Beer & Branding: Samuel Adams


Beer & Branding: Samuel Adams

The almost ubiquitous brand from The Boston Beer Company, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, has a new look. "Sam Adams" as it's called by just about...everyone, almost always refers to the brewery's lager brand. And, that beer is quite polarizing, actually–given their position among craft beer purists, and due to founder Jim Koch's well documented ongoing battle with The Brewer's Association to actually redefine what exactly is craft.

While Boston Lager is one that almost every American beer drinker has downed at one point or another, Boston Beer Co. also plays at the other–less attainable–end of the spectrum, brewing the $200 per bottle Utopias. Of course, several other beers fall under the Sam Adams umbrella, from seasonals to DIPAs to barrel-aged varieties. In most craft beer scenes, it's likely that folks aren't often reaching for one of the aforementioned, but when it comes to Boston Lager, the beer is...just fine. It's maybe an acknowledgement of that 'just fine-ness' that led the team at Boston Beer Co. to reconsider it's look for the brand. That's where Brooklyn based designers, The Visual Chemist, Inc. stepped in. They were tasked with "revolutionizing" the identity (and as you'll see below, they explored several visual concepts to get where they eventually landed).

So, whether you're turned off by the beer–and their seemingly inferiority-complex-driven ad campaign–or you are undeterred from ordering a 'Lager', you can at least recognize that the brand is doing what they can in attempt to stay fresh. 

After an exhaustive exploratory and a tremendous amount of focus groups and testing, two of our concepts kept surfacing as the winning designs. The brand team at The Boston Beer Company took that information and created a hybrid design that was ultimately the winning design and the new look of the Sam Adams brand.
— Ross Charters, The Visual Chemist, Inc.
The two selected concepts that were combined to create the final design.

The two selected concepts that were combined to create the final design.

Our beer, unchanged. Our look, revolutionized. Introducing the new face of the same, great Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
— The Boston Beer Company
New can design.

New can design.


Below are a series of killed concepts by Brooklyn-based design team, The Visual Chemist, Inc. They range from bright and upbeat, to dark and moody, to clean and modern. And, all are unapologetically patriotic with a healthy dose of Americana and visual nod to the founding father, Samuel Adams. And while I'm definitely glad they didn't go with some of these concepts, I think it would've been nice to see them depart a bit further from the safety of their previous look.


Images from Samuel AdamsThe Visual Chemist, Inc.