Beer & Branding: Redhook Brewery

SEATTLE, WA

Beer & Branding: Redhook Brewery

Founded in 1981, Seattle's Redhook Brewery has been a Northwest staple for over 35 years. Anyone who's been to Seattle is familiar with the brewer's distinct tree-meets-mountain-in-perspective logo. And, you're likely too of course, to have sampled their flagship offering: Redhook ESB. Back when 'craft' merely meant 'import', Redhook was supplying their own take on the popular English style to the US market.

And as is evidenced by their packaging evolution (image of said lineup is just below), their visual language has not made many daring moves over the years. Save for their 2011 update, which introduced a slightly awkward, but unique bottle silhouette–paired with the treetop shape from their logo as the label's main element. I've never particularly cared for the recent take on the packaging. I couldn't help but always picture it as a generic big box store house brand, akin to Costco's Kirkland line. It somehow seemed too plain and uninspired.

With their latest iteration of packaging, however–executed by Portland's Sasquatch Agency–Redhook has done what many heritage brands are doing, and finding inspiration in the look of their earlier days. The classic beer badge on these new labels and cases harken back to the original bottle designs (and boy do they look good set against a solid swath of color). It's possibly also a nod to the timeless beer brands from the UK (makers of many an ESB). These instantly recognizable-as-beer badges are something that were ubiquitous with brewery brands of yesteryear. However, you don't see them in the current landscape quite so often, as small breweries grasp for any aesthetic that is as 'different' or on-trend as possible. But, there's nothing wrong with a classic approach, in my opinion. And Redhook hit the mark with this approach.

What's old is new again.

Before & after.

Before & after.

Red Hook bottle evolution.

Red Hook bottle evolution.

Images from Redhook.com