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Austin Beerworks

Branding & Packaging System

More Info +

Services

Strategy
Identity System
Packaging System
Social Content Creation
Signage & Wayfinding
Custom Typography
Brand Merchandise & Apparel
Collateral Design
Point-of-Purchase
Advertising Campaign
Video
Logos, Iconography & Illustration
Environment Consultation & Design
Copywriting
Brand Messaging
Naming
Website Design & Development
Art Direction

Team

Creative Direction: Christian Helms
Design Team: Helms Design Team
Copywriting: Mike Woolf, Christian Helms, Michael Graham
Photographer & DP: Andrew Yates
Web Developer: David Guillory
Media Buyer: Kathleen Pittman

Awards

Austin Ad Fed ADDY Awards, Gold(s) 2013
Communication Arts Design Annual
Communication Arts Typography Annual
Texas Show Winner 2013
Austin Ad Fed ADDY Awards, Best in Design 2015
Austin Ad Fed ADDY Awards, Gold (multiple categories) 2015

Sparking national buzz for a local brand.

In its first year and a half, Austin Beerworks surpassed their five-year goal, growing an unprecedented 400% and ranking as one of the nation’s fastest-growing breweries. It all started with four guys who could craft stellar beer but needed a brand.

As a small startup brewery entering an increasingly crowded marketplace, the potential to be swallowed up by the sea of craft beer competition was a real concern. Communicating to consumers that the brewery is both local and remarkable was crucial, and the need to stand out on the shelf was paramount.

By bucking craft beer clichés and focusing on what makes the brewery unique we built a brand strategy and identity that catapulted Austin Beerworks into the market with a bang and sparked a spirited, sustained conversation with customers. The brand packaging and campaigns generate requests from all over the world for cans of beer from a relatively small Austin brewery.

CANNED FOR QUALITY, CRAFTED FOR IMPACT

Striking color and proud iconography reference Austin Beerworks’ crisp, clean brewing profile and hell-bent commitment to making every drop of beer excellent. Quirky beer naming balances the iconic design with a bit of playful personality.

One of these things is not like the others.

Our work with Austin Beerworks began around a table with the founders, before they had a brewery or even a name. We worked from the ground up, developing the foundation of the brand and building a strategy to make big noise for the small group.

In naming the brewery, the city’s landscape provided a strategic opportunity. Austin was growing rapidly in size and national popularity, and no one had claimed the city’s name as part of their brewery. When you move to town or come for a visit, which beer are you going to order?

As our first step in crafting brand identity, we listened and learned. We stood at retail coolers with the brewers, and talked to consumers about what stood out. We had them list everything that craft beer is “supposed” to look like. One by one, we crossed those from the list of visual references.

Focusing on differentiators instead of cliches.

Our work with Austin Beerworks began around a table with the founders, before they had a brewery or even a name. We worked from the ground up, developing a foundation for the brand and a strategy to make big noise for the small group.

We listened and we learned. We stood at retail coolers with the team. We had them list everything that craft beer is “supposed” to look like.

One by one, we crossed those from the list of visual references. In naming the brewery, the city’s landscape provided a strategic opportunity. Austin was growing rapidly in size and national popularity, and no one had claimed the city’s name as part of their brewery. When you move to town or come for a visit, which beer are you going to order?

We challenged the brewery to build an identity and messaging around what makes them unique in the market: a distinctive brewing profile and company culture. The brewery’s “bold and clean” approach to flavor served as a key driver for design exploration, and the team’s quirky personality fueled unconventional beer names that added a touch of humor to the cans. That intersection suggested a remarkably simple packaging solution. The sleek, confident cans are a stark contrast from the competition and can be quickly recognized across a crowded bar or even a football field.

Real results and spirited brand management.

With packaging poised to grab attention on the shelf, we worked with the brewery to begin a robust conversation with the public. Brand merchandise, promotional collateral and digital campaigns amplified the message that the brewery was doing something special, and let fans signify their alignment with the brewery’s spirit.

Austin Beerworks quickly went from an emerging beer brand to “The New Official Beer of Austin,” growing by over 180% each year. We continue to build new campaigns, products and more—using each as an opportunity to surprise, delight and build loyalty.

A refreshing take on seasonal offerings.

Seasonal Beers are an opportunity for the team at Austin Beerworks to branch out, experiment and have fun with recipes and beer naming. Eagerly anticipated by craft beer drinkers, each seasonal beer release is marked by a rush to snatch up the limited-time-only brews.

For the launch of seasonal cans, we channeled beer fans’ energy and the brewery’s lighthearted personality into a packaging system that’s equally fun and engaging. Anchored by dynamic color and minimal text, each can features a distinctive pattern themed around the beer style and name—with a few winks thrown in for good measure. Each release is accompanied by a suite of new merchandise, digital advertising and events.

It’s bigger than Shaq!” The 99-Pack.

Three years after launching the brand, Beerworks found themselves surprised. Peacemaker, the beer they expected to drive sales, wasn’t their frontrunner as predicted. They asked us to help. We found that drinkers were confused by the “extra pale” beer style classification: was the beer extra hoppy, extra strong or extra light? We set out to clear up any confusion, showing drinkers just how to enjoy Peacemaker—in a big way.

We started by changing the beer style, calling it an “Anytime Ale.” That classification concisely communicates that it’s lighter, easy-drinking and lower in alcohol. Even better, it tells drinkers exactly when is best to enjoy it: anytime is a good time for a Peacemaker.

To relaunch the newly-named brew, we built the brewery’s first paid media advertising campaign. We put ourselves in the shoes of craft beer drinkers, finding Peacemaker-perfect “Anytime” moments. We quickly realized we could come up with far more occasions than drinkers would have cans on-hand. That sparked an idea.

We proposed using Peacemaker to introduce the brewery’s first multi-pack. But with a beer that’s perfect Anytime, drinkers would surely want to keep more than a 12-pack on-hand. So, we created the world’s first 99-Pack.

Weighing in at eighty-six pounds and measuring over seven feet in length, the 99-Pack is as ridiculous as it is awesome. The outside of the box features a laundry list of moments to enjoy Peacemaker, and inside there is a cold beer for every one of them. Priced at $99.99, craft beer retailers large and small lined up to carry the multipacks.

Sharing a box of beer this beastly is a natural opportunity to engage fans on social media and beyond. We built digital ads, billboards and a video that tells the Anytime Ale story. We created an Anytime Ale micro-site where fans could post, tag and view their own unique “Anytimes.” Print ads and brand merchandise rounded out the campaign.

Launched in late August, news of the world’s largest multi-pack went viral. Austin Beerworks made headlines across the globe, landing on the front page of Reddit and garnering profiles on Good Morning America, Comedy Central’s @midnight, NPR’s Morning Edition, Mashable, Gizmodo and CNN.

“Helms challenged us to be ourselves and distilled our philosophy into a brand that stood apart and let customers know what we’re about. Engaging Christian during our planning stage was the luckiest thing that could have happened to us—and it worked. We immediately stood out in a sea of sameness—and since opening in 2011, our company has averaged 180% growth per year. We make badass beer, but the branding has helped.

Aside from being uncannily talented designers, the folks at Helms Workshop are just a great group of people. After working together for over 4 years, we haven’t ever had so much as an argument.”

Michael Graham
Co-Founder, Austin Beerworks
Helms Workshop®