Posts Tagged ‘Branding’

Caligula. Craziest bastard pictured in the post.

We’re a little bit insane. Who isn’t, right?

Maybe we’re a little bit madder than most. Moving right along.

As we work on branding and defining ourselves, our company, and our beer, we think about lots of stuff and go through many different exercises. Write down 25 words that define you. Look at 6-pack carriers. “Market research”.

Last night we met with Josh again, and he had a great idea: write down a list of people from history who were crazy. What made them crazy? Why do we remember them? Were they just nuts, or clinically nuts? (Note: “nuts” is not a clinical term.)

While were exploring the history books, I thought I’d ask you, dear follower. Who are some of the craziest bastards from history? What made them so crazy? Why do you remember them?

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Over the past two weeks we’ve had a lot of meetings. Great meetings. At different places. Beer places!

We’ve now met three times with Josh Mishell about branding, and have found a potential illustrator too. With their help, we’ll be able to put our vision into something creative, artistic, pleasing to the eye, and bad-ass-awesomsaucery-ness.

Last night, we took a field trip to Argonaut Liquors. We spent an hour or so walking the beer aisle, talking about anything and everything beer and branding. We looked at the macros and talked about what they’re doing, why it works, and why it isn’t for us. We talked about every single 6-pack holder, can, bottle cap, and additional marketing materials. Most importantly, we talked about what we liked, what we didn’t like, and what we wanted to do with our brand.

We came to the conclusion that we like simple, clean, yet a little bit weird. We like to stand out, quietly. We like to be loud, without yelling.

Pretty much, we want to get our personalities and the personality of our beer into a design.

I thought I’d share a few things we liked more than everything else. We’re not always very good at saying why it is we like certain elements, but we hope Josh can help us distill our thoughts into a creative brief. Here are some things we liked, and why:


It’s simple. The brewery name is huge. The font is cool. It’s just a black background.

Boulevard Tank 7

We couldn’t quite put a finer on it, but Boulevard’s 4-pack carriers are awesome. Maybe a little too much pastel in color.

Left Hand Mixer

Most mixers are cluttered, with information about every beer inside. This is just the logo. The massive and simple logo.

Left Hand Fade To Black

Meanwhile they go with something that is pretty crazy, noisy, but at the same time they maintain simplicity. And that logo just sits there, all simple and nice looking.

Fort Collins Brewing

We really like FCB’s logo. The scratched look is very cool. The font on both the logo and the other copy is different and great looking as well.

Great Divide

As with almost every other thing about Great Divide, their branding stands out as some of the best in the industry. Simplicity, big fonts, basic colors. I’m also a really big fan of the knock-out characters they have for each product.

New Belgium

The new branding is similar, yet pretty distinct and different from the older branding. The step away from the classic and well-known blue and red is a bit of a surprise, but I do like the utter simplicity of the illustrations on the new stuff. However, that simplicity is at the cost of the story that each illustration on the older branding represents.

There’s obviously more awesome branding out there, and as we come across it, we’ll judge it as well. Next up, we need to look at tap handles and see what we like and dislike. One of my favorite of all time is Magic Hat’s wrought iron handles. Check this one out!

One thing that was really interesting, and I want to do more of, was watching people buy beer. Their choices, their thought process – at least what was visible – their reactions to three guys talking about every little aspect of every beer… It was fascinating.

What do you think of our choices? Anything you’ve seen that you think fits our likes so far?

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We have a website! And by website, I mean I put a link to this blog and an email address on one of the domains I bought. But now all those people I gave stickers to this weekend have somewhere to go. Check it out and be prepared for… nothing exciting at all. Logo design coming soon.

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Had to be a little less cliche with the image...

Had to be a little less cliche with the image...

Without hearing too much of the story behind the name, or any of the imagery in my mind, I’d like to know what you all think of when you hear / see the name Mad Haven Brewing Company.

Leave me a comment with anything that pops in your mind. Movies, songs, books, art, colors, some story from your past, or some random dream involving a cloud, I want it all.

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And how does that make you feel?

And how does that make you feel?

Have a seat. Let’s talk.

It’s been a great few days. Someone said that excitement and passion over a goal makes that goal happen faster (I think my mom said that last night). Well, I’m excited, and I’m passionate, and things are happening.

This is going to be a big post. I’ll start with the small stuff and grow from there. Side note: Anyone going to Beer Wars in Denver on Thursday? Andrew (you’ll find out who that is at the end) and I are going, and hopefully Kell will make it up as well. Let me know, we’ll grab a brew.

National Homebrew Competition

Beer judge. Better job than tan-line inspector.

Beer judge. Better job than tan-line inspector.

