Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada
Beer & Branding: Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.
"Strong branding is table stakes for a brewery."
Those were the first words shared with us, by Jordan Bamforth, Creative Director at Beau's All Natural Brewing Co., when we asked him to describe the importance of design in craft beer. And to be honest, it perfectly echoes the thoughts I had when I first came across the Beau's brand on a visit to Toronto a few years ago. I was in an LCBO, and I encountered an aisle of some of the most beautiful large format beer bottles I'd ever seen. First, a Bog Water gruit. Then, the Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale. Then, the Dunkel. I was hooked. From that point onward–standing in the aisle in visual awe–this Ontario brewery was on my radar.
From the custom molded bottles, to the 4-pack gift box carriers, to the lineup of merchandise, no detail for Beau's Brewing is overlooked. And that is all thanks to their in-house design team–a rarity for a brewery of any size, let alone a mid-size craft brewery. Headed by Bamforth, their creative team consists of four folks, the others being Mike Haddad, Eddy Earwigg and Denis Routhier. Together, they're creating some of the most comprehensive, consistent and thoughtful design in all of beer.
Says Bamforth, "From a creative standpoint it's both challenging and interesting, as we have the privilege of nurturing a living and constantly evolving visual identity. We aim for strong consistency, but we're also not overly dogmatic or repetitive about it, which I believe results in a deeper and richer visual language to communicate with. With our label artwork we put a strong emphasis on conceptual illustration, and we also recognize the importance of being fun and approachable with it. As a creative team, working at a brewery gives us a bottomless well of opportunity, and we get great satisfaction from the reaction of our customers. This pushes us to try and outdo ourselves with each new beer label, package design, or merch item."
Steve Beauchesne, Beau's Co-founder & CEO puts full faith in their design approach. "Design is all-encompassing; all elements are important and any lack of attention to detail results in a less-than-perfect experience for the beer drinker. To put it another way, design in craft beer is seeking excellence by intent; the right package with excellent graphic design and a name that gives a soul to your beer sets the mood and elevates the experience, allowing all the work that goes into designing a unique and memorable beer to be enjoyed to its fullest."
Such level of detail, in my opinion, is rare in the beer industry. In a landscape with more than its fair share of attempted shock-value, trendiness, and otherwise uninspired ubiquity, it's refreshing to see such breadth in aesthetic execution.
Now, if only we could get their beers outside of New York or Massachusetts...
Photography & graphics provided by Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. unless noted otherwise.