The importance of Branding
Take a look at the 3 Sheeps Brewing website. Gone are the whimsical cartoon sheep and, ahem, sheepish puns. They’ve been replaced by a clean, round logo with a simple line drawing of a sheep. The tagline “brewed with heart and science” is frequently referenced in the words on the page that talk more about the brewing process.
Over the past few months, 3 Sheeps has been in the process of a complete rebranding effort with the help of Matt Tanaka Marketing, an agency that concentrates on clients in the beer industry.
“The brand we had, I loved it, but it just didn’t talk to the beer,” explains Grant Pauly, the founder of 3 Sheeps. “Our brewery is so much about the science behind it and process. There was so much disconnect between our personality, but didn’t talk at all about what we did daily at the brewery.”
Rebranding for a brewery is about much more than a website redesign. Imagine all of the changes that need to happen with beer labels and packaging. The 3 Sheeps labels you’ll see on shelves in the next couple of weeks are drastically different and tell stories. For example, Waterslides IPA features representations of graphs, charts and formulas that Pauly sketched out while creating the beer.
“If they’re going to put so much excruciating thought and care into the beer they brew, then their bottles, six-packs and more should reflect that care as well,” says Matt Tanaka. “We spent the better part of a year honing in on those ideas to come up with a new logo, identity and packaging design.”
The bigger picture here is the importance of branding. A few years ago, new brewers could find reasonable success based simply on the beer they brewed. That’s becoming more difficult as the brewery boom continues. Success today requires both a good product, and a good way to promote it.
“Brewing is a business,” says Pauly. “You were [once] able to stand on the beer you made. Now, like with any other industry, when there are 20 IPAs on the shelf and most of them are very good, how do you tell your story? It is becoming much more important how we communicate with the consumer.”
Barley Pop of the Week
Sometimes it’s good to step back and appreciate beers that serve as a reliable go-to. Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale fits that description. Straight-forward bitterness and a bit of citrus end with a finish that’s fairly crisp for a pale ale. And, the 5.2% ABV isn’t overpowering. Daisy Cutter will make for a fine companion at summer events like Miller Park tailgates, barbecues and outdoor imbibing.
Last week, the Brewers Association released its annual list of the Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies based on production volume. Three Wisconsin breweries made the list led by Monroe’s Minhas (12th), which was followed by New Glarus (16th) and Stevens Point Brewery (23rd). Yuengling, Boston Beer Company and Sierra Nevada were the top three producers for 2016.
Milwaukee Magazine’s Tom Tolan recently attended the preview of the brewpub opening at Pabst (slated for mid-April). The space, residing in an old church at 1037 W. Juneau Ave., looks pretty amazing.
I love this relatively new interactive feature on the Lakefront Brewery website: “Ask the Brewer” lets you select food and see what Lakefront beers it pairs best with. Good stuff.
Wednesday, March 22
* Ray’s Growler Gallery (8930 W. North Ave.) hosts a tap takeover by Karben4 starting at 4 p.m. They’re bringing some treats, including a barrel-aged NightCall Smoked Porter.
* The Milwaukee Beer Society examines saisons from 6 to 9 p.m. at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.). The cost is $10.
* Camino (434 S. Second St.) is pairing lagers from Metropolitan Brewing with cheese from Clock Shadow Creamery starting at 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 23
* 3rd Sign Brewing brings some interesting samples to The Malt Shoppe (813 N. Mayfair Rd.) at 5 p.m. How about the Abandon all Hope Porter made with coconut and pasilla peppers? Yes, please.
* Draft & Vessel (4417 N. Oakland Ave.) hosts a Beatrix Foods Vegan Pop-Up where you can pair vegan food and vegan beer from Metropolitan Brewing from 6 to 8 p.m.
Friday, March 24
* Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) hands out samples from Wisconsin Brewing from 4 to 7 p.m.
* Point Brewing comes to Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow St.) from 3 to 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 25
* The first barrel-aged beer by Good City Brewing, Barrel-Aged Density Imperial Stout, drew quite a crowd when it was released in December. At 10 a.m. (earlier for Good Citizen members), Good City (2108 N. Farwell Ave.) releases Barrel-Aged Lord Lyon Scotch Ale, both on tap and in 22-ounce bombers. I expect another success from Good City, but I don’t expect the beer to last very long.
*Try Wisconsin Brewing samples at Discount Liquor Waukesha from noon to 3 p.m.
*Discount Liquor Milwaukee hosts Point Brewing from noon to 3 p.m.
*Unique beers are the subject of the weekly sampling at Three Cellars (N72 W13400 Lund Lane, Menomonee Falls) from 1 to 4 p.m.
Sunday, March 26
It’s a big Sunday at Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln Ave.). From 4 to 6 p.m., the Brewery Series features Alaskan Brewing. Get five samples of Alaskan brews for $15. At 6 p.m., there’s a bottle-share benefitting The Women’s Center, which provides services to women and children who have been the victims of violence and abuse. Bring a rare bottle and a $20 donation to participate. You’ll get free food, $1 off tap beer, and the peace of mind knowing you’re helping a great cause.