The NHC is under way! (http://www.beertown.org/events/nhc/) We brewed our IPA specifically for this competition. Timed it out, cleaned the bottles, made sure the caps were clean, and… rushed it. Ended up bottling it at 1.032 or so, meaning we bottled it with a lot of sugar still in the wort. What that means is rather than all the CO2 – yeast’s byproduct when converting sugar -> alcohol – escaping through the air lock, it was forced into solution in the closed container that is a beer bottle. What’s that mean? Something like this.

Ya.. it explodes unless you open it ridiculously slowly, and pour it into a few glasses to let the foam settle. We decided it wasn’t worth the almost 2 hour round trip drive to submit a beer that would drench the judges.

This weekend I received an email from our division’s coordinator, asking where the beer was. I explained, and she said she could add a special note saying “Open Slowly”, and meet her in Denver to drop off the brew. So I’m going to meet her tomorrow or Thursday, and submit the beer! I doubt we’ll win, but at least we’ll be in it still! It’s called “First Round Draft”. Good times.

Homebrew Shop

I couldnt find a picture of the shop... So here is my favorite grain: Dark Munich Malt

I couldn't find a picture of the shop... So here is my favorite grain: Dark Munich Malt

I mentioned this earlier, but I’ll recap anyway. Saturday, Dave and I went to Beer At Home in Englewood to pick up supplies for the Blonde Ale. We brought the new volcanic IPA with us, as well as a bomber (22 oz.) bottle of our previous batch. They. Loved. It. I can’t really say more than that. They were stunned at how tasty the beers were. Asked us all sorts of questions. Asked for more. They’ve always been respectful of us as customers, especially customers who appear to have some idea what we’re doing. But their attitude definitely shifted quite a bit. It was a really really good feeling, and one of the best receptions of the beer I’ve had to this point.

Speaking of the Blonde Ale, it ended up weighing in at 1.072 with 3-3.5 gallons. It’s gonna be a big bodied blonde.

Daniels College of Business

This is a fun one. Sunday, while brewing, I emailed a professor at the University of Denver’s (DU aka my college’s rivals) Daniels College of Business. I told him how I have these great ideas and drive to start a business, but no formal MBA-style business training. I asked if they ever lent students to small businesses to help with certain tasks, for class credit or whatever. I expected to hear back in 2-3 weeks, if at all. Three hours. Three hours, and I had an email back. He told me that they in fact have an entire program for just this scenario, and forwarded me on to the contact for that program. The next morning, this guy emailed me the application and some details.

The rules are simple. Four MBA students form a team, with the business owner / business contact joining occasionally, and help a new or growing business with three aspects of the business. An example would be the business plan, marketing plan, and sustainability plan. So, pretty much, I can get help in part of the planning that I’m not 100% confident in. Sold!

Twitter, the ultimate networking tool?

Its the Fail Whale!

It's the Fail Whale! (use twitter, it'll make sense)

I’ve been tweeting a lot. I’ve made some great connections with other like-minded individuals, in many different parts of the craft beer world. I helped out with some code at BeerNews.org, made some contacts in various industries, have some advice coming from experts in everything from branding to real estate, and am generally just spreading the word about the brewery. I micro-blogged the entire brewing process on Sunday, which you can see on my twitter page (http://twitter.com/hookedonwinter) and twitpic photo stream (http://twitpic.com/photos/hookedonwinter). This probably sounds like geek gibberish to a lot of you. That’s fine. Ask or explore or ignore it, you’ll learn about it eventually.


New Belgiums first system is behind the lady with the pretty gloves.

New Belgium's first system is behind the lady with the pretty gloves.

When I posted last week about looking for an engineer, my buddy Phill sent a note to some friends. Mike responded, and wants to help out. Mike is currently an engineering student who enjoys beer and long walks on the beach. Well, beer at least. Anyway, he’s going to help us figure out if designing and fabricating our own equipment will be cheaper than buying it used from various sources. I’m excited to work with him on this project.

[EDIT] Mike is no longer a student. The test he’s studying for is for work, not for school. Ooops! Also, he prefers long walks up steep rocks, though sunset walks along the surf are also appealing.


Through another slightly random connection – Facebook message from a friend, Dan, from my high school years, who’s friend’s brother, Andrew, started a brewery in Brooklyn and now lives in Denver – I had the pleasure of meeting with Andrew last night at Great Divide. Andrew has a lot of experience with what I’m trying to do. He started a brewery from the ground up, worked on everything from cleaning the tanks to closing the sale, generally in the same day. We have a lot of talking and meeting and whatnot to do, but I’m very hopeful that our goals and Andrew’s goals are aligned. He’s interested in doing it all again, from the ground up, and I’m interested in having someone with that knowledge and experience be around all the time. Potentially a great partnership in the works. We’ll take it slow and make sure everything is in order, but keep an eye out for more about this.

That’s about it so far this week. It’s only Tuesday, so we’ll see what else is in store. Thanks for reading! Leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions, or just want your name to appear in the comments.

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