Beer has been around since the dawn of man. It’s not hard to see why it’s remained with us even as loincloths and living in caves fell out of fashion. As a social lubricant, it allows the shyer among us to break out of our shells. Ancient Persians believed the best way to make a decision was twice: once sober and once drunk. And, of course, many of us wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for beer.
Brewing beer is not only a noble profession, but a big business. A $250 billion business in the US alone. A lot of that comes from huge corporations like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, but one in ten beers sold in America comes from a craft brewery.
Craft beer is still a specialty item, but in the last decade or so, it stopped being unique. You no longer stand out on grocery store shelves (or at beer festivals) simply be being a craft beer.
Since beer is so ubiquitous across cultures and time, how do you make yourself stand out? A cool logo! Your logo is what ties your brand together. It goes on the case, the label of your can or bottle, your website, even your business cards. It’s especially important if you have different types of beer under the same brewery; you’ll want it to look the same in different places.
But what kind of logo do you want? Let’s consider some options.
Emblems & badges
Emblems (also called badges) are very common logo styles for beer bottles for a simple reason—they’re incredibly versatile. A nice badge looks great on the neck of a bottle and on the breast of a t-shirt. Because they’re generally curved on the edges, they don’t appear distorted when wrapped around a can or bottle.
This is, of course, a more traditional way of identifying your brand. It’s a classy look, that identifies your craft beer as a premium product. It may not create the desired aesthetic for hip, modern brands, but if you want to connect yourself with the history of Brewing, this is a great place to start.
Logos from a bygone era
Beer has been around a really long time. It makes sense to tap into that with a nostalgia-tinged logo.
One relatively simple way to go is to employ a woodcut-style drawing. (Don’t use an actual woodcut; that takes forever.) But don’t restrict yourself to just this one style.
Consider the iconography of an earlier time. You can illustrate old-timey modes of transportation, or styles of dress or even technology that once seemed advanced but is now antiquated.
Hops are a key ingredient in brewing beer. You probably know that, or you wouldn’t be reading this article. It’s why so many microbreweries use hops in their logos.
But just because it’s a common theme, doesn’t mean it’s bad or cliché. You just have to make sure you’re doing something different. Instead of being literal, go for a more stylized approach. Hops look great in a simplified, graphic form.
Alternatively, combine it with other elements of your logo. Lots of people have no idea what hops are, much less what they look like. If your logo includes other imagery, you’ve covered your whole audience.
Barrels of logos (er, logos of barrels)
Stout beer is usually aged in barrels; barrels also make for a stout logo. It’s strong and to the point. A barrel gives a classic feel, while being explicit about what you do—make beer.
Mugs, cups, steins and things
Creating a microbrewery is a huge accomplishment, and it’s understandable to want to show off that skill with your logo. On the other hand, you may want to focus on your consumer, by focusing more on how they perceive beer. Or, maybe you don’t actually brew beer yourself, but make beer-adjacent products or run beer-related events.
Either way, you can still create a logo that evokes the feeling you get drinking with your mates. Move away from hops and barrels, and instead use items that regular drinkers associate with beer—cups, mugs, steins.
Think carefully about this iconography, of course. Different kinds of beer require different drinking vessels. A red cup or boot tells you something about the type of beer you’re drinking.
Kick back and have a beer (logo)
Choosing a logo is a big decision. It’s a part of your branding that you’ll be living with for a long time. You might want to make your chose the old fashioned Persion way (first drunk, then sober). If you like it both ways, then it’s probably the logo for you!