnership to extended their brand through a simple yet innovative service. As a company, they are committed to getting craft beer into the hands of more people so teaming up with Deliveroo, an app-based service designed to deliver food from your favourite restaurants, makes perfect sense. It’s a service which is relevant to their audience and it demonstrates their innovative credentials and values. In classic Brewdog fashion, it goes against the grain of traditional beer advertising which paints a picture of how long you need to wait to get a cold thirst quenching pint. With a couple of clicks, you can get a cold Brewdog beer from one of their London bars delivered straight to your front door.

Brooklyn Lager x Milton Glaser

If every craft brewery could start like this, they would. Back in 1986, Brooklyn Brewery founder, Steve Hindy was looking for a designer to create an identity for his startup. Hindy knew having a great brand was just important as having a great beer so made connect with the one and only Milton Glaser (of ‘I ♥ NY’ logo fame). The founders approached the designer with the name ‘Brooklyn Eagle’ but Milton was confident enough to say it wasn’t as good a name for a beer as the word ‘Brooklyn’, itself…”Why sell a bird when you’ve got the whole borough”. And this was the start of a designer-client partnership which is now almost three decades long. Working collaboratively with Glaser, Brooklyn Brewery created a brand which is recognised the world over. Confident in its simplicity, the identity communicates a Bavarian heritage and amplifies the brands quality credentials through exceptional design. The branding was so successful, Brooklyn Brewery was responsible for turning the borough into one of the beer capitals of the world. Glaser’s recent packaging redesign for Brooklyn is distinctive; designed to work harder on-shelf and unify the whole product range. It’s rare to see such a long and fruitful partnership but the success of this one is no surprise. The foundation of the relationship was built on trust and respect for each others craft. At the time Brooklyn Brewery couldn’t afford Glaser’s fee, instead choosing to give him a stake in the company. Today that stake is worth Millions.

It takes commitment and compromise to create the right campaign in partnership with another party. These craft beer partnerships demonstrate brands working together collaboratively, being open minded and sharing ideas. Each has brand brought something to the table which has helped the other achieve something they couldn’t on their own.