Matt Case / 8th September 2017

The hop is hip: how craft beer is embracing design

With its chocolate-flavoured stouts and gooseberry saisons, the craft beer revolution has transformed the British beer market.

The taste of these beers is not the sole driving force behind this evolution. Although it may be wonderful, varied, and new-age-tasting beer. It has been aesthetic, too. Beer cans and bottles have become a canvas of artistic expression with obscure and dazzling designs gracing bar fridges.

There are even exhibitions and websites dedicated to celebrating this creative movement. This wonderful makeover of beer pump clips, labels, bottle caps and cans has been pivotal to the craft appeal.

The radical, somewhat anarchic and aesthetic purity with which the independent craft breweries approach branding has dumbfounded big breweries.

naughty and nice craft beer

Naughty & Nice chocolate stout by Vocation Brewery

Strict brand guidelines bind the larger brands and breweries. These guidelines have been meticulously designed and therefore target specific demographics. The craft beer revolution has no defined audience, allowing these entrepreneurial brewers to release a whole host of unexpected and intriguing brand designs.

Essentially, the craft beer movement made it up on the fly… and that’s why we love them so much.

The larger breweries face a conundrum. Their brands are so established that to make any drastic appearance change is a real risk.

A change like this may alienate their existing audience. They may even suffer from brand confusion and an ultimately devastating decline in recognisability. So, they watch the craft beer revolution sweep through the market with wonderful creative freedom. They have tied their hands.

craft beer bottles funky buddha

Selection of Funky Buddha Brewery bottles

There are a lot of hardcore beer loyalists out there, who see this revolution as nothing but gimmicky rubbish. The research, however, suggests they’re wrong.

Craft beer, with all cool and abstract designs, is also providing us with whole new worlds of beer flavouring. This stylistic shift is also a cultural shift. Beer has reached a far more progressive place, and gone are the days of the same choices at every bar. It has become a quirky adventure for connoisseurs, based on out-there flavour combinations and conversation starters.